The Asian Cricket Council is adopting a fresh three-division competition structure for senior and age-group cricket from 2014. The format comes into play as a result of the tournament performances of teams in the past two-division structure, which has run since 2006.
The three new members – Cambodia, Chinese Taipei and Tajikistan – who have only the most basic standards and facilities for cricket, along with others who are at the lower level of the ACC rankings have a distinct gap between them and the other countries above them. Having them play the countries directly above – several Middle Eastern countries, Maldives, Thailand – would lead to colossal mismatches and tournaments which enhance no competitive skills. The divisions: Premier – Elite – Emerging will be six-strong each, with promotion and relegation for one team from them following each event.
All the empirical evidence from tournament records for the past eight years show that the gap between the mid-ranking countries and the High Performance ones – primarily Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Nepal, UAE – is similarly significant. Three divisions, competitive matches in all, learning through playing against one’s peers: these are the way forward. A competition has to be competitive for development to be relevant.
The Men and U-19s will play Premier events annually. The ACC Twenty20 will continue to be played every two years, with that and the U-19 Premier in alternate years serving as the first rung of ICC World Qualifiers. In a return to multi-day ACC cricket for the first time since 2007, a new two-day event, the ACC Championship, will be played in December between the top two teams from May’s Men’s Premier Trophy.
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Filed January 22nd, 2014