ICC Intercontinental Cup tournament was 4-day cricket tournament that allowed top-ranking associate teams to play multi-day cricket. The latest tournament was 2015-2017 Intercontinental Cup season which was won by Afghanistan.
Some of you guys may remember this tournament if you followed associate cricket a few years back. Upon completion of 2017 season, Afghanistan and Ireland were granted Test Status and subsequently, the tournament was discontinued by ICC citing financial burden.
The first edition of the tournament was hosted back in 2004. Till now there have been 7 editions of the tournament until 2015-17 season which was the last edition the tournament until it was discontinued by ICC. Afghanistan and Ireland, the two best teams of the tournament were granted Test Status in 2018.
ICC Intercontinental Cup: Importance
As we all know how important multi-days cricket is for aspiring associate countries who always dream to play Test Cricket. In the era of T20 cricket, it’s hard to explain why Test cricket is still the highest form of the game which every player dream to be part of.
The ability to play against the moving ball, playing those long innings requires a temperament which you could only learn from multi-days cricket. An associate cricketer who plays the majority of T20 games would never quite experience what this game really has to offer.
Until 2018, there were only 10 nations who had the luxury to compete in the highest form of cricket as such. However, in 2018 ICC decided to admit two of the best Associate countries in that elite group of teams namely; Afghanisthan and Ireland.
Ireland had been the most successful team in the tournament, winning it 4 times and Afghanistan winning it 2 times. However, after promoting these two teams to Full members, ICC decided to discontinue the tournament. It was a huge setback as well as discouragement for teams like Nepal, Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland who have been doing so good in associate circuit.
In October 2018, the ICC issued a media release asking for an expression of interest from teams who have competed in previous editions of the tournament. However, no official notice has been published till now and the future of the tournament is in huge doubt.
If ICC really wants to expand the game around the globe, it should restart this tournament. Afghanistan and Ireland’s player had also spoken how competing in 4-day ICC Intercontinental Cup helped them in that transition before fully shifting to Test Cricket.
It’s not all about T20I cricket which of course is a much shorter and more marketable format that could be used to promote cricket all around the globe. But if you pick up any professional cricketer and ask them which format do they prefer to improve themselves as a player, then almost everybody would answer multi-days cricket.
If associations could self-fund the matches (which they can’t), ICC hinted that it could resume the tournament. ICC should fund this tournament as it had been doing previously to maintain the standard of the game in Associate nations as well as keeping alive the possibility that Test Cricket is not a dream anymore.
Read more about why ICC Intercontinental Cup should be brought back.
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