1st half of the South Africa and Ireland match was dominated by the Ireland when they reduce Proteas to 105-5 but Duminy came to the rescue and took the Proteas score, past 250. Ireland clearly lacked the experience and that showed in their performance when Duminy took on their bowlers and put Proteas in good position. Had Ireland played more International cricket then they could have easily tackled that situation but lack of exposure in International cricket proved costly to them and this is not the situation of only Ireland. I think all the minnows playing in this World Cup suffering due to lack exposure on International level. Netherlands and Canada showed that they have the potential and only thing they require to compete hard with big boys of cricket is exposure at International level.
At this moment ICC has 105 members: 10 Full Members that play official Test matches, 35 Associate Members, and 60 Affiliate Members. I think ICC must identify 20 members from these 95 members who are having domestic structure in place or playing active cricket.After identifying these 20 nations ICC have to give them test status. These 20 countries have to play each other in ODIs and Test Matches which is specifically designed for them. Their test matches should be of 4 days and that will give them ideal exposure to International Cricket like arena. ICC can take a leaf out Indian domestic structure and have to organise similar kind of tournament for the identified 20 members and this will help these minnows in developing cricketing culture in their respective countries. Although ICC have many tournaments for associated and affiliated members but that is not working well as most of the countries play cricket at amateur level. So ICC must try something similar to Ranji Trophy in order to spread and develop cricket globally. Ranji Trophy format is ideal for the ICC to adopt and implement at associate and affiliate level. Formats like Ranji Trophy will also increase the skills, temperament and stamina of the players of these small teams and they will be able to compete hard in big ICC tournaments and can even think of winning also. This will also give the financial security to the players of these associate and affiliate countries as they will be playing cricket regularly and in more professional way. So they will not leave the cricket for earning their bread.
Currently there are 27 teams playing in Ranji Trophy tournament in India. Starting with the 2002–03 season, the zonal system was abandoned and a two-division structure was adopted: the Elite Group and the Plate Group. For the 2006–07 season, the divisions were re-labelled the Super League and Plate League respectively.
The Super League is divided into two groups of eight and seven teams, while the Plate League is divided into two groups of six teams each. In both divisions, the top two teams from each group advance to the knock-out phase. The finalists from the Plate League are promoted to the Super League the next year while the two teams at the bottom of the Super League are relegated.
New Ranji format from 2008–09 season, the top two Plate teams join three teams each from the two groups in the Super League to play a knock-out from the quarter-final stage. The new format, thus, gives a relegated side realistic chance of winning the title.
Points in the league stages of both divisions are awarded as follows:
|Bonus Point (for innings and 10 wicket wins)||1|
|1st Innings Lead||3 *|
|1st Innings Deficit||1 *|
note* – If match ends in a draw.
In Ranji Trophy whoever emerge as winner get the chance to play against Rest of India in Irani Trophy. In the same way out of 20 associate teams, whoever emerge as winner must get the chance to play atleast one test series and one ODI series against bottom 2 ranked test playing teams for next two years and if their performance remains consistent then ICC must promote that team to the league of top test playing nations. ICC must give chance to top 3 associate teams of that tournament to play in atleast 2 ODI triangular series and 2 ODI bilateral series with top test playing nations in a year and this will help these minnows in a big way to develop their cricketing skills according to the demand of International cricket. More they play at International level, more beneficial it will be for these teams as well as ICC.
I think these measures definitely develop cricket globally and ICC associate and affiliated teams will get the exposure to International Cricket and this will also increase the teams in World Cricket and also help the teams like Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, UAE,etc. to grow in International cricket.