The news today is that the US men’s cricket team has, by virtue of their defeat of Hong Kong, qualified for ODI status and a spot in the World Cup League 2. This means a guarantee of loads of international cricket for the burgeoning side over the next few years. A real blessing for a program in desperate need of such a shot in the arm.
Xavier Marshall’s hundred in the first innings set the table, and when Hong Kong failed to get off to the start they needed in the chase, they settled in and tried to protect their run rate, as they still have a chance to grab one of the last two top four spots, which would grant ODI status, as Oman claimed the second spot shortly after the US did.
Tomorrow, the US plays Canada — who are also still in the running for the coveted top four — with a chance to seal second or even first place in the tournament, giving them a spot in the final on Saturday.
The US men’s emergence from the shambolic ashes that was USACA is one of cricket’s best stories so far this year. They’ll now join ODI stalwarts Scotland, Nepal and the UAE in the World Cup League 2, and play 36 matches over the next three years, starting this summer. What a boon for the game in this country.
Also of note is this Cricinfo story about the shrinking Australian summer cricket window. Not due to global warming, but due to other nations wanting in on the a piece of the pie that Australia has monopolized since the early 80s. Seven Test playing teams share the same summer window, but Australia has ruled over them all thanks to the fat TV deals they are able to ink. But now that all might be changing, as it appears as though Australia will likely have to travel to India for an ODI series in January, 2020: the height of summer down under.
This is all just another example of cricket’s bizarre nature. Every sport has its inequalities and they all do their best to appease the TV folks, but cricket does both quite like no other. For while in other sports the teams are restricted to a hard and fast season, in International Cricket there is no season. So it is ripe for chicanery and greed. Everyone wants a bite of the same apple, and they are all manipulating the system as best they can to get it. And, sadly, the big three — Australia, India, England — seem to always win out. Usually at the expense of a lesser Test side, but also, occasionally, at the expense of one their fellow big threes.
It’s all nonsense. Just play the cricket.
It makes me, sometimes, miss baseball and its structure of 162 games, playoffs in October, the end.