Why the Champions Trophy Qualification procedure is wrong?

Why the Champions Trophy Qualification procedure is wrong?

The ICC Champions Trophy is a One Day International (ODI) cricket tournament organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC), second in importance only to the Cricket World Cup. It was inaugurated as the ICC Knock out Tournament in 1998 and has been played approximately every two years since. The name was changed to the Champions Trophy in 2002. The number of teams competing has varied over the years; originally all the ICC's full members took part, and from 2000 to 2004 associate members were also involved. Since 2009, the tournament has only involved the eight highest-ranked ODI teams as of six months prior to the tournament. In the lead-in to the 2013 tournament, the ICC announced that the 2013 Champions Trophy was to be the last, with its place in the cricketing calendar to be taken by a new ICC World Test Championship. However, in January 2014, that decision was reversed, with the ICC confirming that the 2017 Champions Trophy tournament would take place and the proposed Test Championship was cancelled. This time around England will be hosting the tournament and it will be interesting to see whether the defending champions India will be able to lift the trophy for the third time to become the most successful team in the tournament or we would have a new winner. The tournament is scheduled to be played from 1st June 2017 till 19th of June. The ICC is still left to announce a detailed fixture of the trophy. As per the current scenario, it seems that Australia, South Africa, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and England will play in the tournament with West Indies missing out closely. Is this right? Has ICC done justice to the Caribbean team? There are always positives and negatives of a particular qualification system. It is impossible to keep everyone happy and under control. According to the current qualifications system related to Champions Trophy, the outcome seems logical and easy, that too without any complications. However, if we go deep into the analysis there are areas which can be improved in order to make things more interesting.

 

DISPARITY IN QUALIFICATION CHANCES
Teams like India, Australia, South Africa and England play continuous ODI cricket while contingent like Ireland is given handful of chances when it comes to fifty over format. Apart from this, Bangladesh have played their maximum ODI series at home, which has helped them in improving their overall winning percentage. This Asian team has gone ahead of Pakistan, India and South Africa in the last three one-day series on account of home advantage. However, if we look at West Indies on the same parameters, the results are alarming. This team has been playing cricket outside its home territory which has dented their performance chart. It’s a well-known fact that each and every team likes to outclass the opponent on home turf as conditions are favorable for them. This is where ICC has done injustice to West Indies. The motto behind putting this point was to explain the disparity that has been happening in international cricket with teams having less financial clout. A qualifications system should provide an equal playing ground to all the participants and if a team misses out, the players shouldn’t feel bad as performance is in their own hands.

 

BETTER AND IMPROVED QUALIFICATIONS SYSTEM
The ICC is right on its part considering the theory that only top nations should play the Champions Trophy but there is still scope for the improvement as far as the qualification process is concerned. There should be a system in place wherein all ODI nations are given equal chance of qualifying for the high profile tournament. Let’s accept the fact that the top six teams in the ranking system have earned their right to play in the Champions Trophy and hence are given direct entry into the competition. The remaining two slots should be decided among the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth ranked teams. Each team gets a chance to play other squads thrice, which is fine and fair. The top teams should be made to play in the Champions Trophy which seems logical. This way a team would have a chance to play in the tournament even if they have played less games or have competed outside their home base. In all probability, the fans won’t miss out on players like Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Kevin O’Brien in the Champions Trophy. The administrator of this game should learn from other sports where every team is presented with an equal chance of lifting the trophy. The situation might differ on the talent front but there is no one who can put a question mark on the level of any tournament related to other sports. Cricket as a sport has always batted for the big fishes which somewhat has derailed the progress of the game. Moreover, West Indies, the former rulers of the game, has seen loss of interest in cricket in the last one decade. This is visible from their performance. If the ICC is seriously thinking about revamping the fortunes of this team, they should be handed a proper chance of proving themselves. Pretty much like them, some solid efforts are required from other countries as well.





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