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We have recently heard about many minnow ICC teams making it to the limelight and one such inspirational story is that of the Afghanistan team who have been creating waves in the cricket industry. But how many of us keep ourselves up to date with other ICC nations? 

Associate teams

Did you know that there are 92 associate teams registered with the ICC waiting to qualify for the full membership? Out of these, there are 8 teams that have been granted the ODI status owing to their success at the International level.

Teams that have been granted the ODI status are:

Nambia, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, United States

This does serve as a huge boost for the associate teams who are putting in a lot of effort to rise up the levels. Though  ICC in recent times have been criticized for bashing the minnows and not giving them an opportunity at the highest level. For that reason, the ICC has been implementing several leagues and tournaments to unearth the talent.

ICC Associate teams ICC
Associate teams (Image Credits: ESPNCricinfo)

Also as part of the initiative, the Council also decided to grant the T20I status to all of its 105 associates. Thus, making the matches between these sides a full T20 and the records being taken into consideration.

There is no doubt these teams have been showcasing some exemplary talent and as we saw recently in the ODI series between UAE and Ireland, the underdogs UAE hammered Ireland to register a wonderful win by 6 wickets. 

There have been several moments when the underdogs managed to break the shackles at the highest level. One such instance being the 2003 ICC World cup When Kenya managed to make it to the semis. 

Their dream run was made to come to an end by Team India. We could recollect many such instances and for that reason, we believe the minnows should be given the chances at the highest level as it is also a way of growing the sport and engaging young talents from all over the globe.

In addition, the countries have been conducting a lot of domestic leagues to find fresh talent. One such latest find was of the Afghani spinner- Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the 15-year old who made it all the way to the Big Bash League and is currently playing for the Afghanistan team. 

Grand tournaments

ICC Associate teams ICC
ICC World Cup (Image Credits: ICCofficial)

But there has always been a question on why is the ICC reluctant to include the minnow teams in the grand tournaments like the World cup. The thought that these teams can be easily defeated does run through the minds of many but on various occasions, these teams have shown how tough they can be.

Verdict

ICC should be looking to make the qualification process lenient for the minnow teams and also considering having more teams play the International tournaments. Yes, giving these teams the full ODI status and  ICC went one step further and awarded the Afghanistan team the test status. 

But nothing would be as rewarding as awarding the teams a chance at the most prestigious tournaments as it is the best way for these players to get exposure and also engage with the legends of the game.

By pulling the minnows one is definitely pulling out the beauty of the sport as at the end of the day it should be the sport that wins more than the teams.

Cover Credits: ICCofficial