In the last few weeks the regional tournaments for the forthcoming Under 19 World Cup have been taking place and quite frankly, the qualification process is not only confusing but very unfair.
Firstly, now Afghanistan and Ireland are full members, should they have to qualify at all? I understand that the motion to admit them as FMs is a recent one, but it can only be seen as peculiar that they are the only members with that status who are going through the qualifying process. Bizarre.
Nepal’s grounds for complaint are even greater. Finishing second in the Asian group behind Afghanistan sees them eliminated, despite the fact they finished above three FMs in the last tournament (four if you include Australia who didn’t attend on security grounds). Yet they still have to try to qualify when other FMs walk straight through to the tournament proper. I know I bang on about this sort of thing a lot, but for every step forward the ICC make in trying to grow the global game, they take two steps back.
Still, what it will provide is some heart-wrenching stories when games have real meaning, The winner takes all Ireland Scotland match concluded today with an extraordinary finish, Ireland managing to defend a paltry total of 108 as the Scots lost four wickets in double quick succession to falter by 5 runs. A photo (second from last in the link) of an Irish player consoling his distraught Scottish counterpart is already doing the rounds on social media and draws comparison to the famous Flintoff and Lee photo from the 2005 Ashes. Such is what it means when everything is at stake.