Give associate teams more exposure and matches for them to grow further, says MS Dhoni

"Give associate teams more exposure and matches for them to grow further, but not against India", says MS Dhoni

“Give associate teams more exposure and matches for them to grow further, but not against India”, says MS Dhoni: Indian Captain MS Dhoni supported the idea of giving the associate teams more matches against full member nations for them to develop their game and better themselves.

Dhoni was speaking at the press conference after India beat UAE by 9 wickets for their 3rd straight win in the 2015 World cup at Perth. The Indian Captain said that the Associates should be given more playing time against top teams outside of International Cricket Council (ICC) events, as it is the only way cricket could become a truly global sport.

Dhoni noted significant improvement that teams like Afghanistan and Ireland have made in the last 2-3 years and said that these teams should be given greater facilities and infrastructure to further encourage their development. The Associate member teams have had quite a few close matches in this World Cup with Afghanistan giving Sri Lanka a very hard time in their match and Ireland beating West Indies to register the first upset of this World Cup.

Dhoni further said. “If you see Afghanistan or some of the other teams, you can see a bit of improvement in their game every time they come and play. Whatever we have seen of a lot of the Associate nations, there has been a lot of improvement in their cricket. But we’ll have to give them more opportunities and we have to make sure that the infrastructure in those countries gets better and better so more people can come and play cricket.”

He also said further that “You have to see that cricket is developing as a sport because what’s very important is you want cricket to be a global sport when it comes to participation. What’s more important is rather than looking at it from a commercial point of view, what we have to make sure is where there’s existence of the sport, it keeps on increasing there, and at the same time you look at some of the other countries where there’s the prospect of playing cricket.

“I feel overall it’s a win win situation, but what’s most important is to make sure that if there’s a bit of fire anywhere, you have to make sure it becomes a bush fire in terms of the intensity.”

But Dhoni also admitted that India didn’t have any window in their international schedule to accommodate the Associate nations in their playing calendar. On being asked if India is willing to play the Associate nations, Dhoni replied, “Not against India. I don’t see even a few days off to play any more cricket than what we play. We can’t, unless we play two games in one day, which is just not possible, because you want to keep the quality up.

On being prodded further on the issue, Dhoni ended the discussion with the following statement. He said that “It’s a difficult one. Yes, the Associate nations, if they can get a few more games, better scenario, good facilities, it will be good for them, but at the end of the day, it’s like a circus where you want to play in front of people, you want to compete in the best scenarios. So we’ll have to formulate a way, but please, not India. India can’t play any more games.”