Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling? Have you ever felt that whatever you do, it still won't be enough? Have you ever felt inadequate? We all may have gone through these emotions at some point in time, but have perhaps been lucky enough to avert dealing with them in public glare. But, the minnows in this World Cup aren't as lucky.
They must have practiced long and hard before the tournament, they still spend many hours on the field between matches when most teams are going through the motions, just to justify their presence, yet mostly, it isn't enough. They, as expected, finish on the losing side. They constantly try to punch above their weight and push the bigger nations but the lack of experience and talent lets them down. The humiliation of a loss is invariably followed by intense media scrutiny which, quite callously, announces the verdict-the minnows don't belong here. While the verdict has some merit, (you don't want lopsided matches in the World Cup) it may be worth putting ourselves in their shoes. This is their only chance to rub shoulders with the best in the world and the only incentive to keep playing cricket between two editions of the Cup.
There's nothing worse in sport than the knowledge that you're second best even before the encounter. Yet, there would be certain individuals in every team who would take it upon themselves to stand up and get counted, but even their efforts go in vain.
So, should we just dump these teams and leave them to their devices? Or do we invest energy, money and time to develop cricket in these countries and make cricket a global game?
Yes, the Netherlands and Ireland may not have the talent and technique to compete with the stronger nations but they do have the courage and desire to compete. Rajasthan and Jharkand were the Ireland and Netherlands of the Ranji Trophy, and if the door was shut on these teams, they wouldn’t have created history by winning the Ranji and Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The ICC must do what the BCCI has done at the domestic level i.e. provide financial support and present opportunities to compete against bigger nations more often.