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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 May, 2004, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
ICC targets expansion
Ehsan Mani
The ICC aims to develop cricket into a global sport by fostering the game in the existing countries while also attracting new affiliate members
ICC president Ehsan Mani

The International Cricket Council wants to expand its membership base to 100 countries by the end of 2005.

The ICC currently enrols 89 nations - 10 full, Test-playing members, 27 associates and 52 affiliate members.

The issue of expansion was high on the agenda at a two-day seminar hosted by the Asian Cricket Council in Lahore.

"That is our target. Cricket is a unique sport and the ICC aims to develop this game into a truly global sport," president Ehsan Mani said.

He added: "As well as increasing the number of playing countries, the ICC is targeting an improvement in the playing standards of its associate and affiliate members."

Only four countries - Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh - have been added to the Test roster in the last 52 years.

Bangladesh, who have struggled since gaining Test status in 2000, will be seeking a first victory after 28 Tests on their current tour of the Caribbean.

"Bangladesh has faced a challenging time since its entry into Test cricket," Mani said.

"The ICC has been working very closely with the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the ACC to assist in the high performance development of the game in Bangladesh."

Associate member Kenya reached the semi-finals of last year's World Cup, but their application for full membership was deferred until 2005.

"Kenya wants to play more one-day internationals and we have allocated an extra half a million dollars to them to further improve the quality of their game," Mani said.

"We saw from the performance of not only Kenya, but Canada, Holland and Namibia just how the game is moving ahead outside the Test-playing countries.

"This has enabled the ICC to open the next World Cup to more nations than ever before."

The ICC projects it will spend US$100m (55.9m) on the development of cricket by 2007, half of which will go to Asia.

Matthew Kennedy, the ICC's development manager, said cricket has become increasingly popular in typically non-cricket countries.

"The passion of cricket can be seen in Samoa, Indonesia, beaches of Croatia, in war-ravaged Afghanistan and in villages of Papua New Guinea, which is a success of the development and globalization program," he said.


SEE ALSO
Lahore to host Asian seminar
02 May 04  |  Eng v NZ
Mani backs expansion agenda
14 Jun 03  |  Cricket
Ehsan Mani quizzed
05 Jul 02  |  Forum


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