Euro T20 slams door on Associates

Event sanctioned by three European boards falls short of lofty expectations after draft rules are revealed to have no mandated spots for Associates among hefty overseas quotas

The Euro T20 Slam yesterday announced details of their upcoming players draft, to be held in London on July 19. The owners of the event have chosen not to include any mandated Associate overseas selections, despite the fact up to half of each squad will be overseas players.

Slam organisers have decided to have a single “overseas” draft where 700 players from 22 nations will be placed into a single pool, and up to nine players will be selected by each of the six franchises.

Sanctioned by three countries who pride themselves on helping ICC Europe to foster the growth of cricket across Europe beyond the established nations, the league has decided not to include any provisions that guarantee squad places for players from their Euro Associate brethren, nor indeed from any other of the scores of emerging cricket nations across the world who had players nominate for the event.

Both the HK T20 Blitz and the GT20 Canada have mandated Associate selections.

After the GT20 Canada draft, it was suggested that its draft structure and fee bandings could have been realigned to create more opportunity for all players, be they from Full Members, Associates, ICC Americas or indeed local, Canadian players.

That draft had squad sizes of 17, with seven FM overseas, five Canadian and five other Associates. There were nine rounds from which teams had to pick seven FM overseas, with prices determined by round number. Then five Associate rounds (inclusive of one nominated for “ICC Americas” players) were followed by five local Canadian picks.

Intriguingly the Associates’ prices were determined by their nominated reserve price rather than by round, and – as revealed by ESPN Cricinfo’s Peter Della Penna on the EC Pod; (linked below) Canadian players, despite some having higher reserves, were capped to a maximum of $7,500 and teams were directed (not) to pick certain players.

Each Euro T20 Slam icon overseas will receive USD 135,000 while the marquee player will fetch USD 115,000 a piece – it is expected there to be considerable side-deals with players like Yuvraj Singh or Ambati Rayudu who have both been linked to the event, beyond the quoted amounts.

Each of the six franchises can then pick a minimum of five and a maximum of seven additional overseas players from the price category of USD 80,000, USD 65,000, USD 50,000, USD 35,000 and USD 20,000.

The local players, ie Irish / Dutch / Scottish players for each country’s two franchises, will then be selected from a list supplied by each board, a minimum of nine per team. The prices will be USD 35,000, USD 20,000 and USD 10,000 – it is not yet known how many rounds will be at which value.

Dale Steyn was recently announced as a another Slam marquee player

Fans who had previously referred to the Slam as potentially being the “hero” event of the emerging cricket world will surely be disappointed it has declined to mandate a minimum number of Associates among an overseas quota that will constitute up to half of each squad.

For all the talk at the event’s launch about being the ‘gamechanger in the world of sport‘ it now runs the risk of being like every other T20 league with many of the same overseas players seen in similar tournament around the world.

Maybe each teams ‘needs’ 2, 3 or 4 big names per squad to draw the sponsors and media interest but for all the good it would’ve done players from AM nations and for exposure in those countries it has left many asking questions, including those from a number of the boards involved who had been told there was to be a minimum number of Associate picks to be included.

Beyond this (and similar to GT20 Canada where each team had to pick only on ICC Americas Associates) why has the Euro T20 Slam not reserved an Associate spot from other European ICC member federations? If not from an altruistic point of view, surely, the future expansion in Europe is on owners’ minds, especially into the burgeoning German cricket community and others like Denmark or Jersey. In a tournament that otherwise provides great opportunity for the emerging cricket world, it does seem to be among a number of improvident decisions across both leagues.

Speaking of Germany, its men’s wicketkeeper, ex-tech founder and global macro hedge fund manager, Dan Weston, also has dreams of popularising the sport across the continent. Weston has founded the European Cricket League, which is set to get underway 29-31 July from La Manga in Spain. The ECL is to be played in T10 format with clubs from eight European nations in its inaugural season.

“For many of us cricket lovers, the goal is to make cricket Europe’s number one team bat and ball sport in the next 20 years. The ECL will be one of many vehicles in the European cricket community that will help achieve our goal”, he told us.

Listen out for his interview on next week’s podcast, streaming across the web and also on 91.3 SportFM from next Friday.


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