There was a time not too long ago when cricket in Europe was confined within the shores of the British Isles, and a few isolated pockets of British ex-pats on the continent.
Not anymore. Today cricket is starting to flourish right across continental Europe, and at the heart of this growing popularity, and rapid development is the ICC Europe.
The ICC & Cricket in Europe:
The ICC Europe is the regional body for the International Cricket Council which has responsibility for the development of the game across the European continent (including Israel).
Formerly known as the European Cricket Council, the body runs a series of development initiatives, sponsored by soft drinks firm Pepsi, to increase participation in the sport at grassroots level, and to improve the competitive nature of national teams.
Their success to date can be best demonstrated by the achievements of three nations. Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands, have so far managed to qualify for the flagship ICC Cricket World Cup and also the ICC World Cup Twenty20 on several occasions. Whilst Scotland are yet to pick up their maiden victory, both the Netherlands and Ireland have managed to claim the scalp of several Test playing nations in the course of these tournaments, and Ireland in particular have developed into a side that nobody takes for granted.
Given that they only started playing cricket at this level around twenty years ago, this is no mean feat and much credit for the development of the game in those countries must go to the ICC Europe, as well as their local administrators.
But there is still a long way to go and plenty of effort is underway to broaden the appeal of the game across the continent. The most prominent aspect of their work is the European Cricket Championship, a tournament between all non-test, One-Day International, and Twenty20 recognised European nations arranged over five Divisions. Nations as diverse as Denmark, Italy, and even Jersey have tasted success in this tournament which offers real incentives for those playing the sport to progress.
But what the ICC giveth, they also taketh away, and the crazy decision to restrict the Cricket World Cup to just ten teams from 2019 is a real kick in teeth for emerging nations for whom it is the goal of all their hard work. It has to be hoped that this decision will quickly be reversed once the ICC sees the adverse effects it has on the game away from the test-playing nations, but until that is the case, there will be yet more focus on the European Cricket Championship and the ICC World League tournaments.
On this site we are aiming to keep you up to up to speed with all the key information about cricket in Europe. We are passionate about the development of the sport across more countries and firm believers that there should be a clear route for all nations to play in major international tournaments, and even test matches, once they have reached a requisite standard.
On this site you will find:
About ICC Cricket Europe: This article introduces the ICC Europe in more detail, explaining their responsibilities, the role they play, and those areas of the game they do not have influence, as well as detailing the nature of the ICC, and offering a brief history of the game of cricket in Europe.
ICC Europe Member Countries: Here we introduce the member countries of the ICC Europe, all 32 of them, with particular profiles of the three most successful members to date, Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands. We also explain the membership structure, and detail which level each of the members currently sits at.
European Cricket Championships: Here we go into more detail about the European Cricket Championships, explaining how the tournament began, and detailing its gradual evolution into the five Division tournament that is played today. We also explain how this tournament links into the global ICC World Cricket League, the international tournament for non-test playing nations.
European Cricket at the ICC World Cup 2015: With the ICC deciding to limit participation in future World Cups, the 2015 edition in Australia and New Zealand may be the last time smaller European nations have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with the Test playing nations. We therefore take the opportunity to review the performances of our two representatives, Ireland and Scotland, focusing on the high points (for Ireland at least) and the low points, as well as detailing who emerged with some credit, and where the two nations can go from here.