Former India opener Aakash Chopra has criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other major cricketing nations for doing injustice with the Associate Members. Chopra opined that the international apex body only invites associate countries to the major ICC event, which comes once a year.

The cricketer-turned-commentator reckoned if the ICC wants to make cricket a global sport, they’ll have to create consistent opportunities for the Associate Nations to compete with full members so that they improve.

“There’s always a lot of clamor about including more teams in the World Cup and that this is the only way of making the sport global. But I have a fundamental problem with this… I feel that you are just doing tokenism which is like giving a lollipop to a kid when you take them out once in a while. If you want to do justice with the Associate nations and genuinely bring them forward, then don’t remember them only World Cup to World Cup; it’s not Diwali that’ll come annually. You will have to play them consistently and help them get better,” said Chopra on his YouTube channel.

Chopra cited the example of the recently concluded T20 World Cup 2021 fixture between England and Bangladesh – which was the first meeting between the two teams in T20 Internationals. The Delhi-lad said England hadn’t played against Bangladesh before Wednesday’s encounter, and that too when Bangladesh isn’t even an Associate Nation.

“I’ll tell you something. The match between England and Bangladesh yesterday was the first T20 match between these two teams, and that’s when Bangladesh is not even an Associate nation. England doesn’t want to play with Bangladesh, and you are talking about Namibia, Ireland, Oman and Scotland,” added Chopra.

The Agra-born further mentioned Team India and questioned how much has India played against Afghanistan in the shortest format? Chopra asserted that Associate Members will not get better unless they play regular cricket with top teams.

“We Indians, how many times have we hosted Afghanistan except for a Test match? … So when nobody plays with these teams for four years, and they come and get beaten badly here, we say ‘It’s a good thing they have got experience, they’ll get better now. They’ll get better only if you give them another opportunity to play,” Chopra added further.

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