Book review: Intercontinental Cup/Shield by Roy Morgan
The Intercontinental Cup has only been in existence for seven years, but has already provided its fair share of memorable moments, such as John Davison's 17 wickets against the USA, the double centuries from the likes of Steve Tikolo, David Hemp and Ryan ten Doeschate or Noor Ali becoming only the fourth player to score centuries in each innings of his first-class debut.
That short but interesting history is the basis for Roy Morgan's follow up to his Encylopedia of World Cricket, a book published by the Association of Cricket Statisticians on the Intercontinental Cup and it's brief "second division", the Intercontinental Shield.
The book provides details on all matches, players and grounds in the history of the two tournaments, along with a background to the event and a statistics section.
It starts with a rather intriguing foreword by ICC Chief Executive Harron Lorgat. He talks in ways that many cricket lovers would agree with - that the longer form of the game is crucial to the development of players, which is rather at odds with his statements earlier in the year that Twenty20 was the best development tool. Perhaps we may see Mr Lorgat campaigning for a more inclusive ICC with the longest form of the game open to more members - or maybe not...
The book proper starts with a look at the first-class history of associate countries, such as the many games played by Ireland and Scotland and the past first-class status of Philadelphia, Fiji and Argentina, providing a summary of these matches. It also mentions a surprising fact that a similar competition was proposed way back in 1966, and looks at other non first-class multi-day matches played by associates, such as the Saudara Cup match between Malaysia and Singapore. It also discusses whether the tournament deserves its first-class status.
The bulk of the book is taken up by reports and scorecards from every match in the two tournaments so far. Morgan has attempted to resolve the occasional discrepancy in scorecards by consulting the original scorebooks where possible, though he laments the absence of good record keeping in some countries.
The reports and scorecards are presented in much the same way that Wisden presents a review of the County Championship season, though some reports are more detailed than others. Morgan clearly has much criticism for the sometimes odd scheduling decisions of the ICC, such as scheduling matches during countries rainy seasons.
After the excellent report and scorecards section, the book then prevents a comprehensive set of records, as well as profiling each country that has taken part in the tournaments to date. The following player profiles section however is where the book is somewhat let down.
The profiles are little more than basic information about a player - batting and bowling style, teams played for, date of birth, etc. Morgan included some more expansive player profiles in the Encylopedia of World Cricket, and it would perhaps have been better to do the same here, giving detailed profiles of some of the key players from each team.
Whilst it is nice to have all this information in one place and, aside from the absence of detailed player profiles, there is nothing wrong with the book as such, it would be hard to say that this is an essential part of an associate/affiliate cricket lovers library.
There is not much history to go on, so it will be interesting to read a potential second edition given another seven years of tournament history to work with.