An ICC press release issued today talked proudly about how 1.4 million people are now playing cricket in their associate & affiliate members. There are reasons to be sceptical about this figure, but even if it’s true as the playing numbers are increasing, the opportunities for these players are – despite what the ICC are fond of saying – decreasing.

So if during the World Twenty20 Qualifier, or at any other time, you hear the phrase “more opportunities for associates” or any variation, just look at the following table:

Event Start of decade End of decade
World Cup 4 guaranteed places 0 guaranteed places
ODI Rankings 6 allowed to be on rankings 2 allowed to be on rankings
World Twenty20 2 guaranteed places every two years 6 places in preliminary round every four years
Intercontinental Cup 14 matches per team in each four year period 7 matches per team in each four year period
World Cricket League 8 divisions 6 divisions
Regional tournaments Almost every country playing regional 50 over and/or 20 over cricket 20 over cricket only in most regions and much fewer teams allowed to play

More opportunities for associates? You be the judge.