The Afro-Asian cup, which is currently underway, is slated to be an annual event. For those who dont know, 12 players are selected from various teams in Africa and Asia respectively and they play a tournament of three matches to win the cup based on best-of-three. When I heard the name first, I thought and remembered of the 'Australasia cup' tournaments held in Sharjah in late '80s and early '90s in which various teams from Asia and Australia would compete in full strength to win a cup. The current one is simiar to the 'One team vs Rest of the World' -the (in)famous Kerry Packer kind of matches. The twist is that, these matches are given international status.
When there is complaint about too much cricket being played, I thought, Jagmohan Dalmiya, who was the mastermind behind the tournament (and also the president of the Afro-Asian cricket committee.. Damn.. he cant stay without a major position in cricket), is putting the players into more trouble. The first match was a nail-biter, with Africa XI winning by a slender 2-run margin.. It was depressing, though, since there were 11 balls to spare, and two Indians were there in the middle. Today's match seems to be going the Asians' way. Nevertheless, now I find it quite interesting and exciting..
Imagine a bowling attack of Shoaib, Zaheer, Nehra, Razzaq and Kumble/Murali.. They did a wonderful job in the first match and doing well today too.. The mood and cameraderie in the dressing room and on the field would be soo different.. It is like the European Championship Football.. I find it thrilling when people from different countries join hands together, mingle nicely and play sports.. It would be a good learning experience for everyone, since the culture and tradition of cricket in each country are different.. Batting and bowling partnerships established between players of rival countries.. I dont think it would reduce the competitiveness of cricket.. After learning so much, one would try and like to put all that into effect in regular tours..
So, I totally support these kinds of action for shortened versions.. ODI's and 20-20.. Of course, test matches should be left pristine.. To reduce the load on the players, the ICC and the respective boards can reduce the number of some meaningless tournaments and number of matches during a tour (we are gonna play 7 ODI's against Srilanka later this year..).