Two associate member teams vying to be given full membership and Test match status have had contrasting results in the last few days. Ireland has been backed by big brother England for full membership for a long time and most, if not all of the Ireland players play in the English county championships not as overseas players but local ones.
However apart from the odd performance and that too against England they have hardly made an impact elsewhere. Even recently when they had a one-day series against Pakistan they were roundly beaten and new boys Afghanistan also shared the one-day series with them. Last week they were walloped by South Africa who were without AB de Villers and some other star South African players.
Afghanistan on the other hand have now beaten Bangladesh in a one-day game and at the time of writing had a chance to win a series there too. The Afghan team has had much more impressive performances in all kinds of conditions yet not many talk about them being given full membership.
It is not how good you are but the vote factor that comes in whenever there is any discussion about giving membership to countries like Ireland and Afghanistan. The two power blocs in the ICC think more about that vote which both teams will bring to the table and how it could affect them rather than the cricket that they will play on the field.
On the field Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja showed why they are the spin kings in the subcontinent with a terrific display to rock New Zealand. The Kiwis to their credit did not give up without a fight and India know that they will have to be on top of their game to win the series.
Ashwin has become the second fastest to get to 200 Test wickets and but for the washout in Trinidad would have been joint fastest with Clarrie Grimmet. What has been most impressive is how he strives to be better than the previous day and works so hard at his cricket.
His batting once again came in handy when India were wobbling against NewZealand in the first innings and he is now a genuine allrounder.
Ravindra Jadeja too has the makings of an all-rounder at the Test level if he continues to contribute with the bat as he did in the Kanpur Test.
Batting down at number 8 he perhaps feels he is in the team as a bowler and so looks to hit around but anybody who has two triple hundreds in first class cricket can bat at the Test level too.
Once he gets the mix of aggression and caution right he will score regularly at the highest level. Ravichandran Ashwin for his ten wicket haul is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.