Status decisions lack consistency
When Nepali media started reporting that Nepal's three-day tour match against a Kurungela Combined XI had been awarded first-class status, I must confess I was sceptical. No other website was reporting it as a first-class match, Nepal were a team only recently promoted to Division Two of the World Cricket League and less than half the Kurungela team had first-class experience.
It turned out that the match did indeed have first-class status, as Sri Lanka Cricket had granted first-class status to both three-day matches played by Nepal on the tour and the three-day matches Hong Kong will play later this month, as well as List A status to the 50 over match the two touring sides will play against each other.
However, on the same day that Nepal's first tour match ended, Hong Kong began a three-day match against Papua New Guinea in Townsville, host to two ODIs played by those teams at the weekend. Hong Kong & Papua New Guinea will be playing in the Intercontinental Cup from next year, and a match between the two in that tournament would be first-class, but this match wasn't.
The decision to award List A status to the Hong Kong v Nepal 50 over match initially seems less controversial, with Hong Kong possessing ODI status and Nepal now in the List A status World Cricket League Division 2. However back in July, Scotland hosted the Netherlands for a three-match one-day series and that didn't have List A status, despite also being a match between an ODI status team and a WCL2 team.
The discrepancy arises due to how the status of matches is decided, or rather who gets to decide it. Outside of Tests, ODIs and T20Is, whether to give a match first-class, List A or List A T20 status is up to the ICC if it's one of their tournaments. But if it's not one of their tournaments then the host board decides, but only if that host board is an ICC full member.
So in the case of the matches Hong Kong and Nepal are playing in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Cricket decides. For the Hong Kong v Papua New Guinea match, the decision belongs to Cricket Australia, and they either weren't asked, or opted not to award the match first-class status.
The Scotland v Netherlands matches in July however were played in Scotland, an ICC associate member. Cricket Scotland can't award the match List A status, so it would be up to the teams to ask the ICC. They either didn't ask, or they did and were turned down.
This confused jurisdictional situation gives rise to the scrappy way the status of these matches has been decided. None of it really makes sense. The ICC should decide which teams have which status and that should be the end of it. The concept of status isn't one I'm particularly comfortable with, and I'd much rather it didn't exist at all, but surely if it's going to exist, the decisions of what status particular matches have should be logical and consistent?
But then this is the ICC we're talking about here. Since when have their decisions been logical and consistent?