An exuberant and bulky Stallion reminiscent of a young Shoaib Akhtar towers in front of the boundary rope with his eyes glued to the woodwork that he would find utmost joy in destroying. After tossing the partially assaulted Kookaburra into the air for a third time, Zadran steadily begins his march towards a resolute Joyce with simplified intentions: unnerving, abashing, raw pace. Joyce positions his blade on the pace-friendly turf with his eyes locked on the bowler like a brute on a slaughtering spree. The Kabul Cannoneers take on the Dublin Dodgers.

The Associate Members have, since the past few years, been knocking on the doors of importance to be recognised, acknowledged and appreciated for their cricket.

Last year, we witnessed the Irishmen shock higher-ranked West Indies, we saw Scotland on the verge of spoiling the Black Caps' World Cup plans and the Afghans do the same against the Lankans. For Hamid Hassan and Josh Davey, the World Cup was a chance to place their ability on a mannequin for fans all over the globe to see: a rare opportunity to gain the cricket world’s attention, get a flavour of the hustle and bustle that surrounds the rock-star Test-nation counterparts, and to inspire a new breed of cricketers back in the broken pavements of Kandahar and Edinburgh.

In a world plagued or blessed, depending on your perception, with innumerous leagues, the Associates often remain either unsold or are used to keep the benches warm. But things could change.

If partially fit individuals, having lived their good days, can take the field and play competitive cricket, why must the Associate cricketers sit in silence and solitude? As an advocate of endless, exciting cricketing action, I would welcome with open arms a Twenty20 league featuring franchises from Associate members.

The T20 league could be played on the fickle, swing-promoting pitches of Wales and Scotland or in humid, testing conditions of the United Arab Emirates. The league could begin with five member clubs, possibly using the names of capital cities of all playing nations involved. A delight for global cricket fans as the Hong Kong Sixers take on the Muscat Mustangs and the Amsterdam Avengers play against the Edinburgh Whitecaps. The league would draw highly skilled players from all Associate and Affiliate members. Franchises would consist of mainly players from their own national pool, but could also include representation from the North American, African and European contingents by contracting players from all over the globe through an adequate and equitable draft system.

Any Associate Member, today, can cause an historic upset over higher-ranked opponents to rival that of Ireland’s wins over Pakistan and England on previous occasions. The hour is upon us. The vanguard for the associates is growing by the day and the recent havoc caused by the Afghans against Zimbabwe further bolsters the arguement for the associates. A separate league for Associate Members will make them part of the cricket renaissance that we are experiencing and will give new hope to a flickering sense of interest and belonging among cricket lovers.

The dirtiness of the forest green strip, the calm before the storm, forecasts fireworks in the periscopic stadium. In a contest between lowly-regarded sides, cricketing stereotyoes are broken. The jubilant Celts from Glasgow, the Orange brigade from amiable Amsterdam and the emotionally charged pathans with their bright red facepaints sing hymns of joy and praise to celebrate the evolution of cricket as a global sport. Every run scored from the bat of an associate batsman and every single time the bails are dislodged into thin air of insignificance, new energy is injected into the game. History is created, a new age is welcomed as the Associate Members embark on a quest for relevance. Joyce scoops the ball over the bowler's head for six runs. The game is over – cricket wins.