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Meet the ICC Affiliate Members: Malta

The International Cricket Council is made up of Full Members, Associate Members and Affiliate Members.In a series of articles, you will see some of the Nations that are in the Affiliate Member rank that you wouldn't think that would participate in this glorious game.
ICC Members
The world of International Cricket is brought together by its governing body the International Cricket Council (ICC) that was founded at what is called the 'Home of Cricket' Lords in 1909 as the Imperial Cricket Conference with Australia, England and South Africa as its founding members as nations that were members of the Commonwealth were the only ones able to join. Later on India, New Zealand and the West Indies were brought on board in 1926 then Pakistan followed suit in 1953.

Eventually the game grew bigger to the point where now 105 countries are part of the ICC which are separated in a Hierarchal way into three separate categories which are Full Members, Associate Members and Affiliate Members,  Currently, there are 10 Full Members, 39 Associate Members and 56 Affiliate Members. Promotion is made possible by consistent results and ultimately a council vote. 

Who are these Affiliate Members?
According to the ICC, Affiliate Members are the governing bodies for cricket of a country recognised by ICC, or countries associated for cricket purposes, or a geographical area (which is not part of one of those already constituted as a Full Member or Associate Member) where the ICC recognises that cricket is played in accordance with the Laws of Cricket (56 Members).

The ICC have separated the Affiliate Members into five categories based on region. These are Europe, Asia, Americas, Africas and East Asia Pacific. Here are some of the nations that represent the Affiliate Member tag.

Malta
One of the smallest island nations in Europe, Malta currently apply their cricketing trade under the ICC Europe League. The Malta Cricketing Association became a recognised Affiliate Member in 1998. Malta played their first cricket match in 1891 against England as part of their touring party as they headed off to a tour of Australia which included English Great W.G. Grace. It wasn't until 1990 that the national side was revived when they participated in a European Cricketing Cup in Guernsey. From that tournament, Malta has regularly participated in many European Cricket Council tournaments with some success along the way.    

Malta hosted an International Tournament in October 2013 that featured other Affiliate Members such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Russia. Malta claimed the tournament with a perfect record run of wins. They would continue their run of wins in the following tournament in Budapest that included the United Arab Emirates which Malta defeated in the Final.    

Malta's domestic scene can be played all year round due to the country's superb climatic conditions. There are only two cricketing grounds in Malta. The Marsa Cricket Ground has been in existence for over 100 years making it one of the oldest cricketing grounds in the world. The Domestic season is split into two seasons. Summer League runs between July and September and the Winter League that runs between December and February. 

The Malta Cricket Association is pushing to improve the overall performances of the national side with the introduction of a Cricket Academy to help young cricketers improve their skills so that future generations the young Maltese Cricketers can try and make in impact while representing Malta.

Malta has been described as the perfect destination for hosting foreign touring parties. 


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