Love me - Sikandar Raza
As if his 319 runs and 15 wickets weren't enough to grab attention over the month of March at the World Cup Qualifier, he stole the show at the post-match presentation following the tournament final when accepting the Man of the Series award with his heartfelt speech decrying next year's 10-team World Cup.
It's not often that a player from a Full Member throws so much support behind the Associate cause. Ireland captain William Porterfield, whose side was elevated to Test status last year, had strong words voicing support for Associate teams at the qualifier and their uncertain futures following his team's loss to Afghanistan in the last Super Six match on Friday. But Porterfield's press conference was conducted mostly out of public view and received far less exposure than Sikandar's statement, which was full of emotion and televised around the world. "Brilliant @SRazaB24," tweeted Nepal captain Paras Khadka. "Thank you for being our voice!!!"
Love me not - No DRS
One of the biggest talking points through the televised portion of the tournament was the decision to not use the best technology available. An excuse trotted out before the tournament by organisers was that playing conditions should remain consistent for TV and non-TV games.
However, the same principle was not applied to the 2017 Women's World Cup. Not all games were televised, with many using an online stream only, but the ones that were televised allowed the teams to use the Decision Review System to challenge on field calls.
The impact of the lack of DRS at the World Cup Qualifier was apparent for Scotland in the Super Sixes. Against Ireland, an lbw appeal from Brad Wheal against Andy Balbirnie when the batsman had yet to score was denied by umpire Paul Wilson. Balbirnie went on to make a century in a Man of the Match performance. A few days later, Wilson became the centre of attention once more when he upheld West Indies spinner Ashley Nurse's appeal for lbw against Richie Berrington to a ball heading past leg stump. No one will know if Scotland would have won those games with the decisions overturned, but it would have been good to have the option.
Love me - Full Members at the Qualifier
This was the first time in the history of the World Cup Qualifier, which dates back to 1979 when it was known as the ICC Trophy, that Full Members were forced to go through the same intense process that Associates do in order to make it to the World Cup. All of the edge-of-your-seat drama that TV cameras missed in their absence from February's WCL Division Two in Namibia was captured live and in living colour in Zimbabwe.
When it was all said and done, the two pre-tournament favorites - West Indies and Afghanistan - wound up claiming the two spots at the 2019 World Cup. But the relaxed nature of the tournament final between the two sides underscored the fact that it's not just about the destination, but the journey to get there. From the group stage through the Super Sixes, almost every match was full of drama and provided example upon example of the parity and competitiveness in limited-overs cricket that extends well beyond the Full Member world like never before. Going by Carlos Brathwaite's Twitter feed, the Associates gained West Indies' respect too.
Love me not - No Associates at the World Cup
Next year's event will be the first time in its history that there won't be a single Associate side in attendance. All participating teams are ranked in the top ten of the ODI rankings. Half of the teams will be from Asia. Only one team, West Indies, is fully located in the western hemisphere.
In this year's 32-team FIFA World Cup in Russia, a team ranked as low as No. 63 in the world - Saudi Arabia - qualified on merit. Chile and Italy, both ranked in the top 16, did not. If FIFA used rankings only to form their World Cup field and shrank the event to 16 teams, rather than expand to 48 as will be the case for 2026, the entire field would be comprised of countries from Europe and South America.
Imagine FIFA World Cups in this millenium without Ghana's Asamoah Gyan, Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba, Australia's Tim Cahill, USA's Clint Dempsey, South Korea's Park Ji-sung, Japan's Keisuke Honda. That's what cricket fans will likewise be missing in England and Wales next year without the Associates represented. It means no Kyle Coetzer, Rohan Mustafa, Paul van Meekeren, Anshuman Rath, or Sandeep Lamichhane.
Love me - Ian Bishop
In the post-Richie Benaud era of TV commentary, few people do more to enhance the viewer experience more than the former West Indies fast bowler. "Remember the name!" may go down in history as his signature moment on air, but associating him only with that would be a disservice to the outstanding technical expertise, relatable personal anecdotes, instant recall from previous games he has covered as well as detailed background research knowledge of teams and players he brings wherever he is calling a game.
Whether it is Test cricket, T20 franchise cricket, women's cricket or Associate cricket, Bishop's versatility and quality that he brings to each assignment is unmatched. He gives respect to the players he covers below the top level of the game by doing more than a cursory check of their batting and bowling styles so he can contribute genuine insights rather than fumbling and mumbling bland cliches to disguise a lack of interest that is often apparent in other talking heads. In turn, viewers worldwide respect Bishop's efforts and yearn for more to follow his lead.
Love me not - No reserve days
It does not make much sense that WCL Division Two, the tournament preceding the World Cup Qualifier through which UAE and Nepal advanced to Zimbabwe, had two scheduled reserve days - both of which wound up being used - as well as provisions for a third if necessary, while the World Cup Qualifier itself had zero reserve days. Had the reserve day been in place, there would not have been a need to cut short multiple games, most significantly the West Indies v Scotland and Zimbabwe v UAE encounters in the Super Six stage.
The massive frustration from the Scotland camp who saw their dreams dashed was equal parts no DRS and no reserve days. Five runs short of the DLS target against West Indies, they were taken off the field and never came back on. The poor lbw decision against Berrington may have been easier to swallow had the match been allowed to reach a natural conclusion on the field - whether it meant being bowled out for 170 or winning by three wickets in the 50th over - rather than by a mathematician's calculator off it.
Love me - Nepal gaining ODI status
There are countless ways in which Nepal's passion shines through: the singing of "Rato Ra Chandra Surya" by the squad after each game, hundreds of fans greeting the players on their arrival to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, 15,000 fans packing Tribhuvan University Stadium even for domestic matches like the Everest Premier League, let alone Nepal's home internationals.
Not since Afghanistan has an Associate country had the capacity to have as much growth and impact with the opportunity to play ODI cricket as Nepal. If they can get their administrative affairs in order, there's no reason why they can't go on the same fast track toward Test status.
Love me not - Nepal not having any guaranteed ODI fixtures
However, what does the status actually mean when Nepal is not a part of the Future Tours Programme? Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea serve as examples of countries holding ODI status more or less in name only, without being able to receive the same fixture opportunities and benefits as a Test nation.
However, the respective fan bases of PNG and Hong Kong are relatively small. By comparison, Nepal's fan market base being as enthusiastic as Afghanistan's means there are millions of eyeballs for TV broadcasters and sponsors to seize upon. Already, Nepal has been extended a return visit to Lord's this summer alongside the Netherlands. Hopefully it means that Khadka's men will get the chance to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka sooner rather than later in one-day cricket, especially with an IPL spinner in their ranks in the form of 17-year-old Lamichhane.