Aakash Chopra has said that the elite cricketing nations can help in the sport's growth worldwide by acting more selfishly.
The game of cricket is restricted to much fewer countries at the highest level compared to more popular sports like football. Only twelve nations have Test status currently and just ten teams contested the 2019 ODI World Cup, with the same number going to participate in the 2023 edition as well.
While acknowledging in a video shared on his YouTube channel that cricket cannot be compared to football, Aakash Chopra observed that the game can only grow if the weaker teams become more competitive.
"The more the standard of cricket improves the world over, the economy and cricketing ecosystem are going to benefit. If the big cricketing nations want their well-being, you must take some of your smaller neighbors with you and make them better. If they become competitive, you will gain in the end. So, you can think selfishly," said Chopra.
The cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out that the action will become more mundane if the elite teams just play each other rather than working on improving the standard of the game worldwide.
"If eight teams play currently and that also becomes six, who will watch and for how long you will just see India playing Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand and then rinse repeat. I will get bored, you will get bored. If the number of teams increase, suddenly the excitement will grow," opined Aakash Chopra.
Aakash Chopra also highlighted that although the ICC is working on increasing the number of teams at the World Cups, the associate nations will continue to struggle if they don't get much exposure in the intervening period.
"India should adopt Afghanistan and Nepal" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra suggested that the BCCI should help in improving the standards of some of India's neighbors like Afghanistan and Nepal.
"I have got a rough list. India should adopt Afghanistan and Nepal, that you host them in your grounds. We will also include one of your teams in our first-class system. Apart from that, we will also play matches with you continuously," said Chopra.
The 43-year-old also gave examples of the teams the other elite cricketing nations could work with.
"New Zealand can take Singapore and Hong Kong, Australia can take Papua New Guinea, Pakistan can look towards UAE and Oman, West Indies have USA and Canada close to them, South Africa can look after the African nations - Zimbabwe and Namibia, Sri Lanka can take care of Netherlands and Qatar, Ireland and Scotland for England," added Aakash Chopra.
Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that although Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe are Test-playing nations, they still need help from the elite teams to improve further.