A thriving national team can give the sport the ideal boost that it needs, and for a perfect example of that one has to look no further than Ireland. Since their heroics in the 2007 World Cup (and then again in 2011), cricket participation at the lowest levels has seen an almighty spike as people see the success of Irish cricket and want to be a part of it. A minority sport was taken out of the shadows and thrust right into the public eye because of an underdog story on the biggest stage. This clearly shows the importance of a good national team, and the effect it can have on a humble club structure. It also shows why the ICC are so wrong to call time on low-ranked Associates.
What I am trying to say is that a cricketing nation cannot be successful without both, and it is woefully misguided of them to try. You cannot expect to foster a good national team without a worthy domestic set-up, but why would anyone get involved domestically without a good national team to admire?