'Relief' as associates get World Cup lifeline

ICC reverses decision to restrict 2015 Cricket World Cup to Test nations, retaining current 14-team format.

    Ireland were one of the teams who were set to miss out at the next World Cup [GALLO/GETTY]

    The next Cricket World Cup will retain its current format of 14 teams after minor international sides protested against plans to cut them out.

    Ten Test-playing nations plus four associate teams will take part in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

    The International Cricket Council (ICC) had initially decided to restrict the 50-over tournament to its 10 full members.

    "The ICC Executive Board opted to retain the 14-team format that was used at the highly successful and universally acclaimed ICC Cricket World Cup 2011," the governing body said in a statement on Tuesday.
     
    The move to make it a 10-team tournament triggered objections from Associate teams Ireland and the Netherlands, who showed promise at the 2011 tournament in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 

    ICC President Sharad Pawar subsequently asked the executive board to review the decision at the ongoing annual conference.

    Energy

    "The initial reaction is probably just one of relief to be honest with you, relief that we now have the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup and relief that we can now devote our energy to actually trying to qualify for it," Cricket Ireland boss Warren Deutrom told the Reuters news agency.
     
    "All we have now is the opportunity to qualify so we still have a lot of hard yards to run through.

    India won the last World Cup on home soil [GALLO/GETTY]

    "There was such a massive weight of opinion, it would have been frankly a surprise if it hadn't been changed.
     
    "That doesn't necessarily lessen the kudos that should go to the board for actually reversing the decision... I suppose it's a moment where it (the ICC) is not necessarily embracing its principles but re-embracing its principles."

    The 2019 World Cup is still slated to feature 10 teams.

    On Monday, India's cricket board dropped its strict opposition to the umpires' Decision Review System in international matches, and said Monday it was willing to accept a modified version of the technology.

    Though it remains firmly opposed to the current Hawkeye ball-tracking system used by DRS, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) softened its stance on other technologies.

    "The BCCI is agreeable to the use of technology in decision-making, which will include infrared cameras and audio-tracking devices," secretary Narainswamy Sriniva said in a statement.

    Though India has long been a critic of DRS, a system that gives teams a chance to appeal against umpires' decisions using television replays, it has more recently been insisting on it using the best technology.

    The Indian board's stance over the past few years reflects reservations by some of its top players, including star batsman Sachin Tendulkar and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

    Best available

    However, Tendulkar said earlier this month he only wanted DRS to be more consistent with the help of the best available technology.

    "It (DRS) will be more effective with the support of Snickometer and Hot-Spot Technology," Tendulkar said.

    "It will give more consistent results."

    The Snickometer determines whether a batsman has edged the ball, using both sight and sound, while the Hot-Spot determines the point of impact of a delivery.

    The ICC used DRS during the World Cup earlier this year, when Dhoni was critical of the system, calling it "an adulteration of technology and human decision-making."

    India went on to win the tournament in the final against Sri Lanka.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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