ICC to reconsider 10-team format

Controversial decision to restrict 2015 World Cup to only 10 full member nations to be evaluated following protests.

    Canada and Kenya are both teams that look set to miss out if the ICC sticks to a ten-team policy [Reuters]

    The International Cricket Council (ICC) have announced they are to reconsider proposals to streamline the number of teams participating in the Cricket World Cup.

    Under plans announced during an ICC summit in Mumbai earlier this month, participation at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups will be restricted to just the 10 full ICC member teams.

    However, protests from second-tier teams furious at being excluded from the 2015 World Cup have caused ICC president Sharad Pawar to request the executive board to reconsider the move.

    "I have given this matter further serious thought and will request the board to consider this topic once more,'' Pawar said in a statement.

    "I can understand the views of the Associates and Affiliates and ICC will seek to deal with this issue in the best way possible.''

    Contentious issue

    Fourteen teams competed in this year's World Cup co-hosted by eventual champions India, runners-up Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

    The tournament, which ran between February 19 and April 2, featured numerous group matches in a format that many feared was vulnerable to corruptions.

    While the decision to reduce teams at future cups was welcomed by the likes of Australia captain Ricky Ponting and Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, it was roundly criticised by Associate members who felt it was a step backward in the ICC's bid to expand the reach of the sport.

    "I've no desire to be diplomatic as I think the ideas are bloody ridiculous,'' Kenya's chief executive Tom Sears told The Wisden Cricketer magazine.

    "The president of the ICC (Pawar) says he wants to grow the game but then wants to contract the 50-over World Cup to exclude the Associates,'' he said.

    "Not to let anyone else in is scandalous. It's all about money, power and votes - and that's not good for cricket.''

    The length and format of the showpiece event - which lasted 43 days this year and featured several one-sided matches when Test playing nations took on the second-tier sides - was criticised by many fans and pundits.

    By restricting the 2015 event to only the 10 full members, the ICC appeared to have addressed both issues.

    The governing body felt the non-Test playing nations would be better off competing in the Twenty20 World Cup.

    Ireland uproar

    Ireland were particularly annoyed with the proposal because they have been ranked 10th in the one-day world rankings for most of the last four years, ahead of full member nation Zimbabwe.

    Ireland pulled off one the shocks of the most recent tournament when they came from behind to beat England by three wickets in a thrilling group-stage encounter.

    Irish Sports Minister Leo Varadkar said such matches proved that smaller nations deserved a place at international cricket's showpiece event.

    "This 'closed shop' approach cannot be good for the game, and appears to fly in the face of the sacred values that cricket has espoused for so long - namely fair play, sportsmanship and camaraderie," he said.

    Associate members the Netherlands and Canada also qualified and played in this year's World Cup.

    The ICC's 10 full members were Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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