World Cup January 27, 2008

Associates fume at World Cup pruning

The Associates are up in arms over proposals to reduce their number from six to four at the 2011 World Cup.
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The Associates are up in arms over proposals to reduce their number from six to four at the 2011 World Cup.

The move comes as organisers try to make the tournament less prone to early upsets - the early eliminations of India and Pakistan in 2007 were financially crippling - as well as giving the bigger teams more matches in the early stages.

The favoured format for 2011 is in effect a reversion to the one used in South Africa in 2003 where in the first round there were two groups of seven teams, with the top three in each group progressing to the Super Sixes. It was heavily criticised at the time for being too long, but more matches mean more revenue and that is a priority for both the ICC and the tournament organisers.

The main flaw of the 2003 event was that the Super Sixes was rendered almost pointless because of the way points were carried forward from the first round, and it remains to be seen if that will be addressed. The length of the last two World Cups have also been attacked, but it is hard to see with a reversion to the 2003 format how much time can be trimmed from the eight-week event.

The reduction from 16 to 14 teams means the Associates will lose two of their slots as Full Members, including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, are guaranteed participation. The move is believed to have come from India and Pakistan, and with guaranteed support from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, it is likely to happen.

Privately, the ICC is believed to be split. Some senior officials are keen to retain as many Associates as possible to keep the World Cup a global event, but its commercial arm is thought to back a reduction in participants.

Last week eight of the leading Associates wrote to Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, registering their deep concern with the proposals. "We would regard such a step as perverse and unwarranted," the letter said. "It would be wholly contrary to the best interests of cricket and to the spirit of the game and [its] globalisation."

Their argument is a reduction in the number of sides goes against the stated aim of expanding the game into new areas. However, Cricinfo has learnt that some leading Full Members question the value of that policy and would prefer an acceptance that cricket will never really expand outside its traditional homelands.

Those advocating the reduction say the Associates rarely shine at World Cups and that there is no strength in depth. While Ireland qualified for the Super Eights in 2007, the performance of other sides such as Bermuda and Canada was poor. And Kenya's progression to the semi-finals in 2003 was as much due to boycotts and a skewed format than anything else. It would be better, so the argument goes, to have the best four Associates playing six games than six playing three, as was the case in 2007.

The majority of the Associates most likely to be affected are meeting in London this week to discuss how they can tackle the proposals. The reality, however, is that they know only too well that if the major countries want to force the changes, there is little they can do about it.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Adam Sutler on January 31, 2008, 15:40 GMT

    The world expansion of cricket is drowning beneath an avalanche of Indian and Pakistani inadequacies.

  • rishabh on January 30, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    It's sad that number of Associates will be less next time. ICC can not do anything about it because of BCCI whose new meaning is seeming to be- Board for control of cricket in ICC

  • Daniel on January 30, 2008, 3:55 GMT

    Um David, have you considered that a tie usually means an equal run rate?

  • nahaz on January 30, 2008, 1:49 GMT

    I think four countries is the way to go...there's not enough quality teams for six to participate. Maybe they should try to make the qualification very thorough and have it in the 18 months b4 the WC so that only the best teams of the time get to go. Minnows do make WC very exciting tho. While as a Bangladeshi I was disheartened to lose to Ireland it would prob help them spread the game there.maybe in the next WC we can have more teams. There's no point in always seeing the same teams fight it out.

  • Luke de Costa on January 30, 2008, 0:59 GMT

    ummmm....What kind of sport actually discourages people from playing? This is madness. The mainstream media, former players turned commentators, the BCCI and the ICC need to have a good long hard look at themselves. Apart from anything else, it is completely and utterly immoral to discount certain nations from competing at a "World" event based on their financial marketability. Not even the International Olympic Committee would dare to sink so low.

  • Fahad Khan on January 29, 2008, 20:14 GMT

    As a Pakistan fan, I didn't really mind Ireland beating Pakistan in 2007. Simply put Pakistan didn't deserve to win. The group stages could be expanded by one match, so that one bad match doesn't disqualify you. Associates playing in the World Cup is what makes it a "World Cup" but there are some teams I wouldn't want to see playing. Kenya and Ireland should play now due to past performances. Bermuda shouldn't but the game should be developed as it actually has a fan base in Bermuda as opposed to the US and Canadian teams which no one in the US/Canada knows/cares about. I don't think the number of associates is the problem, the scheduling is. A tournament should not go on forever, like 2007, and it is not necessary for every single team to have to play every other team. Because of the way cricket is developing in associate nations, it would be completely unfair to limit the number of teams to play. What would be the reward for up and coming teams? My two cents.

  • poor old bowler on January 29, 2008, 11:33 GMT

    i think the main problem is the super eight part of the world cup not the group stage.

    they need quater finals,semi finals and then final.

    they should get the highest placed 8 into group stage,but instead of all these games have 1st vs 8th,2nd vs 7th,3rd vs 6th and 4th vs 5th and if you lose your out. the next next winner 1 vs winner 4 and winner 2 vs winner 3. its better way to decide a winner and would be more entertaining with a no stuff ups you lose your out fell to the finals.they would more passion and unpredictability added to the tourament and in some cases a underdog vs superpower theme in the finals which is good for sports veiwing.

    i would like to see atleast 8 non test playing nations in the world cup because without them the world cup is just the champions trophey with a bigger trophey.

    but the icc should handpick the nations they feel will one day play test cricket,whats the point of entering the world cup if you have no future ever playing test cricket.

  • john boon on January 29, 2008, 10:53 GMT

    I think that people should remember that India and Pakistan didn't just have one bad day, they both lost two of their three games and deserved what they got, an early exit. Now remember, the team that knocked India out, effectively, was Bangladesh They are a fully fledged test member and were beaten by whom, Ireland, which is an associate team. hmmmmmmm. Who deserves their place at the top table more, a semi-professional team who put their heart and soul into the game for no financial reward or a team of multimillionaires who are fully professional?

  • Wayne Lewis on January 29, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    Oh! Certainly this is NOT an attempt to protect the "BIG" teams from their lack of preparation for the World Cup .... I would have thought that after the Associates' performance in the Caribbean in 2007, that the ICC would have been rushing to increase the number of Associate teams.

    It's the upset that makes the World Cup more interesting.

  • Llakhani on January 29, 2008, 10:10 GMT

    I am an investor who has made a lot of money through sports (not betting) and I'd like to say this: whoever has posted comments related to this article (cricket lovers i imagine) - guys stop wasting your time,cricket's on its way to extinction. Mark my words,cricket will cease to exist in another decade or max two.

    This statement comes to you from a person who had to give up cricket because of a serious back injury.I have been over the years through various channels trying to get different countries and communities get involved in cricket,but without support from the authorities,it doesn't matter how much money you put in. As long as people like Speed and Pawar are at the helm of affairs, the game doesn't have the chance to spread to markets like South America, Europe,etc.Look at the way rugby has developed itself which is the way to go.

    I am based in Dubai where the headquarters of the ICC was shifted, since it has tax free zone,while the leadership here has no interest in the game whatsoever.

  • Adam Sutler on January 31, 2008, 15:40 GMT

    The world expansion of cricket is drowning beneath an avalanche of Indian and Pakistani inadequacies.

  • rishabh on January 30, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    It's sad that number of Associates will be less next time. ICC can not do anything about it because of BCCI whose new meaning is seeming to be- Board for control of cricket in ICC

  • Daniel on January 30, 2008, 3:55 GMT

    Um David, have you considered that a tie usually means an equal run rate?

  • nahaz on January 30, 2008, 1:49 GMT

    I think four countries is the way to go...there's not enough quality teams for six to participate. Maybe they should try to make the qualification very thorough and have it in the 18 months b4 the WC so that only the best teams of the time get to go. Minnows do make WC very exciting tho. While as a Bangladeshi I was disheartened to lose to Ireland it would prob help them spread the game there.maybe in the next WC we can have more teams. There's no point in always seeing the same teams fight it out.

  • Luke de Costa on January 30, 2008, 0:59 GMT

    ummmm....What kind of sport actually discourages people from playing? This is madness. The mainstream media, former players turned commentators, the BCCI and the ICC need to have a good long hard look at themselves. Apart from anything else, it is completely and utterly immoral to discount certain nations from competing at a "World" event based on their financial marketability. Not even the International Olympic Committee would dare to sink so low.

  • Fahad Khan on January 29, 2008, 20:14 GMT

    As a Pakistan fan, I didn't really mind Ireland beating Pakistan in 2007. Simply put Pakistan didn't deserve to win. The group stages could be expanded by one match, so that one bad match doesn't disqualify you. Associates playing in the World Cup is what makes it a "World Cup" but there are some teams I wouldn't want to see playing. Kenya and Ireland should play now due to past performances. Bermuda shouldn't but the game should be developed as it actually has a fan base in Bermuda as opposed to the US and Canadian teams which no one in the US/Canada knows/cares about. I don't think the number of associates is the problem, the scheduling is. A tournament should not go on forever, like 2007, and it is not necessary for every single team to have to play every other team. Because of the way cricket is developing in associate nations, it would be completely unfair to limit the number of teams to play. What would be the reward for up and coming teams? My two cents.

  • poor old bowler on January 29, 2008, 11:33 GMT

    i think the main problem is the super eight part of the world cup not the group stage.

    they need quater finals,semi finals and then final.

    they should get the highest placed 8 into group stage,but instead of all these games have 1st vs 8th,2nd vs 7th,3rd vs 6th and 4th vs 5th and if you lose your out. the next next winner 1 vs winner 4 and winner 2 vs winner 3. its better way to decide a winner and would be more entertaining with a no stuff ups you lose your out fell to the finals.they would more passion and unpredictability added to the tourament and in some cases a underdog vs superpower theme in the finals which is good for sports veiwing.

    i would like to see atleast 8 non test playing nations in the world cup because without them the world cup is just the champions trophey with a bigger trophey.

    but the icc should handpick the nations they feel will one day play test cricket,whats the point of entering the world cup if you have no future ever playing test cricket.

  • john boon on January 29, 2008, 10:53 GMT

    I think that people should remember that India and Pakistan didn't just have one bad day, they both lost two of their three games and deserved what they got, an early exit. Now remember, the team that knocked India out, effectively, was Bangladesh They are a fully fledged test member and were beaten by whom, Ireland, which is an associate team. hmmmmmmm. Who deserves their place at the top table more, a semi-professional team who put their heart and soul into the game for no financial reward or a team of multimillionaires who are fully professional?

  • Wayne Lewis on January 29, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    Oh! Certainly this is NOT an attempt to protect the "BIG" teams from their lack of preparation for the World Cup .... I would have thought that after the Associates' performance in the Caribbean in 2007, that the ICC would have been rushing to increase the number of Associate teams.

    It's the upset that makes the World Cup more interesting.

  • Llakhani on January 29, 2008, 10:10 GMT

    I am an investor who has made a lot of money through sports (not betting) and I'd like to say this: whoever has posted comments related to this article (cricket lovers i imagine) - guys stop wasting your time,cricket's on its way to extinction. Mark my words,cricket will cease to exist in another decade or max two.

    This statement comes to you from a person who had to give up cricket because of a serious back injury.I have been over the years through various channels trying to get different countries and communities get involved in cricket,but without support from the authorities,it doesn't matter how much money you put in. As long as people like Speed and Pawar are at the helm of affairs, the game doesn't have the chance to spread to markets like South America, Europe,etc.Look at the way rugby has developed itself which is the way to go.

    I am based in Dubai where the headquarters of the ICC was shifted, since it has tax free zone,while the leadership here has no interest in the game whatsoever.

  • Ben Stinga on January 29, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    To Mike Perera

    I know you meant no disservice to the associate and affiliate countries in your last post but you are quite wrong about the percentage of expatriates that are playing the game in these new markets.

    Of the 30 countries that will be competing in the World Cricket League in 2008/09, only nine could be classed as expatriate based and in fairness to UAE, Germany, Mozambique, Hong Kong and Singapore, they do have strong development programs that are aimed at the broader community. Sure, the ICC could do more but once again, it is the full members that cry foul when "too much" money is directed at associate and affiliate cricket.

    Since I started following non-test nation cricket in 1998, the participation rates and standard of play has improved dramatically. There are now over 300,000 people playing cricket in countries outside of the test nations. I fully expect that if six associate nations are allowed to compete in the 2011 World Cup, you will notice a huge improvement

  • Thomas Thurairatnam on January 29, 2008, 1:46 GMT

    Money seems the issue, isn't it? Whatever the format of the next CWC make it financially not dependent on whether the rich members qualify or not. These were the noises made when the last CWC ended but the ICC seems to have lost that trend of thought. If money is all that matters (and that's how the BCCI operates) cricket, its charms and spirit and its cause will be lost.

  • Mike Perera on January 28, 2008, 23:04 GMT

    Just to clarify the issue of Sri Lanka in 1996, Australia and the West Indies did indeed forfeit their matches in SL due to security reasons. This automatically qualified Sri Lanka for the quarter-finals.

    However, I don't agree with comparing that to Kenya's appearance in the 2003 semis. Sri Lanka were tipped to be the outside winners before the '96 cup started, so it's conceivable that they could have beaten Australia and the West Indies. No one seriously gave Kenya a chance of making it to the final four in '03.

    Part of the problem - a large part of the problem - is that the ICC does not do enough to promote cricket in minnow countries. With no government or public interest, minnow teams will never consist of more than expatriates and part-timers, and minnow cricket will never develop.

    But yes, the minnows seem condemned to a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" mentality that does more to harm cricket than enrich it.

  • Steven Davies-Morris on January 28, 2008, 22:49 GMT

    Hold on. Ireland and Scotland were not populated with Aussie and English grade cricketers. Scotland had 2 Aussies and a Zimbabwean in the squad. The rest were all home-grown Scots, some of whom have English county experience. And those three are all naturalized Scot passport-holders who live, work and have families there. Ditto the 4 Aussies and 1 Seth Effrikan on Ireland's squad, with the balance of the squad of 16 being split between the republic and the northern counties, three of whom had county cricket experience. None of the foreign imports could remotely be considered mercenaries acquired to stiffen the sides, since they'd lived in Ireland/Scotland for going on from 5 to 12 years.

  • Steven Davies-Morris on January 28, 2008, 22:27 GMT

    The ICC Champions Trophy is the tournament that is reserved for the full members. The Cricket World Cup is open to any nation that can qualify. If you don't want to see associates occasionally beating test nations, support the big boys only tournament. The ICC makes it difficult for associate/affiliate teams to get to the CWC. They have to jump through hoops and battle hard to make the cut. And then it is a double-edged sword for them: if they role over and play dead they're not good enough and shouldn't be allowed in (Bermuda), if they have the temerity to play well enough to win they're spoiling the party (Ireland/Bangles). The ICC could fix this by allowing in a few more associates and setting up so there's three associates/minnows + one of the big 8 per group, with 8 groups (24 teams). That way the top dogs will always get through to the knockout "round of 8", even if their on field play doesn't merit it. But then some associate will win through and spoil things again...

  • NN on January 28, 2008, 21:46 GMT

    The number of teams in the WC is not the problem, the problem is the number of games. They play too many games leading to a bloated WC. First round should be Round-robin; 2nd round knockout. Round robin should have 16 teams in 4 groups. Each team play 2 matches against each of the other teams. Top 2 teams in each group qualify for knockout phase. Total number of games is just 31. They could finish this in a month.

    Better yet, have a soccer FA cup-style knockout only World Tournament every year. Cancel all the meaningless other one-day tournaments that international teams play against each other.

  • Ben Stinga on January 28, 2008, 20:21 GMT

    Just a reminder to those who are critics of the associates. This is a "World" Cup not a champions trophy. The associate nations have already been bullied out of the champions trophy.

  • Venkat on January 28, 2008, 19:13 GMT

    Well.. dump ODIs and switch to Twenty20 exclusively for the World Cup. That way, you have have your cake and eat it too.

  • NK on January 28, 2008, 18:50 GMT

    Ben Stinga and Rich B I'm with you on this one. Ben your right the only reason the 2007 cwc was so long was because of the super 8- 2xsuper 4's & Rich B your format is something they should look up to expand more 3x6 and 1x6. ALL qualifiers in 2001 WILL be COMPETITIVE! Thanks to the HPP program along with ODI status and the best of it all the World Cricket League, plus 1st class matches from the Intercontinental helps.

  • NK on January 28, 2008, 18:48 GMT

    Abhishek Thakur really 2 more teams make it a minnow cup but 4 doesn't? what about the fact that 10 other teams are not minnows? Still it make it a minnow cup? World records? hmm all the big boys have the fair chance and world records are set against a worser team be it a full member or associate. On the day the other team was worser in that area than the team that got the world record. As said before associates can play full members outside the world cup but doesn't mean you exclude them from the world cup otherwise full members play each other all the time why not exclude them too? And I'm pretty sure Sri Lanka got awarded couple of games from Australia and West Indies due to not going to Sri lanka on security purposes.

  • NK on January 28, 2008, 18:27 GMT

    vijaykarthick.T there were just as many lopsided games between the associates vs the so called "big boys as there were in big boys vs big boys in 2007. There's always lopsided games in sports. And if you looked into it you would know the ICC is doing a lot to help the associates grow by organizing the Intercontinental cup-1st class, the associates have ODI status and are playing full members as warm-up when they are touring a other full members. But that doesn't mean you exclude them from the WORLD cup. Elite cup which your looking for is the Champions trophy.

    Again Yashodhan same thing as above^. Playing the big boys isn't the value, but beating the big boys in the WORLD cup is. But then again may be the associates should be scared of doing that because the elitist might exclude them for doing so. They already do get a chance to play against them because they have ODI status and do manage to get full members play them but that doesn't mean they don't participate in the World cup.

  • NK on January 28, 2008, 18:16 GMT

    1st Scott, there's not much of a difference from your format than the Champions trophy format-the elitist part is all to same. Cricket doesn't need to stay a sport only for the elites.

    Umair don't blame the ICC for not getting many meaningful games. Maybe if your team had reached beyond the group stage you would have. Or lets see may be the next world cup we should make a format that will for sure make India vs Pakistan the final. Hell just excluded all the other teams. And on the pyramid yes the super 8 needs to be shorter- either super 8 in two groups or quarterfinals or i like the other format 3 groups of 6 and the super 6.

  • Pratik on January 28, 2008, 17:45 GMT

    I find it difficult to understand why the soccer World Cup model cant be followed. 4 groups of 4 teams each means 3 games per team and a total of 40 games in the league stage. Follow that up with quarter finals, semi finals and finals, and you have a total of 47 games. IMHO, super six is a crappy idea, irrespective of whether teams carry forward their points or not.

  • curly on January 28, 2008, 16:27 GMT

    Due to security fears NZ didnt go to Kenya in 2003. Due to security fears Australia and West Indies didnt go to Sri Lanka in 1996.

  • Michael on January 28, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    "Posted by: poor old bowler at January 28, 2008 7:41 AM

    i don't mind Ireland having a team but letting Scotland play in the last world cup was a waste of a position."

    Yeah, like Scotland should have qualified with an easy group! If Scotland were in Ireland's group, they could have went through - I'm sure if Ireland were in Scotland's group they'd equally have no chance.

    Anyway, on the WC format - with 16 teams, all you need to do is have the Super 8s first - two groups of 8 - then have the quarter finals - simple!

  • Abhishek Thakur on January 28, 2008, 13:44 GMT

    Six non test playing teams make the World Cup a Minnow Cup. The number better be restricted to four. For popularising the game, twenty20 is the answer. Also, other initiatives can be taken, like test playing teams visiting the associate countries and playing, lets say, a triangular tournament. Else there is no charm left in the world cup except test batsmen and bowlers helping themselves to new records. ICC seriously needs to devise a good format to bring the charm back to the World Cups which has been declining since the '99 edition. And who said Sri Lanka had won in '96 due to boycotts?? One should brush up their understanding of the game before making such comments.

  • Yashodhan on January 28, 2008, 13:22 GMT

    While not supporting the idea that the game is not going to grow outside its traditional support, the reduction does make sense, especially if it shortens the time for the "main event". The main argument is that while it does give the associates a chance to play against the "big boys", that in itself has no value unless supported by other consistent chances to play and improve. My suggestion would be to have a regional qualifying phase, in which even the test playing countries have to participate. This, I believe, will give the chance to the associate members to play regularly against the test playing countries. Then the World Cup event itself could be played by about 10 teams, in a round robin format like the one followed in the 1992 competition. This World Cup could then by complemented by a larger 20-20 World Cup in which more countries participate, as a 20-20 World Cup is less time consuming (it could even be as many as 32 teams playing in a one month time frame).

  • Rastaman on January 28, 2008, 12:08 GMT

    SHAME ICC. You would penalize the associates and the affiliates just because your money-makers got bundled out of the 2007 WC because they took things for granted. What they lost on the field of play they want to get back via the boardroom. Help the associate and affiliate nations to grow and you will give meaning to your mandate to take cricket to all corners of the globe. Cricket cannot grow or be a truly globl sport if it is only played in out-of-sight areas and then those nations and their cricketers cannot show their skills on the global stage, the World Cup. FIFA 2006 WC comprised 32 teams and was played in a month. Find a better format for the 16 teams that can comfortably play in the ICC WC. The world (cup)is larger than AustralAsia.

  • Rich B on January 28, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    The narrow-minded, profit-minded idiocy of some of cricket's power houses will kill international cricket in the end. No other international sport has this inbred xenophobia which wants to keep the club open only to a select few.

    The World Cup is the only chance the Associates get in 4 years to play against the big boys - the full members have all the in between times to play against each other exhaustively, and goodness knows we're getting seriously bored with all that.

    Every international calendar has lopsided matches, including football's current African Cup of Nations - it's just part of the deal - the chance of an upset is one of the things which makes sports tournaments so great.

    There are other solutions to the format. Splitting the Super 8's into 2x Super 4's would be a start. But 3 groups of 6 going into a Super 6's would be my bet - 60 matches, easily over in 36 days. And all qualifiers for 2011 WILL be competitive.

  • vijaykarthick.T on January 28, 2008, 9:55 GMT

    I wholly agree to the 2011 World Cup organizers that 4 associate nations are more than enough for the next world cup.The evidence was there to be seen from the time-killing and lop-sided 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean. Also with 20/20 gaining popularity among viewers and spectators its all the more important to have quality in the 50-over tournament rather just accommodating more number of associates.

    i sympathize with them but for this situation to improve the game's governing body should have better schedule planned for them and make them play some 3 day or 4 day games and some odi's against the test playing nations. world cup is not the place to experiment as it will only drive audiences away from watching lop-sided matches.so better options would be to make these nations play some one dayers or 3/4 day games against test playing nations or their strong A teams.

  • Ben Stinga on January 28, 2008, 8:43 GMT

    I was reminded today that in the 2007 World Cup, the group stage of the tournament, featuring the 10 full members and the six associates lasted just 12 days. The super eight stage along with the finals meandered along for 34 days. So how can the associates be blamed for the length of the tournament? It seems the critics of the associates will ignore certain facts if it suits their agenda.

  • poor old bowler on January 28, 2008, 7:41 GMT

    i dont mind ireland having a team but letting scotland play in the last world cup was a waste of a position.

    also the posibility of bermuda ever playing test matches is a bit far fetched.

    i would stick with 6 teams maybe increase it to eight teams but rather than qualify i would pick 6-8 teams that might one day play test cricket,ie ireland,namibia,kenya,nepal,netherlands,usa,uae and canada.

    i would also ban the amount of foreign players that can play,whats the point of ireland and scotland being mostly made up by australian and english grade cricketers.

    the icc needs to spend more money on bangladesh,zimbabwe and west indies to improve these nations,i think more money in school cricket and junior cricket aswell as cricket academies.

    the west indies should include bermuda,bahamas,suriname and belize into thier domestic comps.

    and icc should fund school cricket,academies & coaching in ireland,namibia,keyna,usa,canada,nepal,uae,netherlands,uganda so cricket can grow

  • Umair on January 28, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    The problem is format not the number of nations. It is imperative for other nations to play. That is the only way they will be competitive. 2007 world cup schedule was idiotic at best. Almost all the other sporting competitions have a pyramid like schedule ie heavy at the bottom and thins out as we go further in the schedule. From a consumer perspective, if the next world cup has 2007 like schedule, then I am not buying the package. I live in the US and for me it is a pay-per-view event...last time it cost me $250 and I got to see just one meaningful Pakistan game...what a rip off. The future format needs to be round robin until semi-finals, then only I will buy it....ICC are you hearing this !!!!!

  • Peter on January 28, 2008, 2:02 GMT

    Spot on Ben Stinga and curly. Kenya in 2003 still beat three test nations and any tournament of any sport will have some games that are not close, in fact one sided matches between the top 8 test nations are just as common as those with associates, so lets get on with having a truely global tournament. in 2011 the 16th team probably wont be Bermuda and Namibia or UAE will probably be more competative.

  • Scott on January 28, 2008, 0:14 GMT

    I wonder if the people complaining about the length of the 2007 tournament would do so if the games were all (or even mainly) between two strong teams. A great world cup would see every strong contender playing every other strong contender. I would run the world cup like this:

    Stage 1: A round-robin qualifying tournament involving teams 9 and 10 in the ICC rankings and 6 other nations (selected by regional qualifiers simalarly to the football world cup), held in the country of one of the participating teams. The top two teams progress to the full world cup. This would give the developing sides something tangible to play for and could be an evenly-contested tournament.

    Stage 2: World Cup, 10 teams, 1-8 in ICC rankings plus the 2 qualifiers, everyone plays everyone, followed by semi-finals, a final and maybe a 3rd place play-off. This is the format from 1992 (with 1 more team), and I don't recall people complaining that took too long as there were so many good games.

  • Cam Mulla on January 28, 2008, 0:02 GMT

    It would be a shame to disallow certain associate members from playing at the world cup. Think of all the great moments that they have already provided in terms of entertainment in former world cups. John Davison's quick fire century, Ireland's victory over Pakistan.

  • Luke de Costa on January 27, 2008, 23:49 GMT

    I was under the impression that most commentators around the world were appalled by the spectre of greed in cricket? One former English captain and a former West Indian fast bowler, to name just two, spend an extraordinary amount of air time questioning the game's business agenda. Will they remain silent in regard to this matter?

    Or is greed good when it involves the elimination of associate nations from the old guard's private World Cup party?

  • PM on January 27, 2008, 23:02 GMT

    Clearly the World Cup needs to be restructured in a way that ensures that India wins every time.

    Once that happens, the amount of whining and pointless complaining will be reduced by at least 90%.

  • irishman on January 27, 2008, 22:28 GMT

    It makes me sick to think that money is about to stunt the global growth of the game. It has huge potential in poor continents like Africa and Asia, and I am sure that cricket can start to think of resembling football if only the ICC lets six minnows compete in the WC. By trying to eliminate upsets, those stuffy Indian suits are eliminating what makes such global tournaments memorable. Saying that cricket should stay in traditional countries is totally apathetic and against the game. As for tournament improvements in the format section, I agree with NK; let's have two super 8 groups to shorten the whole thing up, but still allows associates to have exposure to cricket's top flight.

  • Ralph on January 27, 2008, 22:16 GMT

    I'm always tickled by the tragi-comedy of it all - the Associates should take part, but should under no account actually win a match.

    In the last two world cups, Kenya, Canada (Davison's blitzes) and Ireland all justified their places, whilst in Dwayne Leverock Bermuda gave us one of the characters of the World Cup. Leverock's wonder-catch entertained me far more than the innumerable `professional' Australian grinds to victory.

  • Mike Perera on January 27, 2008, 20:40 GMT

    As if we NEEDED any more proof that the ICC is more concerned with making a buck than promoting the game....

    The Cricket World Cup will be the only global sports events where countries are actually EXCLUDED.

    If the ICC takes the step of closing the door to Associates in the World Cup, then they (the ICC) should just come out and admit they're not interested in expanding and developing the game.

  • Turlough Kelly on January 27, 2008, 20:36 GMT

    Had to laugh at this excerpt: "However, Cricinfo has learnt that some leading Full Members question the value of that policy" and so on for two paras in an awfully precise elucidation of what's supposedly a general sentiment. It wouldn't happen to be an editorial opinion or a kite with the ECB on the end of it instead?

    I think the biggest threat to the future of the Associate game comes from the insular and chauvinistic attitude of the English professional game, which is doing everything in its power to suppress development in the rest of Europe.

    India and Pakistan are reacting to WC 07; they'll get over it. Ironically, I think the proposed reduction in the number of Associate qualifiers would be no bad thing, as long as it's accompanied by a revision of the qualifying procedure and investment in infrastructure and coaching. Only Kenya, Ireland and two from Namibia, Scotland and the Netherlands are really capable of being competitive on the world stage currently.

  • Luke de Costa on January 27, 2008, 20:09 GMT

    The BCCI and PCB should be ashamed of themselves for this act of greed and narrow mindedness. As pointed out in an earlier post, have they learned nothing from their own struggles to be recognized in the early part of the 20th century?

  • NK on January 27, 2008, 16:54 GMT

    Afzaal Khan CWC should be between just test nations? Um what's your logic in calling it the "Word Cup". There's the champions trophy for that. Also cricket will never grow out of its traditional grounds? What about Afghanistan, Argentina etc? ICC needs to stay strong without giving into Money-India and going against their main motto- promote the game globally. Or they should rename themselves- INDIAN INTERNATIONAL CONTROL (ICC). There's not much wrong with 16 or even more teams playing.

    This a tournament, if you want to go see who's the best site do in on the ICC ODI Championship. And if you are that good, there shouldn't be any room for "one bad day". Plus that wasn't true a team to be kicked out had to lose to game bad day or not.

    If they bring in quarterfinals to make it shorter-HYPOCRITES! How does quarter-finals work? One bad day and you're out. Stick with the 2007 format except the super 8 should be in 2 groups as the T20WC or quarterfinals (which is ok when it expends more).

  • curly on January 27, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    That Sri Lanka's WC triumph was due largely to boycotts is never said, so why is it said of Kenya's efforts?

    The number of teams is not the problem. What kind of dingbat organisation has their world cup format begin with knock-out and then go to a round robin? Four round-robin groups of four (or even five). Top two progress to quarter finals, and from then on if you "have a bad day" as Pakistan and India did in '07, then you are not the World Champion.

  • Andy on January 27, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    First of all it makes little sense to judge the right of a team to play in a 50 over tournament on their assumed inability to play Test cricket, a factor which has been influenced more by historical ties to 'traditional cricketing homelands' than anything else and then try to pass the tournament off as a 'World Cup.' After all its not like these nations 'once had test cricket and were deemed not good enough to play.'

    This attempt to ' make the tournament less prone to early upsets ' smacks of trying to protect certain teams from their own poor performances. If a team turns up to any kind of competition and fails to perform then they should very rightly be knocked out , test status or no test status. If the reward for the efforts of the people trying to make cricket relevant outside its traditional realms is by having even less of them participating in its premier tournament formatted to make it harder for them to succeed than the powers that be, than it already is then why bother?

  • Ben Stinga on January 27, 2008, 14:47 GMT

    Unbelievable! When the Associate nations don't perform they are criticized. When they beat the full members they also criticized.

    The full members, notably India and Pakistan on this occasion, will spin any excuse to prevent these unfashionable newcomers from entering the purple circle. Has the BCCI forgotten it's own cricketing history? Not everybody within the old imperial establishment supported the idea of Test cricket being played by India or for that matter, anyone other than England, Australia and South Africa. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the game of cricket was enriched by the emergence of India, The West Indies and others.

    One would think, in this so called enlightened age, that cultural diversity would be encouraged. Not so, when money is involved it would seem. Meanwhile, rugby union, baseball, soccer, field hockey and basketball continue to expand and prosper while cricket's dinosaurs continue to hold the game back for all the wrong reasons.

  • Afzaal Khan on January 27, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    Well worldcup should be restricted between test playing nations period. If you not good enuff to play test matches you are not good enuff to be in world cup. As for accepting cricket remaining in traditional countries what's wrong with that. It has done cricket good and today most problems with cricket are due to greed and big money involved. How about instead of expanding it better the teams we already have lets fix cricket before we export it everywhere. As for format, I think its two long should have 2 groups each team in each group play 2 matches. at the end of group matches 4 advance to semi where on knockout basis u advance to final simple, cost effective, less time and fair

  • Afzaal Khan on January 27, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    World Cup should be restricted between test playing nations period. If you not good enough to play test matches you are not good enough to be in world cup. As for accepting cricket remaining in traditional countries, what's wrong with that? It has done cricket good and today most problems with cricket are due to greed and big money involved. How about instead of expanding it better the teams we already have lets fix cricket before we export it everywhere.

    As for format, I think its two long should have two groups each team in each group play two matches. At the end of group matches four advance to semi where on knockout basis you advance to final simple, cost effective, less time and fair.

  • David on January 27, 2008, 13:56 GMT

    "Full Members question the value of that policy ... outside its traditional homelands."

    That is a pretty pathetic attitude. Cricket doesn't have to become big in the US or Canada, or even random European countries, but where there has been clear signs of increased interest and support for cricket in country cultures the ICC needs to keep trying.

    Asia is probably the key. Cricket is already the most popular sport there and with places like Afghanistan and Nepal showing huge and quick improvement, as well as China's big goals for cricket, it would be just pointless to accept this attitude (from 'some leading Full Members').

    Anyway on the Cup: the two issues are ODI cricket become less of a draw, and the structure is silly. Follow more successful Cups like the Soccer and Rugby cup where there is a much more knock-out oriented structure. Perhaps it can be a complete knock-out format for 16 teams, but each bracket contains two games rather than one, with a tie decided by better RR.

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  • David on January 27, 2008, 13:56 GMT

    "Full Members question the value of that policy ... outside its traditional homelands."

    That is a pretty pathetic attitude. Cricket doesn't have to become big in the US or Canada, or even random European countries, but where there has been clear signs of increased interest and support for cricket in country cultures the ICC needs to keep trying.

    Asia is probably the key. Cricket is already the most popular sport there and with places like Afghanistan and Nepal showing huge and quick improvement, as well as China's big goals for cricket, it would be just pointless to accept this attitude (from 'some leading Full Members').

    Anyway on the Cup: the two issues are ODI cricket become less of a draw, and the structure is silly. Follow more successful Cups like the Soccer and Rugby cup where there is a much more knock-out oriented structure. Perhaps it can be a complete knock-out format for 16 teams, but each bracket contains two games rather than one, with a tie decided by better RR.

  • Afzaal Khan on January 27, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    World Cup should be restricted between test playing nations period. If you not good enough to play test matches you are not good enough to be in world cup. As for accepting cricket remaining in traditional countries, what's wrong with that? It has done cricket good and today most problems with cricket are due to greed and big money involved. How about instead of expanding it better the teams we already have lets fix cricket before we export it everywhere.

    As for format, I think its two long should have two groups each team in each group play two matches. At the end of group matches four advance to semi where on knockout basis you advance to final simple, cost effective, less time and fair.

  • Afzaal Khan on January 27, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    Well worldcup should be restricted between test playing nations period. If you not good enuff to play test matches you are not good enuff to be in world cup. As for accepting cricket remaining in traditional countries what's wrong with that. It has done cricket good and today most problems with cricket are due to greed and big money involved. How about instead of expanding it better the teams we already have lets fix cricket before we export it everywhere. As for format, I think its two long should have 2 groups each team in each group play 2 matches. at the end of group matches 4 advance to semi where on knockout basis u advance to final simple, cost effective, less time and fair

  • Ben Stinga on January 27, 2008, 14:47 GMT

    Unbelievable! When the Associate nations don't perform they are criticized. When they beat the full members they also criticized.

    The full members, notably India and Pakistan on this occasion, will spin any excuse to prevent these unfashionable newcomers from entering the purple circle. Has the BCCI forgotten it's own cricketing history? Not everybody within the old imperial establishment supported the idea of Test cricket being played by India or for that matter, anyone other than England, Australia and South Africa. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the game of cricket was enriched by the emergence of India, The West Indies and others.

    One would think, in this so called enlightened age, that cultural diversity would be encouraged. Not so, when money is involved it would seem. Meanwhile, rugby union, baseball, soccer, field hockey and basketball continue to expand and prosper while cricket's dinosaurs continue to hold the game back for all the wrong reasons.

  • Andy on January 27, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    First of all it makes little sense to judge the right of a team to play in a 50 over tournament on their assumed inability to play Test cricket, a factor which has been influenced more by historical ties to 'traditional cricketing homelands' than anything else and then try to pass the tournament off as a 'World Cup.' After all its not like these nations 'once had test cricket and were deemed not good enough to play.'

    This attempt to ' make the tournament less prone to early upsets ' smacks of trying to protect certain teams from their own poor performances. If a team turns up to any kind of competition and fails to perform then they should very rightly be knocked out , test status or no test status. If the reward for the efforts of the people trying to make cricket relevant outside its traditional realms is by having even less of them participating in its premier tournament formatted to make it harder for them to succeed than the powers that be, than it already is then why bother?

  • curly on January 27, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    That Sri Lanka's WC triumph was due largely to boycotts is never said, so why is it said of Kenya's efforts?

    The number of teams is not the problem. What kind of dingbat organisation has their world cup format begin with knock-out and then go to a round robin? Four round-robin groups of four (or even five). Top two progress to quarter finals, and from then on if you "have a bad day" as Pakistan and India did in '07, then you are not the World Champion.

  • NK on January 27, 2008, 16:54 GMT

    Afzaal Khan CWC should be between just test nations? Um what's your logic in calling it the "Word Cup". There's the champions trophy for that. Also cricket will never grow out of its traditional grounds? What about Afghanistan, Argentina etc? ICC needs to stay strong without giving into Money-India and going against their main motto- promote the game globally. Or they should rename themselves- INDIAN INTERNATIONAL CONTROL (ICC). There's not much wrong with 16 or even more teams playing.

    This a tournament, if you want to go see who's the best site do in on the ICC ODI Championship. And if you are that good, there shouldn't be any room for "one bad day". Plus that wasn't true a team to be kicked out had to lose to game bad day or not.

    If they bring in quarterfinals to make it shorter-HYPOCRITES! How does quarter-finals work? One bad day and you're out. Stick with the 2007 format except the super 8 should be in 2 groups as the T20WC or quarterfinals (which is ok when it expends more).

  • Luke de Costa on January 27, 2008, 20:09 GMT

    The BCCI and PCB should be ashamed of themselves for this act of greed and narrow mindedness. As pointed out in an earlier post, have they learned nothing from their own struggles to be recognized in the early part of the 20th century?

  • Turlough Kelly on January 27, 2008, 20:36 GMT

    Had to laugh at this excerpt: "However, Cricinfo has learnt that some leading Full Members question the value of that policy" and so on for two paras in an awfully precise elucidation of what's supposedly a general sentiment. It wouldn't happen to be an editorial opinion or a kite with the ECB on the end of it instead?

    I think the biggest threat to the future of the Associate game comes from the insular and chauvinistic attitude of the English professional game, which is doing everything in its power to suppress development in the rest of Europe.

    India and Pakistan are reacting to WC 07; they'll get over it. Ironically, I think the proposed reduction in the number of Associate qualifiers would be no bad thing, as long as it's accompanied by a revision of the qualifying procedure and investment in infrastructure and coaching. Only Kenya, Ireland and two from Namibia, Scotland and the Netherlands are really capable of being competitive on the world stage currently.

  • Mike Perera on January 27, 2008, 20:40 GMT

    As if we NEEDED any more proof that the ICC is more concerned with making a buck than promoting the game....

    The Cricket World Cup will be the only global sports events where countries are actually EXCLUDED.

    If the ICC takes the step of closing the door to Associates in the World Cup, then they (the ICC) should just come out and admit they're not interested in expanding and developing the game.