Associates February 21, 2008

Associates bear the brunt of World Cup decision

As revealed by Cricinfo last month , the 2011 World Cup will be shortened and the main victims of the change will be the Associate countries who will have their numbers cut from six to four .
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As revealed by Cricinfo last month, the 2011 World Cup will be shortened and the main victims of the change will be the Associate countries who will have their numbers cut from six to four.

"It is a move we both feared and expected and it's not great news for the Associates," Warren Deutrom, the chief executive of the Irish Cricket Union, told Cricinfo. "Neither is it a great vote of confidence in the ICC's own High Performance Programme.

Click here to tell us what you think of this? Is it the start of the gradual elimination of smaller countries from the World Cup or a necessary and welcome move?

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

  • jason williams on May 13, 2008, 14:58 GMT

    Think it is in just to allow only four associates to participate in the world cup. After all it is the most global tournament in the sport and I think that is how it should be treated it does not make sense. I truly hope the ICC would reconsider for the sake of cricket development

  • Daniel Smith on February 29, 2008, 14:04 GMT

    The problem with the last world cup wasn't the initial group stages it was the dreary Super Eights. It should be 4 groups of 4, with the top two of each group going into the knock-out phase. It's a cup competition not a league.

    The only problem with doing what is done in the Rugby and Football versions of a world cup is the reduction in the number of games. Something I guess the ICC don't like because it would mean less money.

  • ajaya on February 27, 2008, 20:01 GMT

    Most associate cricketers are semi-pros at best, people who frequently take time off from their regular jobs to play cricket. Associate boards are cash-strapped and cant afford to pay everyone Recently, the some teams have had to field XIs missing first choice players because they couldn't take time off from their regular jobs.

    This situation can only change through continued exposure at the highest level, making it attractive for businesses to support the game As for the qualification process, no, its not just one tournament. There was a 3-tier process for the last WC and a five-tier process planned for the upcoming one. teams who played consistently over a period of 1 to 1 1/2 years got in.

  • Marcus on February 26, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    Well, at least this time they are going to have a proper quarter-final series this time, instead of the bloated Super 6/8 phase. If they were to play 6 associate countries, then I think they certainly need to have a better basis of selecting them based on one tournament, which I think is how they decided it last time (correct me if I'm wrong). The six teams chosen should be based on the consistency of their performances over the four years in between World Cups.

    Ajaya, as to who would play the associates- well, they already play each other in the Intercontinental Cup. Namibia played in South African domestic cricket (not sure of they still do). Likewise Scotland and Ireland in England. Bermuda could easily do the same thing in the West Indian KFC cup. Then there's the MCC. In short, I think they need to play sustained cricket at high-standard domestic level in order to raise their standards and put in more consistent performances during the World Cup.

  • NK on February 25, 2008, 23:59 GMT

    Marcus, theres going to be more or about the same amount of one side games in a group of seven with associates than or as a group of 4 with associates. It's just that the super 8 either cut into two groups or quarterfinals...Money is important for the game but money shouldn't take over the game otherwise we should just listen to w/e India says.

  • ajaya on February 25, 2008, 16:34 GMT

    I'm tired of 'I'm all about the expansion but World Cup should only have the best teams argument'.

    People who voice this sentiment are either ignorant of the financial realities of cricketers outside the test countries, or if they know the truth, they are hypocrites. Non-test countries all suffer from the exact same problem: lack of funds due to lack of exposure of the sport. And what better exposure can there be than to play in a world cup?

    And please don't tell me they should play more cricket before coming to the world stage. Who exactly is going to pay these associate players the compensation due? Without participation in the world cup, associate boards lose what little income they have.

    And btw, if another associate nation manages to knock out another test country this time around, will associate representation be cut to two teams?

  • john boon on February 25, 2008, 1:53 GMT

    The real issue with the last World Cup was the bloated Super 8s stage and nothing else. Should be a straight four groups of four followed by knockout, like all good sports events.

  • Marcus on February 23, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    I'd like to see cricket grow just as much as anyone else, but I think that this is quite a good move. In all honesty, only Kenya and Ireland really looked- well, worthy- of being in the World Cup. I think that it's important for countries to get exposure to better-quality cricket, but I don't see how getting regular humiliations on the world stage is going to help. So just keeping it to four teams taking part in the world cup will reduce the number of one-sided contests, and give each of the associate countries more matches. Meanwhile, the other nations can build up their standards by playing touring sides (eg the MCC in Argentina), A-teams and the Intercontinental Cup.

  • Nk on February 22, 2008, 23:33 GMT

    Srinivas we already have a tournament like that the World Cricket League. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't play in the world cup. other wise the test countries get exposure too, why are they in the World Cup? because we need them in it to be a world cup just like we need the associates. Shorter tournament is need but shorter tournament doesn't mean less teams you can have a short tournament with even more teams. India and Pakistan ONLY care about money which is where the problem lies.

  • cricketblues on February 22, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    There is already a 'mini world cup' for the associates. Last time it was for 12 teams and the top 6 went to the World Cup. I believe it happens again next year. Although it is hard to tell thanks to the disaster that is the ICC website. Teams do not get exposure as a result! Who really knows about that tournament although it has happened for virtually each World Cup?

    Exposure only comes from actually getting to the World Cup. That is why it is so important to an associate to get there and why two less means two sides consigned to slip away for six years. The two prior to the World Cup they haven't reached and the four years beyond that to the next one.

  • jason williams on May 13, 2008, 14:58 GMT

    Think it is in just to allow only four associates to participate in the world cup. After all it is the most global tournament in the sport and I think that is how it should be treated it does not make sense. I truly hope the ICC would reconsider for the sake of cricket development

  • Daniel Smith on February 29, 2008, 14:04 GMT

    The problem with the last world cup wasn't the initial group stages it was the dreary Super Eights. It should be 4 groups of 4, with the top two of each group going into the knock-out phase. It's a cup competition not a league.

    The only problem with doing what is done in the Rugby and Football versions of a world cup is the reduction in the number of games. Something I guess the ICC don't like because it would mean less money.

  • ajaya on February 27, 2008, 20:01 GMT

    Most associate cricketers are semi-pros at best, people who frequently take time off from their regular jobs to play cricket. Associate boards are cash-strapped and cant afford to pay everyone Recently, the some teams have had to field XIs missing first choice players because they couldn't take time off from their regular jobs.

    This situation can only change through continued exposure at the highest level, making it attractive for businesses to support the game As for the qualification process, no, its not just one tournament. There was a 3-tier process for the last WC and a five-tier process planned for the upcoming one. teams who played consistently over a period of 1 to 1 1/2 years got in.

  • Marcus on February 26, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    Well, at least this time they are going to have a proper quarter-final series this time, instead of the bloated Super 6/8 phase. If they were to play 6 associate countries, then I think they certainly need to have a better basis of selecting them based on one tournament, which I think is how they decided it last time (correct me if I'm wrong). The six teams chosen should be based on the consistency of their performances over the four years in between World Cups.

    Ajaya, as to who would play the associates- well, they already play each other in the Intercontinental Cup. Namibia played in South African domestic cricket (not sure of they still do). Likewise Scotland and Ireland in England. Bermuda could easily do the same thing in the West Indian KFC cup. Then there's the MCC. In short, I think they need to play sustained cricket at high-standard domestic level in order to raise their standards and put in more consistent performances during the World Cup.

  • NK on February 25, 2008, 23:59 GMT

    Marcus, theres going to be more or about the same amount of one side games in a group of seven with associates than or as a group of 4 with associates. It's just that the super 8 either cut into two groups or quarterfinals...Money is important for the game but money shouldn't take over the game otherwise we should just listen to w/e India says.

  • ajaya on February 25, 2008, 16:34 GMT

    I'm tired of 'I'm all about the expansion but World Cup should only have the best teams argument'.

    People who voice this sentiment are either ignorant of the financial realities of cricketers outside the test countries, or if they know the truth, they are hypocrites. Non-test countries all suffer from the exact same problem: lack of funds due to lack of exposure of the sport. And what better exposure can there be than to play in a world cup?

    And please don't tell me they should play more cricket before coming to the world stage. Who exactly is going to pay these associate players the compensation due? Without participation in the world cup, associate boards lose what little income they have.

    And btw, if another associate nation manages to knock out another test country this time around, will associate representation be cut to two teams?

  • john boon on February 25, 2008, 1:53 GMT

    The real issue with the last World Cup was the bloated Super 8s stage and nothing else. Should be a straight four groups of four followed by knockout, like all good sports events.

  • Marcus on February 23, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    I'd like to see cricket grow just as much as anyone else, but I think that this is quite a good move. In all honesty, only Kenya and Ireland really looked- well, worthy- of being in the World Cup. I think that it's important for countries to get exposure to better-quality cricket, but I don't see how getting regular humiliations on the world stage is going to help. So just keeping it to four teams taking part in the world cup will reduce the number of one-sided contests, and give each of the associate countries more matches. Meanwhile, the other nations can build up their standards by playing touring sides (eg the MCC in Argentina), A-teams and the Intercontinental Cup.

  • Nk on February 22, 2008, 23:33 GMT

    Srinivas we already have a tournament like that the World Cricket League. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't play in the world cup. other wise the test countries get exposure too, why are they in the World Cup? because we need them in it to be a world cup just like we need the associates. Shorter tournament is need but shorter tournament doesn't mean less teams you can have a short tournament with even more teams. India and Pakistan ONLY care about money which is where the problem lies.

  • cricketblues on February 22, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    There is already a 'mini world cup' for the associates. Last time it was for 12 teams and the top 6 went to the World Cup. I believe it happens again next year. Although it is hard to tell thanks to the disaster that is the ICC website. Teams do not get exposure as a result! Who really knows about that tournament although it has happened for virtually each World Cup?

    Exposure only comes from actually getting to the World Cup. That is why it is so important to an associate to get there and why two less means two sides consigned to slip away for six years. The two prior to the World Cup they haven't reached and the four years beyond that to the next one.

  • Srinivas on February 22, 2008, 13:52 GMT

    For development of cricket in the associate nations, there should be a mini world cup among the top 8 associate countries. 4 of them can play in the regular world cup. That way they get exposure but at the same time we have some amount of control over one sided affairs when a minnow meets a giant. The other 4 can each have 1 game with a test playing nation in the form of a practice match, before the world cup starts, that way all are kept in the loop

  • Ujjwal on February 22, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    Sad news for those who want to see cricket grow. I believe the World Cup should be shorter but then leaving out the countries where ICC wants cricket to develop is by no means a fair decision.

    For me too, four groups of four teams with top two teams qualifying for the quarterfinals looks a nice format. (or if the money-minded people at ICC wants India and Pakistan to reach higher, let them play the final direct!)

  • Herman De Wael on February 22, 2008, 8:01 GMT

    Has anyone given a thought to the fact that a round-robin of 8 teams takes just as much time as one of seven teams? You need 7 rounds for either. So if they believe the tournament would be better with 2 groups of seven teams, why not make it two groups of eight?

  • curly on February 22, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    Disgraceful. and typical. The Associates are being punished for the failings of India and Pakistan and of the recent tournament formats. They are being punished for not knowing they were welcome to play, but not to win.

    As the Stupid-Six stage is gone, why did the ICC not go with four groups of four, leading to QFs? Afraid India STILL might fail? Perhaps we can just advance India and Pakistan to the semi-final stage?

  • Kaiser on February 21, 2008, 19:04 GMT

    Ridiculous! ICC is intentionally axing the chances of growing cricket in the Associate countries. They should have worked out a better format with 16 teams, not reduce them to lessen number of days or should I say avoid upsets.

    I wish India and Pakistan lose again in the next world cup and get knocked out by Associates. If you are not good enough to compete associates then you deserve to lose, simple as that.

  • Laksh... on February 21, 2008, 15:56 GMT

    It will be a disaster for World Cricket... Does ICC mean that there should never be an upset? If there are upsets in 2011 WC trust me this way they will reduce the teams from 14 to 10 for 2015 Wc... Come on guys upset is not the mistake of minnows but it is of the giants who have given them a chance to be beaten... Try to encourage them for their development even after such limited funds... THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE APPROVING...

  • Rich B on February 21, 2008, 15:00 GMT

    This is ridiculous, but not unexpected. The Associates are being used as a scapegoat for other inadequacies of the last World Cup.

    What I want to know is what is going to be done to make up for this decision. At the very least there needs to be more Associate funding, more matches against test nations at other times, and an increase in the number of teams at World Twenty20 events.

    btw the best World Cup format would be 3 groups of 6 (or even 3 groups of 5), followed by a knockout stage.

  • cricketblues on February 21, 2008, 14:21 GMT

    This will be a disaster for some unlucky associate. Reducing the 'smaller' teams from 6 to 4 is a retrograde message to the associate countries. The implied message is don't dare beat us or we will reduce your participation.

    Paradoxically if there is also a criticism of one-sided matches this format will have each of the 4 smaller teams playing at least 6 games. Before it was 6 teams playing at least 3 games each.

    Kenya, I believe, is now in the mix to qualify. So it is quite possible for someone like Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands not to qualify next time or for someone like Namibia to be left out again.

    The ICC underestimate the incentive this tournament gives the associates. This is the only time they get serious media coverage and their development and funding is completely dependent on the 4 year cycle.

    So cricket will go down the pan somewhere in the World after next year's World Cup qualifiers.

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  • cricketblues on February 21, 2008, 14:21 GMT

    This will be a disaster for some unlucky associate. Reducing the 'smaller' teams from 6 to 4 is a retrograde message to the associate countries. The implied message is don't dare beat us or we will reduce your participation.

    Paradoxically if there is also a criticism of one-sided matches this format will have each of the 4 smaller teams playing at least 6 games. Before it was 6 teams playing at least 3 games each.

    Kenya, I believe, is now in the mix to qualify. So it is quite possible for someone like Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands not to qualify next time or for someone like Namibia to be left out again.

    The ICC underestimate the incentive this tournament gives the associates. This is the only time they get serious media coverage and their development and funding is completely dependent on the 4 year cycle.

    So cricket will go down the pan somewhere in the World after next year's World Cup qualifiers.

  • Rich B on February 21, 2008, 15:00 GMT

    This is ridiculous, but not unexpected. The Associates are being used as a scapegoat for other inadequacies of the last World Cup.

    What I want to know is what is going to be done to make up for this decision. At the very least there needs to be more Associate funding, more matches against test nations at other times, and an increase in the number of teams at World Twenty20 events.

    btw the best World Cup format would be 3 groups of 6 (or even 3 groups of 5), followed by a knockout stage.

  • Laksh... on February 21, 2008, 15:56 GMT

    It will be a disaster for World Cricket... Does ICC mean that there should never be an upset? If there are upsets in 2011 WC trust me this way they will reduce the teams from 14 to 10 for 2015 Wc... Come on guys upset is not the mistake of minnows but it is of the giants who have given them a chance to be beaten... Try to encourage them for their development even after such limited funds... THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE APPROVING...

  • Kaiser on February 21, 2008, 19:04 GMT

    Ridiculous! ICC is intentionally axing the chances of growing cricket in the Associate countries. They should have worked out a better format with 16 teams, not reduce them to lessen number of days or should I say avoid upsets.

    I wish India and Pakistan lose again in the next world cup and get knocked out by Associates. If you are not good enough to compete associates then you deserve to lose, simple as that.

  • curly on February 22, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    Disgraceful. and typical. The Associates are being punished for the failings of India and Pakistan and of the recent tournament formats. They are being punished for not knowing they were welcome to play, but not to win.

    As the Stupid-Six stage is gone, why did the ICC not go with four groups of four, leading to QFs? Afraid India STILL might fail? Perhaps we can just advance India and Pakistan to the semi-final stage?

  • Herman De Wael on February 22, 2008, 8:01 GMT

    Has anyone given a thought to the fact that a round-robin of 8 teams takes just as much time as one of seven teams? You need 7 rounds for either. So if they believe the tournament would be better with 2 groups of seven teams, why not make it two groups of eight?

  • Ujjwal on February 22, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    Sad news for those who want to see cricket grow. I believe the World Cup should be shorter but then leaving out the countries where ICC wants cricket to develop is by no means a fair decision.

    For me too, four groups of four teams with top two teams qualifying for the quarterfinals looks a nice format. (or if the money-minded people at ICC wants India and Pakistan to reach higher, let them play the final direct!)

  • Srinivas on February 22, 2008, 13:52 GMT

    For development of cricket in the associate nations, there should be a mini world cup among the top 8 associate countries. 4 of them can play in the regular world cup. That way they get exposure but at the same time we have some amount of control over one sided affairs when a minnow meets a giant. The other 4 can each have 1 game with a test playing nation in the form of a practice match, before the world cup starts, that way all are kept in the loop

  • cricketblues on February 22, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    There is already a 'mini world cup' for the associates. Last time it was for 12 teams and the top 6 went to the World Cup. I believe it happens again next year. Although it is hard to tell thanks to the disaster that is the ICC website. Teams do not get exposure as a result! Who really knows about that tournament although it has happened for virtually each World Cup?

    Exposure only comes from actually getting to the World Cup. That is why it is so important to an associate to get there and why two less means two sides consigned to slip away for six years. The two prior to the World Cup they haven't reached and the four years beyond that to the next one.

  • Nk on February 22, 2008, 23:33 GMT

    Srinivas we already have a tournament like that the World Cricket League. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't play in the world cup. other wise the test countries get exposure too, why are they in the World Cup? because we need them in it to be a world cup just like we need the associates. Shorter tournament is need but shorter tournament doesn't mean less teams you can have a short tournament with even more teams. India and Pakistan ONLY care about money which is where the problem lies.