March 18, 2008

World Cup

Associates' World Cup plans scuppered

Martin Williamson

Cricinfo has learned that attempts to broker a compromise over plans to reduce the number of Associate countries at the 2011 World Cup by introducing an eight-team pre-qualifier were scuppered by the host countries, led by India.

India were the driving force behind the initial proposal to cut the number of Associates at the tournament from six to four and a restructuring of the competition format, a move ostensibly to counter criticism that the 2007 event was too bloated. But this was strongly opposed by leading Associates who argued that it was against the ICC policy of spreading the game globally.

At the ICC executives meeting in Kuala Lumpar last month, some Full Member countries singled out the performance of Bermuda at the 2007 World Cup as an example of how there was not, in their opinion, the strength in depth to support the inclusion of six Associates. One senior administrator countered by pointing out that there were also many poor performances by senior countries such as England and West Indies leading to many equally one-sided and meaningless matches.

Seven alternative proposals were put forward and this was narrowed down to two – the publicised 14-team format and an alternative tabled by the Associates which was a 16-team format. The latter would have meant that the six leading associates plus Bangladesh and Zimbabwe would have played in a first-round qualifier before the tournament proper, with the top four progressing into a 12-team event. That would, so they argued, have led to a more meaningful cricket for the Associates as well as a shorter and more competitive World Cup.

The plan was well received by a few Full Members, but when it came to a vote the proposal was rejected. It is believed that the Indian representatives lobbied hard to have anything other than the 14-team plan put forward by the BCCI turned down.

It is now expected that the 14-team format will be rubber stamped when the ICC board meets in Dubai next weekend.

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

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Posted by jahid on (March 23, 2008, 17:28 GMT)

India is really scared of knocking out again in next world cup. they were kicked ridiculously by youth of Bangladesh and their world cup hope became bad dream. they were screaming very very loudly as champion, their attitude was horrible, their behavior was stupid, they had no sense, etc etc etc. they got the best beating as they lose to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. their shout turned as cry...lol. they were slapped hard and got serious shame. now, why m i attacking India???? its because reducing of teams in the world cup is India's plan. they forced ICC to reduce teams and change the world cup format as they were knocked out from the 1st round in previous world cup. as, India is a cricket economy ICC is bound to hear what India says. so, they changed world cup format..... jahid ...

Posted by fromefrog on (March 20, 2008, 12:15 GMT)

CF there is no chance at this moment (or for the forseeable future) of any of the Assoicate Nations emulating the Argentinian Rugby Team & reaching the buisness end of a CWC the whole structure of the sport is weighted against them.

Posted by fromefrog on (March 20, 2008, 12:08 GMT)

Mike Perera - No its not a practical solution, but i fear it may turn out to be the only one available. its the signals this sends out that alarm me the most. the LOCAL ORGANISING COMMITTEE has decided how the most important event in the sport is handled, not the ICC.i can't think of any other world governing body that would allow this to happen.i think this will be the 7th different format in 10 events,can't we just pick one & stick to it.if the 4 qualifiers have a bad time in 2011 will Aus/NZ only want 2 for 2015. you would think they'd be able to argue that if the CWC2011OC can decide to cut numbers then so should they. it wouldn't be so bad if for example only the semifinalists for the previous tournament were exempt from qualifying,but giving 10 nations(out of 14) "a free pass" is to many, Zimbabwe in particular (we'll leave politics aside for a moment) don't warrant that privilege.

Posted by NK on (March 18, 2008, 22:08 GMT)

Satyajit, it is about the BCCI and they are the real issue. Basically using their powers to get what they want. The ICC had plans to have 16 associates in the 2011 CW but now because of the BCCI it's a different story. Plus if you didn't know, there are over 87 nations outside the test nations that play cricket and over 30 or more outside the test nations play in the world cricket league and most of them are not filled with expats. And it's not about Holland and Bermuda, hell they might not have made it the next time anyway. But that's not the point. The ICC had a decent program for the associates but now have to back down from it because of the BCCI. By 2011 some of them positive result where going to come but they aren't even giving it a chance anymore because of the Indian cricket club(icc)

Posted by Mike Perera on (March 18, 2008, 21:58 GMT)

This may not be a practical suggestion, but seeing as how the BCCI don't really care about expanding the game and the ICC don't seem to eager about it, maybe the Associates should just boycott the World Cup. I realize this could well kill cricket in their respective countries, but it would send a very clear message to the ICC. The PR damage - countries refusing to join the world's biggest cricket party - would be huge. It might appease some of the businessmen in the short term, but good luck with trying to buy into lucrative markets such as China or the United States. An Associate boycott would force the ICC to choose between real, sincere expansion of the game, and remaining on the BCCI's good side.

Posted by Navin Singh on (March 18, 2008, 14:19 GMT)

The ICC wants to encourage more nations playing cricket,yet they are decreasing the number of smaller teams participating in major tournaments [ICC trophy] and now in the world cup. How about if FIFA decreases the number of teams in the football world cup countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand [rest of recognised cricket countries now finding their feet in football] feel about this.I guess the same way as Holland, Namibia, Scotland, Denmark etc.

Posted by Ali on (March 18, 2008, 13:53 GMT)

Almost all the comments posted here are better alternatives to the one proposed by the BCCI? Hard to believe that they can actually be that silly, It would be a shame if a round robin of 14 teams is put in place to decide the quarter finalists as that would mean 42 useless matches as the quarter-finalists would already have been decided (more than likely the top 8 test playing nations). The best way i see it is 3 groups of 5 teams and the top 2 going on to super 6's, minnows get their exposure and makes for a healthy second round and few boring matches.

Posted by richard on (March 18, 2008, 9:59 GMT)

I wish the ICC would stop messing with the format..

1. Stick to 16 teams, if they aren't all 100% competitive now, give them a chance and they soon will; 2. 4 Groups thru to quaters or 4 Groups to 2 groups of 4 into semis; 3. World Cups are about a winner going through undefeated or with maybe 1 loss. That's what makes sports so great that on a given day a true champion can rise above the pressure; 3. There is nothing super about the Super 6s or 8s, especially with only one game a day they should be scrapped forever.

Posted by Satyajit on (March 18, 2008, 8:50 GMT)

Forget about BCCI. Talk about the actual issue. If you want to have a competitive world cup, there is a need to reduce number of participants at the moment. 12 or 14 is a better number as a tleast two of the weakest teams (like Bermuda and Holland) will be out. It's ridiculous to compare it to soccer and talk about 32 teams competing. You know how difficult it is to get into soccer WC even after that. How many countries in world play international level cricket? Not even 15. If you have cricket WC with 16 teams then few of them are not upto the level. To have an associate WC is a welcome idea but please don't include all of them in the real WC. If you take this little further to tests, you know what Bangladesh is doing after many years of test status. The associates may improve but that would take time (and more involvement of people from those countries), until then don't expect to have all of them in WC.

Posted by David Wijekoon-Perera on (March 18, 2008, 6:14 GMT)

If the game is to move forward, the associates need a lot more exposure. As an example, when the ICC was reformed as an international body in 1965, Fiji and the United States were granted status before Sri Lanka, who had a more deserving case. Where are the Fiji and the USA today? Frankly, the BCCI are abrogating their responsibilities and the game is suffering in the region. I agree with Klaas van Noortwijk and the comments he made. The BCCI have become bloated by their own ego and acting in a selfish, tyrannical manner, forgetting the smaller nations that help make up the ICC. It is time they realised it is not all about India, but those who support the game. The IPL explains the BCCI behaviour by banning players playing for the ICL. There are two Irish players in the ICL and what will happen when included in a game against India? It is time India learned from their own growth pains and create a harmonious atmosphere for all countries that make up the ICC family.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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