October 13, 2010

World Cup

Don't jump to conclusions about Associates ... for now

Martin Williamson

News that the ICC has approved a reduction in the number of teams at the 50-over World Cup and an enlarged World Twenty20 event has caused a predictable storm of protest from some quarters.

But the ICC has been vague about what a ten-country World Cup this means. It has not ruled out Associates taking part but as that would mean a qualifying event, it seems unlikely. But for now, we can only wait.

As some kind of sweetner, the World Twenty20 event will be expanded to 16 teams from the 2012 tournament. The success of smaller nations like Netherlands and Afghanistan in Twenty20 cricket prompted the expansion of the tournament, which will continue to have the women's event played alongside it.

What most people agree on is that the current World Cup is overly bloated. But will the ICC be forced by its more powerful members to ditch the concept that the tournament is genuinely open to all and just ensure the cosy club run by the Full Members becomes even cosier?

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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 Meety on (November 1, 2010, 6:00 GMT)

@andrew murgatroyd - agreed except I would allow Test nations under the conditions they are U21s or players with no International experience. The format @ the Olympics would have to be T20. If T20 was admitted to the Olympics, I would do away with the T20 World Cup. The best format for deciding a World Champion is 50/50 ODIs (my opinion). Whilst I like the idea of a Test Championship - I think it is too impractical. I would rather see a Boxing style of Title defence. Supposing India currently had the "Championship Belt", they would be putting it up for grabs when they go to Sth Africa. Should Sth Africa win the series - they are the Test Champions. This means every time the Champs play they have a title to defend.

Posted by Meety on (November 1, 2010, 5:34 GMT)

@andrew murgatroyd - agreed except I would allow Test nations under the conditions they are U21s or players with no International experience. The format @ the Olympics would have to be T20. If T20 was admitted to the Olympics, I would do away with the T20 World Cup. The best format for deciding a World Champion is 50/50 ODIs (my opinion). Whilst I like the idea of a Test Championship - I think it is too impractical. I would rather see a Boxing style of Title defence. Supposing India currently had the "Championship Belt", they would be putting it up for grabs when they go to Sth Africa. Should Sth Africa win the series - they are the Test Champions. This means every time the Champs play they have a title to defend.

Posted by Christian on (October 31, 2010, 11:41 GMT)

Well I'm hoping they stay in, they cause the odd upset, they provide flair ( Bermuda took some great catches ), they have more young kids in their national teams that need the experience, but they seem to enjoy the "game" after all it is just that, and that is why we started playing as a kid "for fun"....there is some great talent we would never see, because there teams aren't strong enough.....Tikolo, Odoyo, Zuiderant, Ten Doeschte, Schiferli, Burger's. And if England returned the likes of Blain and Joyce & Morgan for events where their countries actually played...they'd be stronger again ( they want to play cricket professionally, they can't do it in Ireland, but let the play for Ireland when those chances come up ) Besides, considering how quickly they are improving, do you really think it too long before Pakistan, Bangladesh, West Indies and even New Zealand....start to get seriously challenged by these "associates"

Posted by Rich B on (October 20, 2010, 14:48 GMT)

It's all about TV revenue. The rationale behind the 2003 & 2007 World Cup formats was to have big groups so the big nations could have as many games against each other as possible, hence more high profile matches to sell to broadcasters. The trouble is, it didn't work in 2007 because not all the expected 8 made it through to the Super 8s big group.

The trouble is, it just doesn't work as a spectacle that people actually want to watch, because there are too many meaningless (dead rubber) and low intensity (ok if we lose this cos we only have to finish 4th to get through) matches.

The excitement in the Netherlands / England / Pakistan group at the World t20 last year was nothing to do with the t20 format but the tournament format. After Ned beat Eng, Eng HAD to beat Pak, who then HAD to beat Ned. You could subsitute Netherlands with Australia or India and the level of excitement and intensity would have been just the same, which is why decent Associates do add value to tournaments.

Posted by karim on (October 20, 2010, 7:06 GMT)

jashan your love for the associates won't last when one of them kick india out from a world cup.

Posted by andrew murgatroyd on (October 17, 2010, 15:33 GMT)

All the more reason to get cricket played at the Olympics, minus the Test nations.

Posted by It's Not a World Cup Without Qualifiers on (October 17, 2010, 12:14 GMT)

If the ICC "ditches the concept that the tournament is genuinely open", then it ceases to be a 'world cup'. The concept of the world cup - in any sport - is that any nation that plays that sport internationally has the opportunity to display their ability and win the cup. If that is not the case, then the 50-over 'world cup' is just another multi-team event, like the ICC Champions' Trophy. Further, it is not true that Associate level nations have not 'had an impact' on world cup tournaments. Who could forget Ireland eliminating Pakistan, a genuine contender, in 2007? Others might remember Kenya's shock wins over the West Indies in 1996, and Sri Lanka in 2003 - in both cases, the opponents' world cup campaigns lost momentum after having been frontrunners early on in the tournament. That is what sets the 50-Over World Cup aside from other multi-team tournaments; and that is what we would be missing without the Associates.

Posted by Jashan(India) on (October 17, 2010, 5:49 GMT)

I hope there would be a 8 Nation qualification with top 6 Associate's and bottom 2 test teams playing and top 2 qualifying. It shud be a round robin with all teams playing other 7 and not broken into pool's of 2. That will give enough playing to all and the best 2 qualify. Under present ranking the 8 teams would look like Zim, BD, Ire, Neth, Afg, Scot, Can & Ken. If they play looks like it would be Zimbabwe along with Ireland or Afghanistan that will qualify. That way an interesting world cup, everybody gets to play a lot and the best qualify.

This tournament should be held just before the CWC 2015 and that too in Aus, NZ so that everybody notices, wath & Follow this tournament. The good associate performances will be noted. Would love to see Bd loosing to other associates :)

Posted by Aussie Jim on (October 16, 2010, 14:44 GMT)

Why don't the ICC look at making cricket more merit based. The top 6 nations play home and away for the test championship, the next six play and so on. Promotion and relegation are mandatory between division 1 and 2, and down through the Intercontinental Cup. It might stop any dodginess from the likes of Pakistan if they are faced with relegation.

To make 20/20 significantly different to ODI cricket, why don't we look at splitting up the West Indies as well as England and Wales. Trinidad & tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados and Wales as well as the 9 test playing nations and top two associates (including any other West Indian nation who may qualify) would make beef up the numbers with "traditional" cricket playing nations and make for matches of quality and unpredictability. Any Associate who qualified would also surely earn it.

Cricket has too many predictable results and too many surprises that turn out to be dodgy.

Posted by Peter Jeavons on (October 15, 2010, 14:24 GMT)

The problem with the World Cup is, as the report rightly points out, that it's "overly bloated" - and that's down entirely to the format, not the number of teams. Scrap the Super Eights/Sixes/ whatever, go straight from the initial groups to a knockout. Four groups of four would be ideal - room for the best associate members (even if a more full members are created in the future) and then seven knockout matches to round the event off. Remember, the qualifying stages of the 2007 event weren't the dull bit, with upsets from Bangladesh and Ireland - and if anyone proves to be out of their depth and gets through the group on a fluke result, they've only got one more match to go.

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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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