ICC annual conference

Qualifying event revives Associate hopes for 2015

Sharda Ugra in Hong Kong

June 27, 2011

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Kevin O'Brien is a new Irish hero after his stunning century overcame England, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
The World Cup fates of Ireland and other Associates could be decided on June 28 © Getty Images
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The Decision Review System may have grabbed all attention in the first half of the ICC's annual conference in Hong Kong, but June 28 will belong to the little guys: the ICC's Executive Board will revisit its widely condemned decision to shut the doors for the 2015 World Cup on the Associate nations. On Monday, the Chief Executives' Committee recommended to the Board a qualification tournament for 2015, without specifying the number of slots open to the Associates.

There is a possibility that the tournament will feature 14 teams, including four Associates. The only other option being contemplated for the Associates at the moment is a 10-team tournament with the top eight Full Members gaining direct entry. The bottom two teams in the ICC ODI rankings will then go into a play-off with the top four Associates for the two remaining spots.

That is why Warren Deutrom, who had worked with the ICC for five years before his appointment as Cricket Ireland chief, told ESPNcricinfo that in his experience of cricket administration "this is the most important ICC annual conference in terms of what is to be decided about the Associates' interests".

The decision to revisit the Associates snub came as the result of loud protests across the less powerful cricketing nations, leading the ICC President Sharad Pawar to ask the Chief Executive Committtee (CEC) to review the ruling and put it on the conference agenda. It came up for discussion on Monday at a meeting attended by 35 Associates and five Affiliates, and addressed by Pawar. "Your voice has been heard and listened to," he said in his speech. "In life you have to sometimes arrive at consensus and compromise."

The compromise, most of the Associates believe, will be a shot at only two World Cup spots in order to have a shorter and more competitive event. The 2015 World Cup could be made up of a round-robin first leg in which all teams play each other once, the same format as the 1992 World Cup and considered the most challenging. The compensation for the World Cup shut-out was an expansion of the World Twenty20 to 16 teams, giving six Associates / Affiliates a chance to enter a world event every two years. However, it left cricket's smaller nations unsatisfied.

The stretch to 14 teams, some Members believe, is being done to build support for the last major issue for discussion at the conference: scrapping the rotation policy for the appointment of the ICC president.

Pakistan and Bangladesh - the two Members who were to nominate the next candidates for president and vice-president by the rotation system - are opposed to the change. In order to pass a resolution amending the rule about the appointment of the ICC chief, eight of ten Full Members and 38 of 50 Associates will have to vote in favour of the motion. That vote could be swayed by how the World Cup format discussion pans out on Tuesday.

In their informal Monday morning meeting to discuss what arguments could be presented before Pawar, the Associates-Affiliates arrived at two major conclusions. One was asking for a 14-nation World Cup on the basis of ICC ODI rankings and the other making a case for cricket's participation in multi-disciplinary events like the Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian Games. It will said, Pankaj Khimji, the Affiliate representative for Asia, have a direct impact on the funding available smaller cricketing nations. "Should cricket be played at these events, only then can we get governmental funding towards development and not be dependant entirely on the ICC's funds."

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by I.RAGHURAM on (June 28, 2011, 9:19 GMT)

It would be absured to give automatic qualification to all the 10 full members. As of now the quality of bottom ranked teams like Bangladesh / Zimbabwe / Wes Indies is so poor that even Associates can beat them on any given day. feel only 8 or 6 top ranked full members should automatically qualify for the WC. The balance 2 or 4 teams should qualify thru a qualifying tournament between the bottom 2 or 4 teams from full members and top four from the Associates.

Posted by Dale-force_winds_steyn_the_pitch on (June 28, 2011, 7:49 GMT)

Take a leaf out of soccer's book. It is a world cup, so we need lots of teams from around the world to participate. 12 is a bare minimum, 16 would be great. Looking at the SWC, does anyone honestly expect Korea DPR to beat Portugal? How about Argentina vs Korea Republic? There will always be mismatches at a World Cup. Why? Its a WORLD Cup! There will always be much stronger teams and much weaker teams, and when these teams clash, the stronger teams should win 99 times out of 100. The part of the group stages I (and surely many other fans) enjoy the most is rooting for the underdog. What do you remember more: Irelands victory over England or England vs South Africa? I'm a South African supporter and I can barely remember Eng vs SA! The underdog always provides character to World Cups- After my home country, Ireland and Bangladesh were my favourite teams... Not the next best team! If the tournament was without the minnows and with only 10 teams, call itTest Nation Cup. Go minnows!

Posted by diddles on (June 28, 2011, 7:40 GMT)

If justice prevails, 14 teams should contest the next world cup, if not 16 to make it a fair dinkum or real world cup. I am an Aussie, but very disappointed with Cricket Australia's narrow-minded and self-interested approach on the associate's participation...they are certainly not displaying any real interest in seeing our great game grow outside its traditional boundaries by pushing a 10 team event. I remember the 1992 world cup and the format that our administrators wish to repeat....but times have changed, as cricket has developed a lot since then in many new countries and to ignore that fact is simple ignorance. The bottom line that all members should be stating to Cricket Australia/New Zealand is "get with the program", or forfeit your right as hosts. Seriously, Australia is now a very multicultural country, and if our administrators think it is too hard to drum up support for the smaller teams - I say, hand in your resignations now. We have many Irish, Afghans etc living here.

Posted by roshan.rasane on (June 28, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

Please, please, let associate nations play. They add some interesting combinations and possibilities to world cup....! This will help cricket grow in other nations. A football world cup has 32 teams. For cricket atleast need to reach 16 test playing nations....! I know it will take time, but only way to promote cricket is to allow associates to play in world cup.

Infact best Idea would be to include them in 20-20 world cup where they will be more competative. Also, instead of bilateral one-day series, some associates like Ireland who has promising players should allowed to play 3rd nation.

Posted by BlorScouser on (June 28, 2011, 5:23 GMT)

It would also be great if the associates with ODI status are given a chance to take part in tri-series with full members. Thus a tour of the UK could include an Eng-Sl-Ireland Triseries. Hats off to Sri Lanka and Pakistan for playing a few ODIs with Scotland and Ireland this summer. India could have played a warm-up ODI with the Dutch this summer.

Posted by BlorScouser on (June 28, 2011, 5:19 GMT)

It would be welcome if they have a qualifying tournament between the lowest ranked full members and the top associates. I still don't think much of the 10 team format as there is the chance of a couple of weak teams playing 9 games. People would prefer seeing competitive cricket rather than just watching 9 games for India or Australia. So my preferred format would be 16 teams with 4 groups of 4, followed by the knock-outs. Each game would be meaningful, but this isn't likely to happen with the TV contract already negotiated for a fixed number of games. Anyway I hope the associates/affiliates are given some chance of taking part. The politics with the presidency issue gives some hope for the 'minnows'.

Posted by redneck on (June 28, 2011, 4:03 GMT)

keep it to 10 teams but give ireland and the dutch a shot at qualifying against zimbabwe and bangledesh. a round robin world cup is the best possible format for a world cup as it make everyone play eachother!!! this wont happen with 12 or 14 teams as it would make it too drawn out. and lets face it if it was a 14 team world cup the 4 assosiates are only making up the numbers anyhow.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (June 28, 2011, 3:59 GMT)

@Michael perera, First Icc said no to associates and then sharad pawar intervened and they gave a chance now..we all say ICC as Indian cricket council when something wrong happens but the same Indian cricket council allowed for associates chance in next world cup..Thats what he ment to say

Posted by smudgeon on (June 28, 2011, 1:18 GMT)

Going on from a few comments below, I think the best way to give the associates more experience in the lead-up to the WC qualifiers (IF it actually happens, although I'm cautiously optimistic) would be more tri-series ODIs against all members. Personally, I'd love to see Ireland-Aus-England in a three-way series in the Aussie summer - talk about playing up to rivalries! The more they play against quality opposition, the better they'll get...and if one of the associates knocks off a member in an ODI, that can only increase interest in cricket back home.

Posted by Shafin1987 on (June 28, 2011, 1:14 GMT)

At least 12 teams should play in the next world cup.You can't ignore the country like IRELAND and NETHERLANDS. If they fail to make chance in the qualifying process.12 is justifiable.What is the problem if 12 teams are involved in the WC.10 teams WC looks like a mini-wc which is not appreciable.WC means more teams more color more excitement.

Posted by Meety on (June 28, 2011, 0:48 GMT)

@ _NEUTRAL_Fan_- yes more games for Associates. On the positive, the ICC has already scheduled more ODI games tacked on to the Intercontinental Cup. I remember back in the days of the CUB in Oz, often a fledging side would be the 3rd team in the series. In the 80s it was Sri Lanka, in the 90s it was Zimbabwe. Maybe in the 21st century it could be Ireland or Afghanistan? I have posted the opinion previously - that if you had a triangular series whereby each team played each other twice & had a final, you'd get 7 games including a Final (better then team A playing Team B 7times).

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (June 27, 2011, 22:26 GMT)

Ok. Next step is to give the associates MORE MATCHES between now and 2015 vs. weaker full member teams so that their players will have gained enough exp. and exposure.

Posted by pk_cric_rox on (June 27, 2011, 20:32 GMT)

i think including associates in world cup after 4 years doesnt do them much good.exposing them once in 4 years,or even 8 or 12 years for most teams, n then expecting them to play good against top teams is unfair.instead ICC should do something about long n meaningless bi-lateral ODI series being played every year n tell top 10 teams to convert those ODI series' into tri-angular tournament , the third team being a regional associate.this way these associates will get more games against top teams n even couple of upsets every year will give these nations a huge boost alongwith experience n first hand knowledge of cricketing skills.4 matches at world cup level cant guarantree their improvement but 8 to 10 matches every year will definitely improve their game and its good even for supporters of bigger teams becoz there will b alot fewer meaningless ODI matches.every upset will bring a new thrill to the game

Posted by WestIndies1987 on (June 27, 2011, 20:13 GMT)

This is a good move because cricket is getting boring watching the same teams play over and over again.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 20:13 GMT)

@ gandabhai: WELL DONE BCCI FOR STICKING UP FOR THE ASSOCIATES WITHOUT WHOM THIS WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE .

Excuse me, WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 20:05 GMT)

Ok,, So the 2015 world cup should work out as follows: 1.10 teams in the tournament: 2.Automatic qualification: Ind, SL, Aus, SA, PAk, NZ, Eng, WI(top 8 in the rankings)

3.Now rank 9(Ban) and Rank 10(Ire) fight it out with ranks 11,12,13,14 as a qualifiaction process before the tounament in Australia/NZ(thus providing ample match practice as well) in a league format with every team playing once against eachother. Hence, Qualification would round up with one group of 6 teams(Ban, Ire, Zim, Ken, Ned, Can) with the top 2 (No final required) joining the Top 8 qualified teams.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 19:51 GMT)

Well, frankly speaking, and believe it or not, this was my idea as well. Good idea indeed. If some day, as one mentions India/Australia/England be the lowly ranked teams (God forbid), then it is their poor performance that would have let them down, and they will have to pay the price. Sorry for that !!! Most probably, they will beat the associate members and come into the mainstream, but again godforbid, if they still get ditched, then it is extremely atrocious. Sorry again !!!

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 19:46 GMT)

lots of balanced comments...finally a debate sans drama

Posted by Htc-Baseball on (June 27, 2011, 19:25 GMT)

cricket at highest level is a more watchful sport than soccer. SA IND test series was an example...But the quality demand is huge,every team cant have a steyn and a tendulkar, but one has to get a decent chance to groom some. Hope es all we can do..Atlest may ireland come in and spread the game...........

Posted by Herath-UK on (June 27, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

A Qualification round involving Bangladesh and Zimbabwe is justified as teams like Ireland and Netherland look stronger and matches will be more interesting.Hopefully they can do a Sri Lanka one day. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by cric-maestro on (June 27, 2011, 17:49 GMT)

@ASHIK: definitely if that happens.....but i dont think bangladesh will give them that chance...

Posted by pinhead9810 on (June 27, 2011, 16:48 GMT)

A qualification process is a excellent idea however, it would be stupid for the major 8 teams to play a part of this qualification process. I agree with Wessels Van Vuuren that this is not football. Cricket does not have large fan base as football does. A world cup without the 8 major teams could have detrimental affect on cricket. A qualification process between Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, Canada, Afghanistan and etc., would be ideal and the top 2/3 qualify to the world cup.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 16:38 GMT)

If someday Australia / India / England be the 3 lower ranked teams will they have to play the system or new rule then ?

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 16:31 GMT)

i think this decision will give chance to AFGHANISTAN to be part of 2015 world cup

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 15:55 GMT)

10 teams are more than enough for a 50 over World Cup. 8,9,10 can go and qualify with the minnows and the top 3 from that tournament can take these places. Cricket is not football where you only need to watch a bad team for 90 minutes and still fit in another 2 good games in a day. In 50 over cricket they take up a whole day - do you really want a situation where you give them 6+ whole days to show how far behind they are and kill the sports top competition with boredom? If you are going to give a match a whole day on TV at least make it a good one. Holland and Ireland can give you these...most of the others not.

Posted by m_ilind on (June 27, 2011, 15:36 GMT)

There is a chance that an Associate can kick out a lowly ranked Full Member in the qualifiers! Good move by ICC as it can keep the low ranked Full Member teams from being complacent.

Posted by gandabhai on (June 27, 2011, 15:29 GMT)

WELL DONE BCCI FOR STICKING UP FOR THE ASSOCIATES WITHOUT WHOM THIS WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE .

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 15:19 GMT)

I would prefer a 12-team format with the first eight going through directly and four teams participating in a tournament for four positions. Nevertheless, it's good to hear that the ICC is giving the associates an opportunity to grow. It was a decision necessary for the development and expansion of cricket. So, probably, the four teams would be Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (June 27, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

Sharad pawar is behind this. Even though i dont like him i feel he deserves some applauds.Esp when OTHERs are ranting against BCCI.

Posted by CricSamraat on (June 27, 2011, 14:30 GMT)

Commonsense seems to be staging a comeback. Let's await the sequel.

Posted by MeowCat on (June 27, 2011, 14:26 GMT)

Ireland wil win the world cup.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 14:25 GMT)

2 gud decisions by ICC in a single week. Am I living in alternate universe..:)

Posted by ssenthil on (June 27, 2011, 14:06 GMT)

Excellent Decision by ICC. What is happening with ICC? Taking so many greatest decisions. UDRS, ODI rule changes and now Associates given World Cup lifeline. This days must be Noted in the Cricket History :D

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 14:05 GMT)

An Excelletn Chance for Afghanistan to Qualify for the Cricet World Cup 2015

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 13:52 GMT)

Good change of heart! The romantics of cricket will welcome it as well as the pragmatists who see long term.

Posted by Sobat on (June 27, 2011, 13:46 GMT)

Hey thats realy nice and a good move by the ICC. the depth of a team playing competitive cricket will be the a real factor to improve cricket in associated nations.maybe not so fast but by having some history of good players with confidence ...and getting them involve in administration and related stuff with the game it will be a big boost for the players in future.and i would like to see some matchers between associated countries test playing countries ... maybe 3 matchers for a year..

Posted by diehardcricketfan3 on (June 27, 2011, 13:35 GMT)

i'm an indian cricket fan... i want associates to play in all future world cups.... if icc limits the number of teams to 10, then it will be a very poor decision....

Posted by   on (June 27, 2011, 13:18 GMT)

Good to hear from ICC atleast giving some chances for associates to take part in major event of cricket.. hope it all goes well and see much more teams playing in Tests and ODI arena in future

Posted by cecil_bingo on (June 27, 2011, 13:12 GMT)

Excellent decision, i reckon that teams like ireland and netherlands are pretty competitive to play in the world cup, also they must be touring other nations.

Posted by TATTUs on (June 27, 2011, 13:09 GMT)

Excellent! What a meeting ICC! All decisions but the powerplay one has been really good.

Posted by D-Train on (June 27, 2011, 12:42 GMT)

Will the world cup still only be 10 teams?

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