World T20 main draw set to expand to 'Super 12'
Two more teams are likely to be added to the main draw of the reinstated World T20 in 2018. Discussions at the Associates meeting of the ongoing ICC annual conference in Edinburgh also indicated that representatives of the Associate nations on the ICC board may get full voting rights as well.
"What I have heard described is that two teams will go through from [each] first group to create a Super 12," Tim Cutler, the Hong Kong Cricket Association chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo. "That seems to be the agreed format at the moment. Hopefully that means with two [more] going through, potentially two more could come into the qualifiers to make 18 but the sound of it at the moment is it's going to be 16 into 12. It's a move in the right direction."
Had such a format been in place for the tournament, Netherlands, who were knocked out after a washout, and Zimbabwe, who lost only one of their three matches, could have moved into the second round. Now though, there is opportunity for two guaranteed spots for the Associates in the main draw, with a possibility of that number increasing to four.
On the topic of applying for an Olympic T20 tournament in 2024, representatives from Italy and France informed the ICC that they had been in contact with their respective Olympic Associations to gather support for cricket's inclusion should Rome or Paris win the hosting rights.
Such campaigning became necessary after it was learnt that the IOC was planning to shelve the direct entry path - which the ICC was banking on - to register a sport in the Olympics. Should that happen, cricket's inclusion in all future Games will depend on the host nation's nod.
The proposal that was discussed on Tuesday accounted for only eight teams in each division - men and women - partly due to the number of athletes the Olympics can accommodate. This could mean the Associates may not get to participate, putting a dent in the argument that an Olympic T20 tournament would provide more opportunities for them.
In better news for the Associates, there is a motion to give their three representatives on the ICC full voting privileges and therefore a voice when it comes to decision making. According to sources present, ICC chairman Shashank Manohar made the announcement and it could be ratified later in the week.
"Everything we're hearing from the ICC chairman really does point towards a new era in ICC governance and the structures behind that," Cutler said. "We talk about one man, one vote, are we going to have a 105-member federation with votes? Highly unlikely in the short term but if we do get to a point where the three Associate directors have a vote each, that really does shift the paradigm that was the ICC board and really moving things in the right direction where emerging nations really do have a true voice at the top table."
According to multiple sources, there has also been a change in Associate representation on the ICC board with Cricket Ireland's Ross McCollum winning a vote to replace Bermuda's Neil Speight. The other two incumbents - Singapore's Imran Khawaja and Namibia's Francois Erasmus - maintain their places on the board.
McCollum's promotion is timely from Ireland's standpoint, with a 12-team Test structure and 13-team ODI league set to gain approval later in the week. He was favoured, sources indicate, because of a need to have one of the top six Associates to be on the board. Being from Europe helped his case as well, with the continent comprising three of the top eight ranked Associates - Ireland followed by Scotland and the Netherlands.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna