ICC news February 18, 2011

ICC sticks to plan for ten-team World Cup

ESPNcricinfo staff

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, has said there will be no going back on the decision to reduce the 50-over World Cup from 14 to ten teams, despite protests from the Associate countries who are likely to be left out of the tournament in 2015.

"We have felt in the past few years that Twenty20 is the best format to develop the game world-wide and it provides a better environment for competition," Lorgat told PTI. "The 50-over format is more skill-based and suitable for the top teams."

To compensate for the loss of places in the 50-over tournament, the ICC has added four spots to the Twenty20 World Cup, making it a 16-team event, but Cricket Kenya chief executive, Tom Sears, told AFP that the ICC will not be acting in the interests of the game if the smaller teams were locked out of the next World Cup.

"If we have to improve on the standards, there is no point of denying us the opportunity of competing at the top level." Sears said. "We had a meeting with the other Associate countries during the World Cup training camp in Dubai last week, and we plan to raise the matter again at the World Cup. We are disturbed about the whole issue."

In an earlier interview with The Wisden Cricketer, Sears, called the decision "scandalous and bloody ridiculous", saying "I've no desire to be diplomatic... Not to let anyone else in is scandalous. It's all about money, power and votes - and that's not good for cricket."

Former Kenya captain Steve Tikolo and batsman Collins Obuya also voiced their concerns, saying the World Cup remained crucial for the development of the Associate countries. Kenya famously made the semi-finals in the 2003 World Cup, but remain the only non-Test team to have made it so far into the tournament.

Several leading players from the Full Member countries came out in support of the Associates as well, with England offspinner Graeme Swann asking: "Why would you want to take the world out of the World Cup?" He was joined by Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait, who said, "to play against the best players and sides in the world is massive and I wouldn't want to take that away from anyone," and South Africa wicketkeeper AB de Villiers, who saw value in the smaller nations' involvement in major tournaments. "It makes it more colourful and it's good for the growth of the game."

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