ICC news April 19, 2011

'Associates future must be decided in June'


Warren Deutrom, the chief executive of Cricket Ireland, believes that the right of Associate nations to compete at the 2015 World Cup will be established at the ICC's annual conference in Hong Kong at the end of June. His comments came after ICC president, Sharad Pawar, requested that the tournament's composition be reassessed in response to strong and widespread criticism of the decision to limit participation to the ten Test-playing nations.

Following two weeks of silence in the wake of the decision reached in Mumbai on April 4, the ICC confirmed in a press release on Tuesday that a reassessment was on the cards. "I have given this matter further serious thought and will request the board to consider this topic once more," Pawar said. "I can understand the views of the Associates and Affiliates and the ICC will seek to deal with this issue in the best way possible."

Deutrom interpreted the ICC's silence until now as a sign that they knew they could not justify their decision. "The lack of response in those two weeks probably meant they realised they were defending the indefensible," Deutrom told ESPNcricinfo. "The ICC management are a very careful and expert bunch, and they will have done their homework. I know a lot of people have been telling us over the two weeks how strong our position would be if external remedies were necessary, although we don't want to get to that stage, we want it to be the last resort.

"I think the issue would have to be resolved in June," he added. "If there was to be any fudge, it would be completely unacceptable unless the conclusion was that we need a qualifier but we don't know what that qualifier should be. If the principle was established that a qualification tournament was to be reinstated I don't think the Associates could have too much of an argument with that, and we wouldn't necessarily need to be involved in that ongoing discussion. Our argument is purely that there needs to be opportunity for the world to be involved in the World Cup."

Over the past few days, the Associate members had met and discussed among themselves how best to handle the decision; those discussions resulted in a letter being sent to the ICC.

"We've done a great deal of research over the last week, particularly Warren Deutrom of Ireland; we've had a lot of letters of support, we've also had some experienced sports lawyers contacting us offering us help," Richard Cox, chief executive of the Netherlands board, told ESPNcricinfo. "On that basis we felt we were at least able to contest the decision around qualification and the opportunity to qualify which is what we've done."

At its meeting on April 4, two days after the World Cup final, the ICC board decided to allow only the ten full members in the 2015 edition to be hosted in Australia and New Zealand. The board also agreed that the ten-team format would be in place for the 2019 World Cup in England as well, though there would be a qualification process involving the Associates.

Despite the encouraging signs of a rethink, Deutrom was determined not to lose sight of the bigger picture. "We are not regarding it as anything other than a short step in a longer journey," he added. "The fact it is back on the [ICC] board's agenda is a good thing, but it's still the same ten people having the same discussion on the same issue, so there clearly has to be a catalyst. We have to help them reach a different decision.

"Part of that process we would hope would be a face-to-face meeting, which is what we asked for in the letter we wrote to Sharad Pawar," Deutrom added. "That wasn't addressed in his response to us this morning, so we sincerely hope that it will be addressed in the coming days. We would seek a meeting with the president, vice-president and senior ICC management, so that everyone is fully aware of the depth of our resolve on this matter. All of our members are very much as one on this. They completely, unreservedly and wholly condemn the decision, and our elected representatives are mandated on behalf of the 95 non-Test nations to go ahead and seek redress with the ICC."

The recently concluded World Cup, which has been largely hailed as a success, featured 14 teams, and the league stage was played in two groups of seven each, with the top eight teams playing the quarter-finals. The proposal to trim the event meant that a team such as Ireland, which has had two successful World Cups, would not be a part of the next tournament. To compensate, the World Twenty20 was expanded to 16 teams, giving six Associate or Affiliate members a chance to play in a premier world event every two years, but no matter how well they perform there, they did not have a chance to make the cut for the 2015 50-over World Cup. Pawar's intervention could yet change that.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sachin on April 22, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    Just to be clear,I'm NOT saying this 4-day event should be qualifier for WC but this is something ICC must do to strengthen & prepare top Associates (which'd include Ban & Zim as well after they're stripped off their Test-status) for Test-cricket in the years to come.Those Associates who're doing well, have at least some sort of a 4-day first-class structure, have reasonable public-interest in cricket & thus have the potential to become competitive Test-nations some years down the line can play against top domestic &/or A-teams of stronger nations; the event may include 3 top minnows & 3 domestic/A-teams, more wouldn't be financially feasible; it'd be nice 15-match annual event & Associate that does well consistently may be given a "temporary test-status" for a couple of years & of course, if they do well in that period & have the requisite depth of talent then they may be given full Test-status. As for NZ & WI, they're both comfortably way ahead of minnows in 4/5-day cricket.

  • Siddharth on April 22, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    Well Enigma if u say that they need to play more 4 day games..then same shud apply for bang,,zimm and even windies ,, kiwis,,,but if u see proper test palyng ciuntries...

    India, Oz,Eng,Saf , Slank,,,,wud qualify ,,so 5 countries cnt play ..even football and rugby test has mismatches..i am not saying invoilve canada,,or namibia,,but ireland and dutch,,so 12 team getting top order cricket wud be best solutu\ion..and next 5 yrs try to get 2 more assoociates to top level table...

  • sachin on April 21, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    I'm sure Ban & Zim are scared of losing to IRL,ND,etc as they'd like to pretend as "Test-nations" (they both need to be stripped off their Test-status) but where have I said that population should've anything to do with who gets to play & who doesn't? One thing that Ban are definitely ahead on compared to other minnows is the public-interest thus they've huge potential, especially because cricket is NOT a sport which can grow easily in countries having very little passion for cricket as it'll always seen by most of the world as a 7-8 hour-long "boring & tedious" sport. The only possible way, if at all, would be if minnows started winning regularly & that's not going to happen at the international level, hence, rather than getting them play against top teams, ICC should get them to play 4-day & 1-day games regularly against domestic & A-teams of stronger nations & please don't tell me, more matches = more improvement, if that were true then Ban & Zim wouldn't be so mediocre for so long

  • Siddharth on April 21, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    Bangladesh are surely afraid of facing irish...even ducth wud push them off on seaming, bouncing tracks...have a match up of 10 mtch series..

    just becoz of 200 million pople supportes dsnt mean u get test status..

    on that order india shud every time win the world cup as there population is max in cricket world..

    also china should get automatic qualification in semis and brazil should also play..what a joke...

    If u r gud u deserve propmotion and reward irrespectiv of country populationm..

    infrastructure will only build once u get named faces in public and interest, govn backing,,,so bangadanhudesh didnt become in 1 year..all stadiums ready..similary wth lankanss..............so develop and se by next wrld cup..gve irish 15 odi against full memebers in1 year..i say sincerely they can win 3-4 out of those which wud be remarkable..acheivement..

  • sachin on April 21, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    @Notredam - "Irish desevre test status for sure.. No 2 ways about it.." That's a joke, right? They couldn't even beat Ban & WI (its another matter that Ban & Zim don't deserve to be Test-nations either), not to mention Test-cricket is a completely different kettle of fish compared to ODIs & T20s, firstly, they must've a strong domestic-structure to just be competitive in Tests. @Rakesh_Sharma - "ICC must pass a rule that minimum two WC league matches must be played per day with no off days during league stage. So this unreasonable cries of WC being too long and cutting teams does not happen" Do you think time is the only issue? Do you know that organising every match entails certain costs & matches involving minnows can't even cover their expenses & often result in losses. May be you & your fellows here asking for more mediocre teams & more mediocre matches should contribute a few million so that ICC can cover the losses arising out of having more mediocrity at the international level.

  • Siddharth on April 21, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    Ireland serve their country well and made them proud...in 2007 and 2011 world cups...So they surely deserve...Also dutch were gud enuf.. Scotland luk dsiciplined....So...these 3 desevrve surely...replace Zimmies..and bangandu

  • Rakesh on April 21, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    ICC must pass a rule that minimum two WC league matches must be played per day with no off days during league stage. So this unreasonable cries of WC being too long and cutting teams does not happen. Why is ICC crying as if there is no solution for long tournament? Pass the rule/laws etc so no organizer can play pranks of longevity cries. Also there must be rule of format.Two teams of 6 each with round robin in each group.Top two from each play semifinals. Do not allow organizers to suggest the tournament format.What sort of WC is it if everytime there is different format? However one thing must be certain that NEVER A Quarter Finals for a wc where there are just 8 strong teams. ICC can think of QF again when there are twenty strong teams may be next century.

  • Nikhil on April 20, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    12 teams is perfect WC followed by Super SIX which makes the teams work harder rather than knowing that eight teams will be going further. Include Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bangladesh, who are not so better than other associates. Last spot should be played by Afghanistan or Netherlands. Or have four teams play a qualifying round. These teams should be 9th ranked, 10th ranked, and two of the best associates like Ireland, Afgahnistan, Netherland, Kenya, etc.

  • anirban on April 20, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    10 team WC is definitely on the card...extension to 12 team may be considered but associate team qualities need to improve (I don't think Zimbabwe's performance good enough to be full member yet)... I have no doubt about the fact that there should be a qualifier for the last 2 spot among 10 teams...I don't like the idea of first 10 ranked teams playing in the WC..then why don't we just give the WC to #1 team without playing a single ball?

    Also, to improve associate team qualities they need to play with A teams from India, SL, Aus etc. on regular basis (both 1 day and 4 day matches)..I do see bright future for Ireland and Afghanistan if they are nurtured properly

  • Siddharth on April 20, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    Irish desevre test status for sure..

    No 2 ways about it....

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