ICC annual conference June 27, 2011

Qualifying event revives Associate hopes for 2015


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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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.

  • Brad 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!

  • michael 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.

  • roshan 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.

  • Nihal 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.

  • Nihal 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'.

  • hayden 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.

  • mathew 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

  • wayne 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.

  • Shafin 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.

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