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Isaac wants ICC credibility

Ger Siggins at Clontarf

July 3, 2012

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Haroon Lorgat, ICC chief executive David Richardson and ICC president Alan Isaac, Kuala Lumpur, June 28, 2012
Alan Isaac (front) still favours a ten-team World Cup format © Getty Images
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Alan Isaac is only five days into his term as president of ICC but the New Zealander is already thinking of his legacy.

"I'd like to think that, at the end of my two years, that ICC is seen to have a bit more credibility about its governance and how it governs the game," he said. "That it's seen to be governing the sport on a global basis better than perhaps it's seen at the moment."

Isaac was speaking to ESPNcricinfo before the scheduled World Cricket League ODI between Ireland and Afghanistan in Dublin - which was pushed into a reverse day by rain - and had much to say about the Associate and Affiliate side of the game, specifically the row about their exclusion from the 2015 World Cup.

"That was a huge debate - is that the best way to develop the game or should it be just the best sides, and you do other things to develop the game? Or is Twenty20 the best format to do that? The facts stand for themselves that cricket in Ireland has developed dramatically since 2007 with the wins at the World Cup.

"A ten-team World Cup actually provides a better format. It's a more exciting competition and commercially it has a bit more value. And the matches arguably are better matches."

"One of the reasons for the reduction was because the 1992 World Cup, with nine countries, was a fantastic success - there were 87,000 at the final between England and Pakistan. That format where everybody played everybody was very popular and, arguably, is ideal."

Another major issue for Associates such as Ireland is the plunder of its players by Full Members, much as how the All Blacks raid the Pacific islands. Isaac said the situation was always being monitored but the problem was not just below Test level.

"The eligibility rules are continually being reviewed. But it's an issue for the lesser-ranked full members as well. There are a lot of young cricketers in Australia who could qualify to play for New Zealand but obviously they would rather play for Australia if they could because the rewards are much greater.

"I think if we're going to have more competitive teams we need to have a little more flexibility around those eligibility rules so that the guy that doesn't make the Australian team - even though he might have played for the Australian A side - can play for New Zealand after a period of time," he added. "You can't have them swopping countries all the time, but I think we could look at how some of the other sports are refreshing that eligibility rule, to get more competitive teams."

Isaac has decided to begin his stint as president with a visit to the two Associates - Ireland and Scotland - that received a $500,000 funding boost last week.

"I was keen I come to the UK and some ICC staff suggested it was an opportunity to come to Ireland and, next week visit Scotland. Ireland have made huge progress so it was opportunity to see that first hand.

"Obviously I haven't seen any cricket, but when you meet people in Associate environments, it's like the scene back home where you meet people who are passionate and enthusiastic about cricket. You don't always get that when you're watching England play Australia. It's really good to get in touch with the people who are working at the grass roots level," he said.

"I was very involved with the TAPP application which tells a really good story about what's happened here in the last ten years in terms of development and the increase in playing numbers."

One of the items on Ireland's wish list is 12-15 ODIs a year, and Isaacs is encouraging on this count. "It was really disappointing for Ireland that last week's game against Australia was rained off, but I see more of those games happening. I know Ireland are working closer with the ECB which should see more games with England and also as countries tour England."

However, he was less enthusiastic about Ireland's stated aim of being a Test playing nation by 2020.

"That raises the whole question of where the three formats of the game sit. But I think if you are serious about playing cricket you have to aspire to be the best test player and if you want to be serious about being a cricket nation then that's a good aspiration to have."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TheReverseDoosra_K on (July 5, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Duh... 10 team WC is a joke. The reasons given for reduction of teams is a money-minded reason. Even in football, the Indian team (ranked around 160) is given a fair chance to qualify for each World Cup. Whereas in cricket, 100th ranked team will have to wait for minimum of 14 years to qualify for ODI world cup. The T20 World Cup thought gives a very fair chance.

Posted by Swampy5 on (July 4, 2012, 21:09 GMT)

More of the same from the ICC it seems. Isaac praises the 92WC but selectively doesn't mention how awful and drawn-out the Super-eight stage of the 2007 WC was (same format, but with 8 teams not 9 or 10). A lot of talk about helping Associates, but for what purpose? They can't play tests and it's becoming even harder for them to qualify for the World Cup. The ICC are only keen on a 10 team WC because it'll make them more money, as Isaac concedes, but he's just trying to dress it up as somehow making sporting sense, which it doesn't, because not including more teams it's not going to promote the game globally.

Posted by Meety on (July 4, 2012, 14:05 GMT)

I don't like a 10 team W/C. I don't mind tests being exclusive, but the shorter the format, the more inclusive the W/C needs to be. I would want at least 12 teams in the ODI W/C & at least 16 in the T20.

Posted by bishkekrawalpindi on (July 4, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

Ten team wc is ok, but lower two spots should be earned via a qualification round

Posted by anuradha_d on (July 4, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

Issac is talking sense.....associates, affliates, promoting games between Afganistan-IRE......elgibility of players to play for anotehr country......are good subjects to deal with for ICC .......hope he understands that the role of ICC is governance / support/ adminstration "for" the cricketing community....and not to rule or dictate

Posted by frozendilemma on (July 4, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

Another major issue for Associates such as Ireland is the plunder of its players by Full Members" - As far as I know only 1 full member - England is doing this. Zillions of pages are wasted on a silly issue ike UDRS (without which test cricket has survived and prospered) while such a critical issue which threatens the elevation of a nation as a test playing one, is ignored.I second this statement...

Posted by FieryFerg on (July 4, 2012, 7:36 GMT)

Cheap journalism again claiming the All Black plunder of the Pacific islands. Check the schooling of their players - virtually all grow up and are schooled in NZ. It's economics that drives people there, simple as that. People will always migrate to the bigger/more advantageous centres. How many Rhodesians played for SA? Plenty, coz it was the opportunity to play at the highest level. Same argument now with Ireland, Scotland and England.

Posted by   on (July 4, 2012, 7:23 GMT)

Again this 10-nations World Cup ...I am fed up of it .

Posted by tfjones1978 on (July 4, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

Isaac's comments sound promising. I agree with shorter 2015 World Cup but think 8 team World Cup is better with 3 steps. Step 1 home & away ODI matches between all 16 teams with ODI status over four year period (with FTP assured matches) for first six spots. Step 2 WCL Div 1 with Step 1: 13th to 16th & WCL Div 2 top 2 teams. Step 3 is Elimination Qualifiers with Step 1: 7th to 12th & top 2 teams from Step 2 with top 2 teams qualifying. Gives six associates regular matches against full members whilst limiting WC to countries that can win WC. Note: In Steps 1 & 3, Washed out matches should be awarded to higher seeded team. ** Regarding eligibility to play, a player should be allowed to play test cricket for a full member and ODI & T20I for an associate member. Eligibility should be 5yrs to 1yr based on source & destination av rankings across all 3 formats: +100 5yrs, +50 4yrs, 0 3 yrs, -50 2 yrs, -100 1 yr (eg: Ken to Aust 5yrs, Aust to Ken 1yr). ICC needs to review test status process.

Posted by prashnottz on (July 4, 2012, 3:38 GMT)

"Another major issue for Associates such as Ireland is the plunder of its players by Full Members" - As far as I know only 1 full member - England is doing this. Zillions of pages are wasted on a silly issue ike UDRS (without which test cricket has survived and prospered) while such a critical issue which threatens the elevation of a nation as a test playing one, is ignored.,

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