ICC annual conference 2014 June 23, 2014

Ten-team World Cup a concern for Associates

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The Associate nations have expressed "pressing concern" over the 2019 World Cup being a 10-team event. According to their officials, it has potential to disrupt the radical plan devised by the ICC recently to help the top Associate nation qualify to play Test cricket in 2018. It is a "major strategic issue" for the Associates to discuss at their meeting on Tuesday, which kicks off the ICC's annual conference in Melbourne.

According to the ICC's existing qualification process for the 2019 World Cup, the two lowest-ranked Full Members will have to play a qualifying tournament along with the Associates. Still, an Associate official said there was a "genuine risk" of those countries "abandoning" ODI cricket because there was such a "small chance" to qualify for the World Cup. Consequently, they might turn towards T20. The official feared how many Associates would actually be in a position to play Test cricket thereafter.

Effectively, the official pointed out, the Associates would play 50-over cricket only in tournaments such as the World Cricket League to just "go through the motions" since the opportunity to play in a global competition such as the World Cup would be limited. "Does not mean that we are not going to try, but there is risk (and if that were to happen) the game would be poorer for that," the Associate official told ESPNcricinfo. "Everyone has talked about context for Test cricket and context for T20 cricket. But there is a growing issue, a major one, about context for ODI cricket (among the Associates)."

The Associates ESPNcricinfo spoke to acknowledged the ICC's role in uplifting the game in their countries. They agreed that the ICC has been trying to close the gap between the top-ranked Full Members and the lowest-ranked Full Members/the top Associates for a while now, and had put in place a talent acceleration programme for that. But to exclude the top Associates from the World Cup and not provide them competitive opportunities against Full Members would never lessen that divide, officials pointed out.

According to a director of cricket with an Associate nation, the ICC may have now created a pathway to Test cricket but it was not going to have a lot of competitive teams vying for that spot if "all we are going to be doing is restrict them to the diet of T20 cricket."

The Associates believed that if the incentive to play in the World Cup - which they felt was a sort of bridge they needed to cross to get to Test cricket - was cut down they would be forced to figure whether it was indeed worth investing in ODIs. The dilemma was to financially prioritise parts of the game which "you are going to have the best opportunity to be successful in," an Associate official said. For that to happen it was important to take tough decisions, he added. Most of these decisions would be "driven by those forms of game which are going to help improve your ranking, help generate revenue and profile for the sport and therefore help generate government funding," the director said.

A solution, Associate officials said, was possibly in their own hands. If, for example, more than one top-ranked Associate did well at next year's World Cup then it could open an avenue for debate about whether the ICC needed to revisit the number of the teams for the 2019 edition.

But a realistic goal, the official said, was to provide more structured opportunities where top-performing Associates such as Afghanistan and Ireland get more opportunities frequently against the lowest-ranked Full Members who have large gaps in their schedules. Such bilateral tournaments would need to be accommodated into the FTP considering that match officials would have to be appointed, and is something the Associates would be interested in deliberating on with the ICC.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • yohandf1984 on June 26, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    When fifa expand world cup entries ( 24 -1986 32 - 1994 & 40 - 2018 ) why only ICC wants to shrink the game . if the game to be global , more opportunities required for associates . ICC WC 2019 should consist 14 teams with 2 bottom full members and 4 associates playing for 4 places . Then 2 groups of 6 teams , then quarters , semi s and final . ICC WT20 2016 should be with 16 teams . three lowest ranked full members and six associates should play in 3 x 3 groups and three group winners should join rest of 7 full members . then 2 groups of 5 ,semis and final . abolish useless champions trophy as we dont need two world cup for one format . instead get on with test championship .

  • dummy4fb on June 25, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    why not of 16 teams like 2007 world cup or like Euro cup football

  • dummy4fb on June 24, 2014, 23:10 GMT

    Every associate nation should have a fair chance to play the WC, but unfortunately other than the top 8 ranked teams, all other matches will not have the turnout that the ICC expects monetarily. Any and all games look into the financial aspect at the end of the day, surely cricket currently does. I certainly feel ICC should give the associates more matches to play against the top ranked teams and monitor their performance throughout, and a decision should be taken before the 2019 world cup schedule is to be made. In such a scenario, all teams would be motivated to play for the privilege of representing their country in the mega tournament. Afghanistan showed more mettle than Bangladesh, they surely deserve their chances.

  • srini.srini on June 24, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    Ten teams for 50 over WC seems fair. Let's face it, the associates have no chance of progressing much further in the tournament. Better to add more associates to the T20 WC

  • dummy4fb on June 24, 2014, 8:32 GMT

    It should be called a 10 NATION CUP instead of a WORLD CUP.

    Any world event is never fought between 10 teams. As a cricket lover I want to see more teams/cricketers to be introduced. You never know a new country can produce another DON or God of Cricket. May be the team cant reach great heights initially but you might get to watch likes of Gayle, Sehwag, Afridi, Steyn, Hussey, Dhoni from a new team. They can always get better by playing for T20 leagues in India or Australia.

    Encourage other teams by letting them play in a world event that would be good for cricket.

  • flickspin on June 24, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    @tnamarkfromindia

    you are spot on with your ideas

    why can not ireland tour australia, play every first class team, play australia a

    the icc is extremely stupid

    growing the game should be the icc highest priority

    they are ignoring the lesser nations and for what

    thier is so much negativity around international cricket

    alot of ex-players constantly complain about the game

    the standards weak,

    we dont want any more test teams

    the bats are too big

    the boundaries are to small

    fast bowling weak and so on

    i would like to see some positive reporting of cricket

    how exciting are the amount of sixes

    it would be good to see more test teams, and have a plan to make it a reality

    modern fielding is exceptional

    how exciting is the switch hit and so on

    world cricket is being help back by a negative administration, we need some positive people running the icc, with a can do attitude

    more teams are needed at 20/20 & 50/50 world cup maybe 16-20 teams, 4-5 teams in each group

  • dummy4fb on June 24, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    YorkshirePudding, please read what I wrote and not just make assumptions. EIGHT of TEN positions in Super 10s would be assigned to full members just like at the last T20I World Cup which had 16 teams (six eliminated at the "group" stage). What I am suggesting is that the World Cup Associate qualifiers should be the "group" stage of the world cup with Associates qualifying for world cup in their regions similar to how they do for the World Cup Associate qualifiers. For T20I World Cup, six associates qualified from 20 Associates at the T20I World Cup Associate qualifiers. What I am saying is for world cups scrap the T20I World Cup Associate qualifiers and make it part of the world cup. This would NOT " increasing it in an already crowded calendar" as the associates already play these games. It can be easily organized so that the full members are playing warm up matches towards the end of these games. Please read what I wrote and not just make assumptions.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 24, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    @Terry jones, why do you want a confoluted Super-10 stage, why no after the groups simply go into the sudden death elimination rounds? This would drastically reduce the length of the tournament rather than increasing it in an already crowded calendar.

  • dummy4fb on June 24, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    @yorkshire pudding, a world cup must serve both purposes - expansion of the sport & revenue genration. in the format 20 teams in 5 groups of 4, followed by super 10 in 2 groups of 5, the world cup will be 53 odis, good enough for globalisation, short enough to keep it interesting and the super 10s to generate revenue

    the groups will look something like

    pool a - aus (1), zim (10), ire (11), nep (20) pool b - ind (2), ban (9), afg (12), nam (19) pool c - sl (3), wi (8), scot (13), ken (18) pool d - sa (4), nz (7), uae (14), neth (17) pool e - eng (5), pak (6), hk (15), png (16)

    top 2 from each qualify for super 10s. the associates also have a chance to qualify for super 10s. and in the 1st round, the associates play the big teams, which should be the main purpose of a world cup

    20 team format followed by super 10 is good. hope the icc looks into this format for 2019 wc

  • dummy4fb on June 24, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    The last T20I World Cup was the best format. Create a "group" stage which associates & two full members play and then a "Super 10s" stage (two groups of five). You could expand the world cups to 32 teams and have four groups of six teams with a playoff to get through to the Super 10s stage. This means there would be six games for group (including playoff), four games for super 10s, semis and final. Thus a maximum of 12 games that any one team would play. Its important to allow international cricket to expand, and best way of doing this is to create a similar system to the format used in last T20I World Cup, as expressed above.

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