ICC annual conference 2014

Ten-team World Cup a concern for Associates

Nagraj Gollapudi

June 23, 2014

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

The Afghanistan team celebrate their win, Afghanistan v Nepal, ACC Premier League 2014, Kuala Lumpur, May 7, 2014
Top-performing Associates such as Afghanistan need more opportunities against the lowest-ranked Full Members © Peter Lim/ACC

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 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 .

Posted by   on (June 25, 2014, 11:42 GMT)

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

Posted by   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.

Posted by 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

Posted by   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.

Posted by flickspin on (June 24, 2014, 7:57 GMT)


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

Posted by   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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by   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

Posted by   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.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (June 24, 2014, 0:10 GMT)

One of the way to handle this is, when T20 world cup happens they should let associates play first on the pitch followed by the big guys. This way they can get bigger audience. ODI,we can have two ODI on the same day. So, They have to be accommodated in the pool. 4 pool of 3 teams.Top 8, 2 teams goes to one pool. Rest and associates becomes 3rd team. So, Ind, SL, PAK, ENG, AUS, SA, NZ, WI could be the eight. Bangladesh, Zim and 2 associates could make 3rd team. This way top 8 can still move on to next round, but they have to beat these 4 teams. When the demand and Quality increases 4th team in the pool can be added. Either way Super 8 will be split across 4 pools of 2 teams each and if they are good enough would make super 8 round, Where they can play as two pools of 4 teams and top 2 from each can get on to Semi finals. That would be 12 matches in preliminary and 12 matches in Super 8 and 2 semi and 1 final, total of 27 matches can be finished in 40 days or less.

Posted by TNAmarkFromIndia on (June 23, 2014, 19:49 GMT)

If the Big 3 are truly responsible power-bearers, then they should take the initiative themselves to play the associate teams more often so that they gain enough experience in time for the World Cup. Play your 'A' teams against them, invite them for a long tour where they play your domestic teams, Include them in a tri-series with another full member. There are many ways in which they could play more top-level international cricket. The likes of Ireland, Netherlands and Afghanistan have shown great promise but just haven't gotten enough opportunities to rub shoulders with the big boys.

Posted by kentjones on (June 23, 2014, 16:54 GMT)

Certainly some pathway must be created for Associates to play in the ODI World Cup. It is probably the only way for them to play and evaluate themselves against stiffer opposition. Development of their cricket, or at least a proper assessment of their abilities, hinges on their participation in global tournaments such as this. Come on ICC, find a way to have them in the competition. There have been complaints by some that their involvement lengthens the tournament unneccessarily, and adds seemingly useless and irrelevant games to the mix, but then how else are they going to gain meaningful experience and exposure to the higher levels? The game of cricket needs to expand beyond its obvious imperial-influenced borders and advance from its status as a relic of colonialism and daringly step into the realms of globalism, embracing teams across all borders and thus challenging football as another sport of broad world-wide influence. How else can this beautiful sport grow?

Posted by siddhartha87 on (June 23, 2014, 16:49 GMT)

I am simply tired with these stupid decisions taken by this so called "Big 3". First England and India refused to push the inclusion of cricket in Olympics, I mean really Olympic is the biggest sports event in this planet and they are refusing it! The concept of t20 was to form a type of match which is short and high on drama and intensity something very similar to soccer which would have accelerate the globalization of cricket. But now instead of using it for globalization they are only using it as only a money making tool. A ten team world cup means there will be no Ireland and Afghanistan in future WC. I hope Ireland wins 2015 wc by beating Afghanistan in the final and this "big fat 3 " departs from first round

Posted by CodandChips on (June 23, 2014, 16:37 GMT)

4 groups of 5. 20 teams. The 10 test playing nations and 10 best associates. Or failing that have 4 groups of 4. 16 teams.

The associates have proved that there are no guaranteed results. Netherlands, Ireland and Afghanistan have all caused upsets. Therefore the tournament would certainly not be poorer for having associate teams.

A 10 team tournament is hardly much different to the Champions Trophy. Perhaps the ICC got rid of it to accommodate such a world cup.

The WT20 showed just why a 10 team tournament is so ludicrous. It's a huge mistake to continue in this way.

Posted by Baundele on (June 23, 2014, 16:10 GMT)

Not letting the associates play against top teams, and then asking them to 'grow up' is unfair. Cricket should follow football and involve more teams in the competition. Cricket is not spanding, and it is not because cricket matches are too long; it is because of poor management by the ICC.

Posted by android_user on (June 23, 2014, 15:37 GMT)

icc please take note of all these suggestions. it's worth. if not then stop calling it a world cup. it's just another cup I guess.

Posted by andrew-schulz on (June 23, 2014, 14:23 GMT)

It is more important that the World Cup be a credible event. Associates need to grow up and reach the stage where they are good enough to be there, instead of relying on generosity and appeals to spread the game to get there. We have pandered to the likes of Ireland, Netherlands and Bermuda for too long.

Posted by D-Ascendant on (June 23, 2014, 12:55 GMT)

I don't have a problem with this per se. I'd like to see the T20 World Cup expanded to 16, even 24 teams. The intervening two years should feature qualifiers between various teams, FIFA style. Every associate and affiliate member should be welcome to join that.

Posted by PrasPunter on (June 23, 2014, 12:21 GMT)

@Edd Oliver , WC 2011 is the best ?

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 23, 2014, 12:20 GMT)

@Amit Shukla, I don't agree with the 'super' group rounds as all they are there for is to raise revenue, why cant we just have an initial group round like Soccer, with the top 2 from each group going forward to the knockout rounds?

That way no team plays more than 8 games, and the competition can be completed well within 4 weeks, and it wont significantly add to the overhead of the players.

this way you can get minnows going through to the next round which will motivate them to improve next time.

Cricket can learn an awful lot from Rugby and Soccer in terms of organising a competition on the scale of the Soccer or rugby WC.

Posted by   on (June 23, 2014, 11:59 GMT)

Why not keep the World Cup at 14 teams as next year's event will be? After all the 2011 World Cup used that format and was the best WC since 1992!

This is yet another myopic and disastrous move by the ICC. If they were serious about making cricket a world sport then the World Cup would have 16 teams and the World T20 20 or 24 teams by now. Also what's the point of the World Cricket League (brillant idea though it is) if at the end of it all one or zero associates actually get to play in the World Cup?!!!

Posted by   on (June 23, 2014, 11:14 GMT)

icc must look at expanding the cricket world cup to atleast 20 teams from the current 14 instead of going back to 10 teams. the best way will be to have the 1st round of 20 teams in 5 groups of 4, followed by super 10 (which icc wants), semis & final. the 1st round of 20 makes associates happy as they play the top full member teams to try to reach super 10s, the super 10 makes icc happy. win-win for everyone. total matches will be 30 + 20 + 2 + 1 = 53 odis. similar to existing world cups, but good enough to promote cricket everywhere in the world

and lets hope that 1 of the associate members - ireland/afghanistan/scotland qualifies for semi-finals atleast in the 2015 wc. that will provide some shake up to the icc

Posted by   on (June 23, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

"World cup" with ten teams? Wow! Don't 10 teams elaborately represent the world? Is the idea to promote the sport or to restrict it? The game is dying.

Posted by   on (June 23, 2014, 10:41 GMT)

10 team world cup = pathetic! that only gives the world 3 knock-out games in stead of 7, which is what the world cup is all about! in football, 210 teams compete to be part of 32 team finals - cricket looks pathetic in this regard!

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 23, 2014, 10:12 GMT)

The reason cricket doesn't spread is because it is 'elitist', you need to be opening up the T20 WC first to 16 teams then to 32 teams like the football world cup currently is, 4 groups (increased to 8) of 4 then knockout, with multiple games played on the same day and even overlapping.

Also the T20 WC needs to be every 4 YEARS not Every Year, otherwise you just diminish its relevance.

The problem is the TV companies will not want a schedule clash between the larger teams.

Posted by   on (June 23, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

The World Cup is a global event. 16 teams should be a must. I agree, the standard of game falls down a bit, but if we want fierce competition between the top 8, you can look forward to the Champions Trophy. No point in stopping the associates from playing both of them. Without a global stage to express themselves, the associates will have nothing to look forward to. T20 is the best format for these associates, but ODI's have a rich history and must be preserved with. We have to let the game expand and build. Associates can learn through T20 but we can't let them abandon the principles of One Day and Test cricket, which are the premier forms of the game.

Posted by ladycricfan on (June 23, 2014, 9:54 GMT)

Any associates in the WC go through the motions anyway, wether 10 teams or 12 teams. They get eliminated in the first round. One or two individuals give standout performances. Other than that the matches involved are usually one sided afair.

Posted by   on (June 23, 2014, 9:43 GMT)

keeping rest of the world away from the ICC main event and what a foolish move this is to be, more members should play the world cup and like FIFA and definitely should have some structure to get the top teams in to the event

Posted by pragmatist on (June 23, 2014, 9:30 GMT)

The issue of context for ODIs is one that affects the whole game, not just the associates. Tests have their place, as do T20s. However the 50 over form is evidently struggling. It also seems to me that a 10-team World Cup is really missing the point of World Cups - just look at the upsets in Brazil, and the buzz that creates. Almost surprises me that the ICC doesn't just make the World Cup an India, England Australia tri-series...

Posted by msg90 on (June 23, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

An easy solution would be to require each Full Member nation to play a series of, say, 5 ODIs against each Associate member country with ODI status. This would mean that each Associate member country would be provided with 40 ODIs a year to play, not too many to fit into an FTP.

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