Associate news February 16, 2011

Players back Associates for World Cup

ESPNcricinfo staff

Several leading players have added their voices to the debate over the involvement of Associate nations in future World Cups, with England offspinner Graeme Swann asking: "Why would you want to take the world out of the World Cup?"

Under current ICC proposals the Associate nations could be excluded from future World Cups from 2015, when the tournament could be reduced to just 10 teams, but Swann and a number of other cricketers from Test-playing nations interviewed by The Wisden Cricketer disagree with the move. "Yes, of course the emerging nations should stay in it," added Swann. "Shocks can happen."

While a bloated World Cup schedule and a preponderance of one-sided, uneven games in the early stages of the world tournament have drawn criticism in the past, it appears that the players themselves would not like to see the so-called 'minnows' excluded.

"There's no reason why you can't have those teams in the competition," added Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait. "To play against the best players and sides in the world is massive and I wouldn't want to take that away from anyone."

AB de Villiers added that he saw value in the smaller nations' involvement in major tournaments. "It makes it more colourful and it's good for the growth of the game," he said. "Playing on the subcontinent levels things out and they can be harder than the best teams because their bowlers are slower and it makes it tough for batsmen."

Brendon McCullum was not unequivocal in his backing of Associate involvement in the World Cup, but did highlight the potential for smaller nations to inflict embarrassing defeats. "It's great from their perspective that they're there," he said. "Does it diminish the value of the tournament? I'm not entirely sure. They're in at this stage, so we should respect that. It's a little bit scary actually. All you think about is playing the knockouts, winning the big games. But to be part of the big moments you've got to overcome the banana-skin games."

Indian batsman Suresh Raina added that he believed it was only fair that the Associates play in the World Cup as they don't take part in big international series and need some way to learn and improve, and veteran Kenya batsman Steve Tikolo strongly echoed his sentiments.

"The World Cup offers us the chance to test ourselves against the Test nations which we rarely do nowadays," said Tikolo, who was part of Kenyan teams that beat West Indies at the 1996 event and reached the Semi Finals in 2003. "If we can do well, then we can really push our case to have more games against the bigger teams. They're the matches that everyone will judge us by."

The ICC have indicated that they are yet to make a final decision on qualification procedures for the 2015 World Cup and have made the seemingly placatory move of announcing plans to expand the World Twenty20 to 16 teams. "How the 10 members are to be determined is still to be decided," insisted Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager for cricket. "It could be the full members only but it could be not."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dennis on February 18, 2011, 21:06 GMT

    There,s no quick fix here but agree with most over a second tier comp involving the assocs to qualify for next WC . maybe the QF from this WC automatic qualify for next WC and the top 2/4 teams from a second tier comp played just before next WC to qualify. The problem I have , since the first WC in 75 teams teams like Canada , USA ,UAE have not developed their own players and are propped up by very average Asian,NZ ,WI, AUS expats . (Lets get real here folks Canada best players at last 2WC Billcliff and Davidson were only fringe F/C players back in there own countries at best) . . I agree grow the game , Remember Sri Lanka were an associate in 75 ,79 and won WC in 96 .ZIM are back on track and IRE are close to test status and Kenya have proven they can upset teams , and I wouldn,t want to play BD in QF and SF in this WC .

  • Dummy4 on February 18, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    they're clearly going about it the wrong way....

    the FIFA world cup.... is not so much about the big names as it is about the small ones....

    there can only be so many teams in the top 10 or 15 in the world.... then you have another 15-20 from nowwhere that compete against one another.

    the T20 format is ideal for a TRUE cricketing world cup... divide each part of the world into various territories.. let the betst 3 or 4 from each territory qualify and participate... ot may seem small and insignificant... but i think some sort of match like afghanistan vs canada...

    or kenya vs zimbabwe are DEFINITELY more likely to draw more attention than australia vs scotland

    india vs ireland.

    the T20 format .. altho i hate it... is our ticket to pushing the game worldwide... and for that i'll respect it... and support it.

    50 overs need to e moved from not so traditional venues i believe... eventually.. simple fact.. USA is going to have to host it... it did WONDERS for football there.

  • Dhushan on February 18, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    I maybe wrong but I won't be surprised if this decision is also to satisfy BCCI. As the ICC said before, the 2011 World Cup format is in favour of the top teams because India & Pakistan crashed out last time & there were huge losses financially but look at the strides CRICKET made. Isn't this why we're doing this? For cricket & not to fill cricket boards & their administrators with money? Let the other nations play & make it more competitive. Every World Cup there is an upset which makes the tournament all the more exciting & interesting to follow & it gives everyone opportunity to talk about it for the next 4 years & thereon

  • Andrew on February 17, 2011, 23:21 GMT

    Love the passion in this debate! @Mr James - I know sometimes "ex-pats" are an easy way to prop an Associates shortcomings. Places like Canada will never see Cricket as the main sport ahead of Baseball mainly in the mainstream. In places like Canada & USA, it will probably be a niche sport - but with their populations, it is conceivable that they could higher participation rates than NZ or Zim. They're worth perservering with. @kanerc - I agree with what you say, but its is not a case of it being alright for Test nations - as the Poms do cop a bit of grief at being a Sth Africa 2nd XI!!!! With regards Morgan - I think its fine that he plays for England in Tests - but should be allowed/made to play for Ireland in the W/Cup. If Ireland were to be granted Test status tomorrow, I think Morgan should automatically revert to Irish status. @Andrew B - fully agree, 16 teams (4 x 4), 2nd Round is QTR Finals. Every game has "meaning". Lose to a minnow & you may be out. Thats how it should be!

  • Dummy4 on February 17, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    @EdwardTLogan why cant you have it both ways? the reason the WC is so drawn out is beacause it only has 2 pools which consist of 7 teams! Look at all the other sporting WCs they only have 4 teams in a pool with only the top 2 teams qualifying. Cricket WC should be the same, 4 pools of 4 teams. This would allow 2 more associate nations to be involved and would shorten the format considerably as each team would only play 3 games in pool play. Thats only 24 games until quarters, instead of the 42 in this WC. It would also make pool play more relevant and exciting, as the test playing nations would not be able to take any games lightly, and would also unearth more talents from the associate nations who could then join T20 leagues around the world which would bring greater exposure to cricket in there home countries. Increasing cricket fan base and potential earnings.

  • Scott on February 17, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    The only reason the 2003 and '07 World Cups were too long, were because of the Super 6s/Super 8s respectively. The ICC could easily get away with a 16 team competition (4 groups of 4), still play 1 or 2 games a day, and still be able to finish the tournament well inside 2 months. The top 2 teams still go through to the next phase, but instead of having a second round robin stage, make it an elimination tourmanent after the the group stage. Sure certain fans may complain if their team is eliminated in the quarter finals because their team had a bad day, but so be it, life isn't always peaches and cream.

  • Ronan on February 17, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    @MrJames Wow thats a big brush you have there! and no shortage of tar either!

    I'd imagine the reason associates play non nationals in their sdie is the very same reason that England can/could play Morgan, Pieterson, Trott, Kieswetter, Prior, Lumb, Joyce, Caddick, Hick etc etc. The qualify, and they are good enough. For the record 11 of 15 of Irish squad are Irish born and bred, with the other 4 having made Ireland their home and contributed much to domestic grassroots club cricket.

    Yet it never seems to be an issue when a test nation plays 'foreigners'... Funny that.

  • Rohit on February 17, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    Its sucha a stupid thing not to include the so called Minnows. I would love to see teams from Netherlands, Oman, Namibia, Uganda, Caymen Islands, Denmark, Scotland, PNG et al. Imagine a Fifa world cup with 10 teams !! How dry and boring. ICC should be having more teams, perhaps a 4 groups 5 teams set up with top 2 teams from each group lining up for the quarters. More realistic in T20 format I guess, but still. I feel teams doing well should be given provisional ODI status. Case in point - Ireland. And maybe even Netherlands or Namibia or Scotland or Uganda. Infact the ICC bosses should mull a ranking similar to the FIFA rankings. Let the brighter ones participate in the domestic tourney of a permanent member.

    Like Canada/Argentina/USA participating in domestic Pura cup. Netherlands has already been participating in County cricket. Let teams from say Oman, Nepal, Afghanistan, Malaysia and even Hongkong participate in domestic tourneys of India or even Bangladesh. That would help !!

  • Ronan on February 17, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    @EdwardTLogan Dont be absurd - You can't call it a WORLD cup with only 10 teams in it. The CWC could easily be shortened by playing more than one game a day, every day! The ICC is being pure greedy, just trying to show the big teams more often. The reduction to a 10 team WC reduces the competiion length by only 1 DAY!! Thats 4 teams less, but only 1 DAY less length!!! You are right that its ICC greed for TV money but you are wrong everywhere else in your post. Associates are going make some big shocks at this WC starting with Ireland beating England. I look forward to you eating your words viz a viz "enough meaningless games"

  • James on February 17, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    WHat i dont get is why all the associate teams have like pakistan or indian players in them. Im all for associate teams playing because im sure they would love the opportunity to test their skills against the best teams in the world. But why is a team like canada or HK filled with pakistan or indian players

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