ICC World Cup 2015

Decision 'insular and backward' - Malcolm Speed

Daniel Brettig

April 6, 2011

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A

Kevin O'Brien landed some huge sixes to keep Ireland fighting, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
Preventing Associates from challenging the full-member nations is a retreat from the 'global gains made earlier' says Malcolm Speed © Getty Images
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The ICC's decision to stage the 2015 World Cup without any provision for Associate members smacks of "insular, backward-looking" attitudes among the game's custodians, former chief Malcolm Speed has said.

The scaling down of the tournament to a 10-team event in 2015, in Australia and New Zealand, without so much as a qualifying tournament for smaller nations, has been met with plenty of opposition. The saddest element of the decision, said Speed, was simply that it reflected a persistent retreat from global gains made earlier in the 21st century.

"I don't have a problem with the 10-team World Cup. I think other formats have been tried and haven't worked, but I do have a problem with the 10 teams qualifying automatically," Speed told ESPNCricinfo. "I would've preferred a system where the last two full-member countries in the one-day rankings are challenged by the top two Associate members, but it seems that's not going to happen.

"It's consistent with the thinking I saw at the executive board towards the end of my tenure, but certainly not with the thinking earlier in my time, when there was a much broader view of the future of world cricket."

Self-interest is a powerful force at any meeting of nations, as Speed discovered to his detriment when his time as CEO was terminated in 2008. While making it clear there were useful voices at work on the ICC executive, Speed said that they did not, in this instance, speak loudest. "The decision strikes me as an insular, parochial decision that just perpetuates the 10 full-member countries, who are actually full members because they are Test-playing countries.

"They're not full members because they're ODI-playing countries, they are chosen because they can sustain Test cricket. But other countries are then excluded from the major one-day tournament, so I think it's a very insular, backward-looking decision."

Speed has just published his memoirs, Sticky Wicket, in which he discusses the politics of World Cups and the mixed blessing of India's dominant position as the unrivalled financial leviathan of the game. "It's the major operational benefit for the game, but it's also the major governance threat," he said of India's power. "It's the sort of opportunity any other sport would gladly welcome, as has cricket, but it brings with it some serious difficulties."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Masha-w on (April 9, 2011, 16:06 GMT)

Nicely said! If you are against ICC's decision to limit the next world cup to just the ten full member nations go to: Allow Associate Nations to play in Cricket World Cup on Facebook and voice your opinion. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Allow-Associate-Nations-to-play-in-Cricket-World-Cup-2015/139928489408621#!/pages/Allow-Associate-Nations-to-play-in-Cricket-World-Cup-2015/139928489408621?sk=wall

Posted by   on (April 9, 2011, 15:35 GMT)

It is time to look if there can be an alternate organization to promote cricket in non test playing nations as ICC is not there to promote cricket. Once the new organization gains a lot of members underneath them, they should gain the ownership of the game from ICC

Posted by Notredam on (April 8, 2011, 7:44 GMT)

Ireland in spite of all the obstacles fought till the end and was the best fielding unit and most spirited in the competition. Even gave eventual champions a good run for the money. They have produced players like Dockrell, Mooney, Johnston, Morgan, O Brien who can proudly walk into any side leave aside Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Also Holland had Peter Seelar the best spinner and Ryan Doeschate the best all rounder and numbers don't lie. Canada had baghai, davison. But now it's complete waste of generation of talent and after all we won't be able to see such people as cricket as a sport will die slow death in these countries. Without any funding even their governments without world cup to look for will derecognize their efforts and no funds will be provided by them.

What a shame for all those bright young cricketers who were looking to perform at the highest level at the pinnacle of sport.

Is it a joke that in the world cup of cricket there is only 1 team from Europe, 1 t

Posted by Notredam on (April 8, 2011, 7:43 GMT)

Hi ICC, Absolute disgrace to exclude Ireland from world cup. Hope it spells doom for the game of already dying sport. Look up and open up your eyes wise guys the game is popular only in Indian subcontinent. Rest everywhere it has bled to slow death. Examples West Indies, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Scotland, Canada, USA. Remember that oldest game was played between USA and Canada in 18 th century. Even AC Milan the famous football club is having cricket also in its name. The first Olympic had France and Great Britain playing. But no one cares. As long as you can fill your own pocket why it's development that should concern you. Ireland has played 60 Odi up till now and have won 30 and lost 30. Bangladesh have played 180 around and losing 80% of those. Same is the case with Zimbabwe. Kenya was the team that was really good in 2000 around and reached semis in 2003 but no tours after that were arranged for them and look what is the result of that in 2011. They were hopeless and clueless.

Posted by   on (April 7, 2011, 14:57 GMT)

join the following group to support the associate countries.. http://www.facebook.com/login/setashome.php?ref=genlogin#!/home.php?sk=group_206475386037830&id=206478076037561&notif_t=like

Posted by sneeky55 on (April 7, 2011, 10:33 GMT)

Seriously backward steps for the sport. But there still is hope. If the BCCI step up and strike against ICC, nothing they can do, because most of their financial gain comes from BCCI. They have to accept BCCI's decision. pls do something useful BCCI....

Posted by Hazzak on (April 7, 2011, 7:51 GMT)

Why should any team qualify automatically? There's a lot wrong with FIFA as well, but at least all teams (apart from the host) must go through a qualification. It gives every country a chance of playing - no matter how poor their ranking. If they aren't good enough there, then they don't get to play. And big teams miss out there too - I remember even England missing out on going to the finals a couple of times. It doesn't kill the sport...

Posted by International_cricket_clique on (April 7, 2011, 6:13 GMT)

Irish Independent yesterday!!

Not content with voting to bar Ireland from the 2015 World Cup, the England cricket authorities yesterday attempted to gag Irish players from talking about their shameful decision. In the wake of Monday's vote by full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) - including England - to restrict the next World Cup to the 10 Test-playing countries, several Ireland squad members reacted angrily.Free speech is not something the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) encourages and Ireland's county-contracted players were all warned by email yesterday against making any further comments.The employers' organisation of county cricket has the power to fine or even ban players for inappropriate behaviour and Alan Fordham, the ECB's head of cricket operations, has not ruled out taking action out taking action over comments already made.In the meantime, the ECB wished to inform the players "to be very careful about what they are putting in the public domain".

Posted by Shehan_W on (April 7, 2011, 4:16 GMT)

Associates with ODI status should challenge this harsh decision in the court for the justice. At least two associates should participate in the world cup as it was in 1975 and 1979 World Cups. I agree with Mr. Malcolm Speed in this regard, but when he was the CEO of ICC he was hell bent to make Australia the world champs. He wasn't an unbiased Cricket Administrator by any means.

Posted by   on (April 7, 2011, 1:13 GMT)

I agree with Malcom speed. There should be a qualifing round atleast for the last 02 slots, otherwise how can you call this as a worl cup? Wakeup ICC, you need to think bigger rather than only the commercial aspects!!

Posted by   on (April 7, 2011, 1:05 GMT)

I hope this stupid decision by the ICC is not cast in stone. It is not to LATE FOR THE ICC TO CHANGE THEIR DECISION' IS the ICC trying to promote or kill the sport of cricket? What a backward thinking and clearly foolish decision. This does not conform to logic or reason.

Posted by   on (April 7, 2011, 0:49 GMT)

INTERNATIONAL CRICKET COUNCIL Street 69, Dubai Sports City Emirates Road Dubai, UAE PO Box 500 070 Dubai, UAE.

Phone: +971 4 382 8800 Fax: +971 4 382 8600 enquiry@icc-cricket.com

Phone, fax, email or write your disgust people, the only way we will get this overturned is by a massive show of numbers, the ICC can not possibly continue with this if there is appeals from all corners!

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (April 7, 2011, 0:19 GMT)

Well Said Speed! What ICC did is utter rubbish. It goes to show that members of ICC DONT CARE ABOUT CRICKET! They don't share the excitement that true cricket fans have when they see a team like Ire improve the way they have and play as well as they did even with little experience.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 23:14 GMT)

If given the right encouragement, Ireland can become the New Zealand of the Northern Hemisphere, punching above their weight against teams with more resources. Canada can give the game a foothold on the North American mainland, Holland a similar foothold on the European mainland and Afghanistan can broaden the game's base in its' Asian powerbase. It's simply NUTS to exclude them from the next World Cup. Making them wait to 2019 will put the game back 20 years in these countries, completely undermining the great progress in recent years.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 22:52 GMT)

Sixteen teams. Four to a group, double-round-robin first stage. Each team gets 6 matches. Groups A and C play one day, B and D the next, repeat. Group stage done in less than two weeks, with a reserve day for each. Can even have them alternate who bats first/second in the second match between two teams, to keep it even. Top two teams go to quarterfinals. Then you can have a second single round robin Super Eights or quarterfinals, whatever you prefer, semifinals, final. India, Australia, Pakistan, and England should have an easy time making it through, due to playing minnows twice, and the Test Nations look good for letting the minor nations in. You're welcome, ICC, if you need me, I'll be by the phone waiting for you to pay me a few million dollars.

Posted by AARON.IFTEKHAR on (April 6, 2011, 22:11 GMT)

All ODI ranked national teams have right to perticipate in all format of World Cup Cricket, whether it is 50-overs, 40-overs or 20-overs. There is no right only for the test status countries to qualify in these tournaments automatically. If ICC wants to keep 10 teams in the tournament, that should be done through qualifying matches atleast between all ODI status teams, but not automatically include all test status countries. Only the two finalists of the previous world cup tournament can get privilage to go directly in the world cup tournament, but not all test status teams. We need to sue against ICC for this unfair decision.

Posted by Nerk on (April 6, 2011, 21:58 GMT)

It would be good to see the I.C.C. live up to its promise to make more matches between Associates and full members. But I doubt the promise will be fulfilled. Cricket is no longer a sport, its a business.

Posted by Swampy5 on (April 6, 2011, 21:15 GMT)

Agree with Speed's critique of the ICC. Realistically though none of the full member nations are going to support a qualification process for the world cup which could result in them missing out. The only solution is re-instating a 12, 14 or 16 team world cup.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 19:53 GMT)

It is a shame that the ICC has reached this decision after all the hard work put in by the associate teams. Protecting the interests of the full member countries like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, may be important. But even if the ICC is looking at 10 teams for the next world cup, they should probably in the meanwhile, give the associate teams a chance by playing them against the members in bilateral series. The work done by the associate nations is no less than the efforts put in by member nations, and you do NOT write off the time and effort of budding cricket organizations, since they have helped bring cricket to a larger audience.

I totally agree with Naveed Khan (comment above) when he said, "Just imagine people of The Netherlands seeing greats like Sachin, Dhoni, Ponting, Smith, Kallis etc. It would raise the interest level from grounds up".

Cricket is no longer the game of Lords and Dukes. It is a sport gaining worldwide interest, and will only continue to do so if it is allowed to

Posted by Vinod on (April 6, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

The only one word to describe this decision is 'ridiculous'. The true fans of cricket should boycott the next 2015 World Cup in Australia - New Zealand. How can a world governing body can take a unsporting decision that too in the 21st century. ? We all right thinking fans must protest the decision which is just full of greed and power.

Posted by m_ilind on (April 6, 2011, 19:13 GMT)

I don't see much wrong with this year's WC. The length of the tourney was okay, there was a certain level of competitiveness, no shock exits, an upset (or two) from the Associates, the deserving teams qualified for the knockouts, so logistics aside this format worked well for every one. I would suggest a qualifying event prior to the WC to pick the best 4 associate teams. The 50 over format is also better in terms of skill, and the development of the game than the T20 bash.

Posted by donda on (April 6, 2011, 19:00 GMT)

Cricket is based on legacy , what if like WI , australia or India or eng or Pakistan move down to #9 position , then what, You cannot omit these great nations from worldcup. They all are previous world champions and have legacy and respect.

I agree with Speed, 8 teams and last two play with top two of associates but thats not gona happen because of full members.

Good decsion to have 10 teams, i like. Why dont we play T2020 WC every year with 20 teams. have fun for all.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 18:46 GMT)

one of the exciting points of the last 2 world cups was that there were teams (like Ireland) who really wanted to make an impression to the world, and they did achieve that... i don't see any point in keeping Zimbabwe in the next world cup over Ireland since they aren't competitive like the Irish team although they are a test playing country... the world cup is an ODI tournament!! just cause a team is allowed to play test matches, it doesnt mean they're not fit for an ODI world cup!!

Posted by popcorn on (April 6, 2011, 18:46 GMT)

Zimbabwew and Bangladesh do not desrve automatic selection into the 10 Team World Cup. Both teams will definitely lose to Ireland in a qualifying tournament,and maybe Scotland too.Let's look it anothjer way : Ireland has beaten England and pakistan. Have Zimbawe or Bangladesh beten England or Pakistan?No.I rest my case.

Posted by WhatMustTheICCThink on (April 6, 2011, 18:20 GMT)

Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick. I hope the Associates take legal action against the ICC and bring them down.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (April 6, 2011, 18:09 GMT)

The WC must be with 12 teams. Having just 10 teams and asking Test countries like Bangladesh and Zimbabawe to play against associates for 2 spots will actually be unfair. B'desh plays throughout the year top test teams and gets extensive experience which they will use against associates and the qualyfying tournament will be unjust. Either do not give B'desh the opportunity to play top teams for 3 years before qualyfying tournament so that all teams are at level playing field before qualyfying or have 12 teams so that just associates fight for 2 spots. Having just 10 spots and having qualyfying is like fooling associate like Ireland who do not get oppurtunity to play Top teams like 'desh gets. If Ireland is given same oppurtunities to play top teams as given to Bangladesh they will be atleast 10 times better than B'desh.If BAngladesh was still kept associate they would not have qualified . Favouritism for B'desh is such that they just scrapped in Wc and got Full membership.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 18:02 GMT)

fully agree , 14 teams must play, otherwise it is not a world cup.

Posted by symsun on (April 6, 2011, 17:50 GMT)

With balls swinging more in the 2015 world cup in Australia and NZ, more chance for the subcontinent teams to fail in the 1st round itself and the associates have more chance to get to next rounds. Thats y to secure their financial bodies, the games governing body closed the doors for associates.

Posted by css2011 on (April 6, 2011, 17:50 GMT)

Playing only 10 teams is a bad idea and will not popularize cricket in its true sense. the problem was the format of 2007 world cup where if one of the minnow team came good against one of the 10 member team and this team loose it to another 10 member team in its group then the member team is eliminated. As was the case with India and Pakistan having eliminated. But I think the 2011 format was better and if a minnow team want to get to the quarterfinals then it has to come good against at least two 10 member teams. By expanding it to 16 teams into two groups will be better. The top 4 teams from each group will play the quarterfinals. This looks a better format. And even chance to minnow teams and 10 member teams. Now if there is a poor link in the 10 member team then it will be eliminated. Also if there is strong minnow team then there is a good chance to make it to the quarterfinals. We should encourage nations to play cricket than restricting cricket to just few nations.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 17:20 GMT)

Speed's comment is laughable. Why just botton two? Why not have a tournament of bottim four plus the top two associates? These will not work either. Just take the top 10 ranked ODI teams as of 1year prior to the event. The qualification should not be based on knockout tournament. League tournaments are too long and dilutes the main event. Use the Ranking!

Posted by rajatgupta_indianfan on (April 6, 2011, 17:03 GMT)

Well said Mr. Speed. Now consider this scenario - If Ireland goes on to reach semifinals of next T20 world cup, then what sound logic would ICC have to keep them off from playing the ODI world cup? As it seems now, performance in the events is no more a metric for being qualified to the global tournament as per ICC. This is shameful and detrimental to the growth of cricket. Ireland and Canada bring a unique value to the sport. Canada in particular if becomes a good team would help spread cricket in the American continent. Ireland seems to have a lot of potential to become the next major European cricket nation. Currently, the sport seems to be heavily Indian subcontinent biased. I am an Indian, but it was a bit sad to see an all Asian tournament towards the end. Particulalry because its not that the world cup became all Asian from semi final stage because Asian countries were too good. It had more to do with the fact that there was hardly anyone to challenge them.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 15:51 GMT)

Since Sarhad Pawar and Haroon Logat are incharge of ICC, it has turned into a regressive organization. Instead of eliminating Associates, ICC should have mandated that top 10 Teams must visit any 2 Associates in next 4 years. Just imagine people of The Netherlands seeing greats like Sachin, Dhoni, Ponting, Smith, Kallis etc. It would raise the interest level from grounds up. I believe that both Sarhad Pawar and Haroon are more into having an impact rather seeking prudent advise. Their decisions border on being retarded. Neither of them are visionary people, they are just administrators. It is regretful that people with little imagination reach that level. They are absolutely bad for the game of Cricket.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (April 6, 2011, 15:09 GMT)

Top players must speak in favour of includingatleast one or two Associates. Are they banned from talking against the decision ? The last two teams must atleast qualify. The qualification must be in Australia, not in Bangladesh. Also there has to be level playing field.Bangladesh should not be allowed toplay and practice by playing strong teams before the qualifying tournament atlest for 3 years. At the most play same matches against top teams as Ireland does.Same with Zimbabawe. Otherwise Bangladesh players get undue experience and develop against strong teams which they use against inexperienced teams.I am 100 % sure Ireland will beat both BAngladesh and Zimbabwe in Australia.As it is under Australian condition Ireland is much stronger than BAngladesh and Zimbabwe.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (April 6, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

These countries have ODi status and how can some one exclude them from qualifying for the ODi-WC while having this status granted by the same ICC. Challenge it in the court...... It is mafia like functioning of ICC..they only think of their own pockets. It is not sport any more. It's only business. money money money. hate it

Posted by cric_follower on (April 6, 2011, 15:01 GMT)

The lack of a qualification round is baffling, even from a financial perspective. The loss of Bangladesh or Zimbabwe should not really impact sponsorship money. The possibility of inclusion of Ireland is great for viewers. Everybody wants to watch them, so why not give them a chance?

Posted by bala-chala on (April 6, 2011, 14:58 GMT)

Time for Malcolm Speed to be at the helm again

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

Well done to Malcolm Speed for highlighting was the truth behind this awful decision CRICINFO should support all of cricket and continue to cover the condemnation of the ICC

Posted by MahanBharat on (April 6, 2011, 14:14 GMT)

If you are true cricket fan, thn post on ICC page forcing them to have atleast 14 teams in WC. Just say we want 14+ teams. We Want minimum 14 Teams in 2015 and 16 Teams in 2019 and 20 Teams in 2023. No, this is not right, we should have atleast 14+ teams always in world cup, we should try to do it like soccer. More nations means more fun and for got sake its world cup, don't make it only main 10 teams. Shame on ICC for not including non Test playing nations.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 14:10 GMT)

This decision will Omit a Word called " UPSET" from a game . As there will be no upsets in game from now with elimnation of associate nations

Comments have now been closed for this article

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
Tournament Fixtures
1st Match, Pool A: New Zealand v Sri Lanka at Christchurch
Feb 14, 2015
2nd Match, Pool A: Australia v England at Melbourne
Feb 14, 2015
3rd Match, Pool B: South Africa v Zimbabwe at Hamilton
Feb 15, 2015
4th Match, Pool B: India v Pakistan at Adelaide
Feb 15, 2015
5th Match, Pool B: Ireland v West Indies at Nelson
Feb 16, 2015
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