World Cup 2015 April 6, 2011

'Main reason is to protect Bangladesh and Zimbabwe'

ESPNcricinfo staff

Scotland, Canada and Bermuda have joined the condemnation of the ICC's decision to exclude Associates from the 2015 World Cup.

Scotland, who were part of the tournament in 1999 and 2007 and will approach the ICC to reconsider the move. "This has some legs to run yet," Cricket Scotland chief Roddy Smith told BBC Radio Scotland.

"I'm sure the 95 countries ranked below the top 10 will be getting together to talk about what can be done. Can we influence the 10 Full Members to reconsider? It's a long shot but we have to try."

The absence of a qualifying event for 2015 was what upset Scotland the most. "We're not arguing that it shouldn't be a 10-team World Cup," Smith said. "Our biggest concern is that there has to be some sort of qualification event."

Though the Associates have been left out of the 2015 edition, they will participate in the ICC World Twenty20 - where the ICC has made room for 16 teams - and stand a fair chance of playing the 2019 World Cup that, despite being a ten-team tournament, will have a qualifying round.

The most important reason for the ICC's decision, Smith said, was to protect a couple of Full Members who, he felt, weren't too far better than the Associates. "Behind the scenes there are reasons to do with the commercial value and TV rights of the competition. But the main reason is to protect Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, who aren't too much better than the likes of Ireland, Scotland, Afghanistan or Kenya etc.

"No one would argue that the top countries like Australia and India are far better than the Associate nations. But the bottom Full Members, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and even West Indies are not a million miles ahead of the leading second tier countries."

The expansion of the World Twenty20 to 16 teams was no consolation, Smith added. "That's great but it's only one of the three formats of the game and for most Associate nations it's not the main one. We want to be tested at 50-over cricket."

In the immediate aftermath of its decision, the ICC was slammed by Cricket Ireland and its players on various forums. Ireland had been the stand-out Associate team in the 2011 World Cup and its achievements included a stunning win over England, thanks to a 50-ball century from Kevin O'Brien.

Canada joined the chorus of criticism, with their board saying it was "very disappointed to learn that there would be no qualification process for the 2015". Canada were highlighted by the ICC for being a poor-performing Associate country in the recent World Cup where they lost four of their five games.

Despite disappointing results overall there were flashes of success, such as Hiral Patel's stunning half-century against Australia. Patel, 19, will be denied the opportunity to build on the experience he gained at the next event. "[He] will be closer to the end of his career by the time he gets a chance to compete in the game's marquee event again," Cricket Canada said in statement.

"We have had significant interest and profile generated in Canadian cricket as a result of our participation in the world cup, and this increase in our sport would surely wane if we are not allowed to participate in the world cup for at eight years or more."

Criticism was as strong in Bermuda, another Associate nation that played in the 2007 World Cup. "How can they call this a World Cup when it is only being played between 10 teams, what world are they living in?," Clay Smith, a former batsman, was quoted as saying in the Royal Gazette. "I think this decision is a joke and very contradictory to what they the ICC has been trying to do in the past.

"The ICC has invested so much money into the Associate members to try to improve their standards, but it seems like some of the big boys of cricket fear being embarrassed by the minnows."

The early exits of India and Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup, after they were beaten by Bangladesh and Ireland respectively, prompted the ICC to devise formats to protect the bigger teams, Clay Smith said. "What they should do is have a mini World Cup with the Associate teams and at least have the two finalists be given a path to the World Cup."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 9, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    Why don't ALL cricketing countries do what the soccer(football) countries do an have friendlies too see who is best have 3 games in each country for example Aus vs Zim play 3 games in Oz then 3 games in Zim or in neutral countries this method will need work to make it worthwhile but there is 10 official test playing nations to work it out

  • Masha on April 9, 2011, 16:05 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.!/pages/Allow-Associate-Nations-to-play-in-Cricket-World-Cup-2015/139928489408621?sk=wall

  • Monjur on April 9, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    Just watch the exciting moments BD is delivering playing against AUS now. Look at the temperament, notice the crowd, notice what the commentators are saying and then perhaps you would keep quiet if you are a negative fan, would appreciate if you are a true cricket lover. Have I ever seen such support from Irish fans? Yes, for football, cricket is a stranded game there.

  • Dummy4 on April 9, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    of Course BD id better than ur IRE mr.samedwards........u dont know anything about cricket......U r giving only one example and asking question...u First try to improve ur cricket knowledge and then give ur comments....Ya BD. Will become a good team....Because we have good infrastructure than u....We have different aged team like 14,15,17,19 , Academy team and A team....Who are producing many many cricketers..and WE have world class institution like BKSP Which is producing players like sakib, Razzaq, Mushfiq, Shahdat.....Our players became wisden player of the year in ur Arena......I am so sorry that u haven't much knowledge about cricket....

  • Dummy4 on April 9, 2011, 2:57 GMT

    Yevghenny@ Ireland beat england after England scored over 320!! West Indies or New Zealand or even Bangladesh and Zimbabwe would of lost but no, Ireland won! And whats more, Ireland almost beat the West Indies, the only reason they didn't was because of Asoka Silva's stupid decision. Ireland have more talent than zimbabwe, look at Dockrell, Porterfield, the O'brian brothers, Stirling, Eoin morgan (if England gave him back). Actually watching the games before commenting!!

  • Dummy4 on April 9, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Please sign the online petition, supporting the associates so we can see them in the next WC!

  • Monjur on April 9, 2011, 1:45 GMT

    @samwards - Its not the potentials that BD is building on now, rather structurised approach. There are good replacement for Ashraful ready in line. Pressure is often there for anyone, even South Africa breaks under pressure and they are called the Chokers. IRE has a bunch of aged players to be replaced soon and is there a good structure to replace porterfield, johnston, rankin, o'briens? IRE could not hold back Ed Joyce, Eoin Morgan even when they had the opportunity, simply because there was no future for them. It will be interesting to see where they stand in 5 years time. At least BD hung on and continue to improve. Winning two matches in the World Cup out of six - and loosing almost all the games rest of the year certainly does not prove IRE's worth.

  • Sam on April 8, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    @nazmul & monjur,just having the potential doesnt mean that bd will become a good team.look at your own ashraful.whereas irish are more gritty & competitive,while bd crumbles under pressure even after playing top-level cricket for 10 yrs.So tell me now,which is the better team?

  • Dummy4 on April 8, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    @Notredam: U've lotta knowledge about Associates but no idea about Bangladesh & Zimbabwe. U talked about winning percentage of Ireland & BD. But ireland won most of matches against Minnows except 4 accidents. How u can compare Irish players with BD or Zim cricketers? None of associate takes much wickets like Razzak or Price with good economy & average. Had associates ever produced No 1 allrounder in ICC ranking like Shakib? Does any associates have good opener like TAMIM of BD or Taylor of Zim? Haven't u seen Test Centuries of Tamim in Lords & Old Trafford against full power English bowling attack? Even Heath Streak & Mashrafi is far ahead 4m Jhonston or Bukhari. Bangladesh & Zim had beaten all big teams for several times in ODI. Last one year BD whitewashed NZ & beat England twice in Away & home. Zim also beat Srilanka, Windies & India last year. So associates have no match with Zim & BD. But i still agree at least best 2 of them should play in WC. WC should contain at least 12 teams.

  • Dummy4 on April 8, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    World Cup is The Biggest Event in Any Sport, Ment to Play By Nation's Around The World, To Prove Their Mettle At The World's Greatest Stage. Which Undergoes, A Systematic Process of Deciding The Nation's To Play in World Cup Through Qualifying Rounds.Qualifying Matches Ensures & Sets The Field Rocking, Colorful, And a Promising Event With Best Nations(Teams) Around The World Compete Each Other in Game's Spirit Which Guarantees Minimum Entertainment To The Crowd's In And Around The Ground. I Personally Feel Countries Like Ireland, Scotland & Others Must Be Given A Fair Chance To Play in Game's Good Spirit, At The Biggest And Greatest Stage World Cup. Note: Remember, Before Win's of 1983 & 1996, India And Sri Lanka are Considered as Minnow's in Sport. So, Other Minnows Too Deserve A Fair Chance To Play in World Cup's To Prove Themselves. Ultimately, Strongest & Better Played Team Will Win's The Cup. In Deed it Help's in Globalization of Sport(Cricket).

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