ICC World Cup 2015 April 6, 2011

Decision 'insular and backward' - Malcolm Speed


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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Masha 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

  • Dummy4 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

  • Siddharth 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

  • Siddharth 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.

  • Dummy4 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

  • Vinay 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....

  • Harit 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...

  • Martin 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".

  • Shehan 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.

  • Dummy4 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!!

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