World Cup 2015 February 8, 2015

Ireland 'disappointed' with World Cup reduction - Joyce

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ireland's Ed Joyce has questioned the logic of reducing the number of teams at the next World Cup to ten, saying it will harm the growth of the game outside its traditional strongholds.

Opening batsman Joyce is set to take part in his third World Cup but said Ireland will struggle to make it to the 2019 tournament in England. The top eight-ranked ODI teams will qualify automatically - with Ireland and Afghanistan theoretically given the opportunity to progress through this route - but there may end up being no Associate involvement.

"We are very disappointed that it is to be a 10-team World Cup," he told the BBC. "We seem to be the only sport that has a World Cup that is contracting rather than expanding."

Joyce's comments were in a similar vein to those of Scotland captain Preston Mommsen, who said the Associate nations needed to be given more opportunities against Full Members in order to improve.

While Ireland have now been grouped with the Test sides in the ICC's ODI rankings, there is doubt over whether they will actually play enough games to allow them to reach the top eight before the cut-off date of September 30, 2017. The teams ranked from nine to 12 will then go into a qualifying tournament for the final two places, to be held in Bangladesh in 2018. Ireland are currently 12th, behind Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Joyce said: "I hate to say it, but this could be our last World Cup because it is going to be very difficult to get into that top eight and, with the qualifying tournament in Bangladesh, they are going to have a home advantage.

"I wholeheartedly disagree with the reasons for that. I do not think it is the way a sport should be run, especially one that speaks about expanding and trying to get bigger. Opportunities are obviously dwindling for sides outside the elite and that's not ideal for trying to grab the game at home. There is an appetite, but we need an opportunity."

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