Ireland v Pakistan, World Cup 2015, Group B, Adelaide March 15, 2015

No point playing if World Cup reduced - Porterfield


William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, has questioned "the point in keeping going" for Associate nations if the ICC does not reverse its decision to cut the next World Cup to 10 teams.

Ireland left the Adelaide Oval defeated but proud after losing by seven wickets to Pakistan in the final Group B match. But their real concern was not that they had been knocked out of the World Cup, but eliminated from all future World Cups.

In this tournament, Ireland were eventually exposed by the paucity of their own attack and a Pakistan seam unit that provided a masterclass in death bowling.

But, in the longer term, they face a far more substantial foe: the governing body that seems determined to keep them weak; the governing body that is run for the self interest of the few richest members and offers no more than lip service towards the rest.

Certainly that is the view of Porterfield. Fresh from scoring a century against Pakistan, Porterfield renewed his attack on the ICC's decision to limit the next World Cup - scheduled to be staged in England in 2019 - to just 10 teams.

While Porterfield feels there has been growing criticism of the ICC's stance - Steve Waugh, Martin Crowe and Sachin Tendulkar are the latest former players to recommend the inclusion of more teams - he fears the issue will fade in the public consciousness once the World Cup is over.

William Porterfield signed off Ireland's campaign with a century - but will they be back at future World Cups? © Getty Images

In particular, Porterfield highlighted the irony of the scheduling of the next tournament. Despite featuring fewer teams, it will actually be longer than the current event. And, as he sees it, if the ICC is insistent on limiting the showpiece ODI event, then all the countries outside the 10 Full Members might as well not bother to play.

"I'm sure the ICC are hoping everything blows over in the next few weeks and they don't hear much from us," Porterfield said. "And then it's just as easy to brush it under the carpet.

"But I think something has to be done if they want to grow the game. Everyone wants to know what their vision for the game is, because if they cut the teams in world competitions, why not just have 10 teams playing cricket and every other country in the world doesn't bother?

"The next World Cup is two or three days longer than this World Cup. So if you've got four fewer teams and your competition drags out longer, that's not an excuse for cutting the number of teams.

"It'll be interesting to see what their vision is and what their thoughts are behind the 10-team competition and what value there is for other teams playing outside of the top 10."

The frustration for Porterfield is that Ireland have continued to improve and develop but appear to have future opportunities blocked. Even in this World Cup, despite not reaching the quarter-final stages, they have beaten two Full Member sides - West Indies and Zimbabwe - which is two more than England managed.

"The ICC is the International Cricket Council," Porterfield said. "That's global. They've got to develop the game. There's a lot of countries out there that have done a lot of work over the last number of years. We've shown what we can do when we get to these competitions with the minimal fixtures that we've had.

"I think when we do get more fixtures then we're only going to keep improving, and it's going to be the same with every other country. You've got to keep growing the game.

"If you cut World Cups from the agenda, then what's the point really in us keeping going? I think it's the wrong move. I think a lot of people have spoken out and said that it is the wrong move. And not just from Associate countries, from Test-playing nations and a lot of influential people, too.

"So I don't think the ICC can just ignore that. I don't think it's right. It needs to change."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricket Fan on March 18, 2015, 4:08 GMT

    Ireland need more games against Test nations. India, Pakistan, Srinlanka and Bangladesh can help Ireland. They are very attacking team. All over India people are ready to watch thier games

  • Dan on March 18, 2015, 0:27 GMT

    well.if you look at football WC there are certain number of teams from each continent.if FIFA gone for the top 32 ranking teams in the world,either Japan,korea,Iran will feature in WC's as there ranking are 53,56 and 42 respectively.Norway is in 70 still play in WC.but there are more teams that have the potential to win the World cup not even get qualified to play in football WC's as there are certain numbers for each continents.some european and south american teams could win the FIFA WC if top 32 team play in WC.but FIFA want it to be globalized.but cricket is not as competitive as football.but atleast can give a chance for 1 associate team from each continent.rather than going with world cricket league,organise a continental league for associates and get the top 2 from each continent and make 10 teams among which 4-6 teams get qualified to WC after a final round of qualification.

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2015, 17:48 GMT

    Cricket is not going to be popular if having such orthodox decision. I am expecting more associates to to qualify themselves and get into WC team. Cricket what it was 20 years back and now..very little change in terms of popularity. Think positive like FIFA...Hope less ICC decision...looks like not going forward..gradually going backwards. .

  • Rezaul on March 17, 2015, 16:04 GMT

    Just make a tournament of Aus, Ind and Eng three financial super powers (so called) one of which cant even win a a game against test teams. Then make a month long 4 round of head to head game. See how many people interested on it.

  • Rajan on March 17, 2015, 15:54 GMT

    Having ten teams for the next WC is typical if the shortsighted, backward-looking, entitled cricket management. Why not 4 groups of four each with the top eight going to the quarters? And if performance is the only criterion (which it clearly is not), how is England in, and not Ireland? Quite unprofessional.

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2015, 15:04 GMT

    I believe the 10 test nations should automatically qualify for WCs because they are already established cricketing nations and it would be disastrous for their respective boards if they failed to qualify. We want more nations to play cricket, but why take the chance of killing the game in the small number of countries that are already established? Take England, if they played like they did in this WC they may fail to qualify for future ones, and that would be a disaster for the ECB and the ICC. Cricket only makes money in the big 3 nations, all the other boards rely on handouts, making the big 3 have to qualify would be illogical and financial suicide if one didn't make it. Even Bangladesh, with its huge population of 150m cricket crazy fans, is an important market that deserves automatic qualification. You've got to be realistic, it's not just performance that matters. Somebody has to pay for this circus, it's not a Government funded charity.

  • waqas on March 17, 2015, 14:10 GMT

    So why don't we have a world cup of 12 team with 3 groups of 4. Three teams from each group qualify for the next round of 9 teams but play against the other 6 teams qualified from the the other two groups. The best 4 then qualify for semi's. The maximum matches a team will play is 11 to win. Totals number of matches will be 48. The total number of matches in the first round will be 18. Totals number of matches in the second round will be 27.There will far less meaningless matches and the low ranked teams will be out after the first round.

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2015, 12:03 GMT

    The decision to have just 10 teams for the next edition of WC is just ridiculous. Ideally it should have been a 16 team competition from the present 14 team competition as adding additional teams would have allowed creating 4 groups from which two team qualify for the knockouts. But unfortunately ICC has decided to take a backward step rather than a forward step. Teams like Ireland and Afghanistan will be real unlucky and unfortunate to miss out from the next edition. Also teams like Nepal, who have shown so much promise during last years t20 will feel disappointed as well.

  • David on March 17, 2015, 11:09 GMT

    ICC is the worst. You know you are awful when you make FIFA look like the better organization. How can you say that a country like Ireland doesn't deserve to play in the WC and ENG does, when IRE have beaten 2 Test teams and ENG have beaten zero. How can you deny the fans a chance to see a talent like Porterfield who scored a century in a knockout game, when his counterpart Eoin Morgan went out for zero. It's obvious ICC is only there to serve IND, OZ, and ENG. IND gets to spend 2 months in AUS playing and getting used to the surface, something no other team gets to do. Might as well just have a tri-series, why even bother with this farce?

  • Dummy on March 17, 2015, 9:49 GMT

    12 teams ideal. Reduce from 14 as UAE and Scotland are horrendous and just making up the numbers. World cricket not competitive enough to have 14 reams.

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