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.
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