World Cup 2015 March 16, 2015

Dravid backs Associates for 2019 World Cup

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Dravid: Need to encourage as many teams as possible

Former India captain Rahul Dravid has put his weight behind the continued presence of Associate Nations at the World Cup, as he believes allowing them to participate is "the least cricket can do". Dravid told ESPNcricinfo that he was firm in his opposition to the ICC's decision to reduce the next World Cup, in 2019, to 10 teams, saying that according to him "14 is a pretty good number."

"I favour encouraging Associates to play in this tournament and giving them every single opportunity," Dravid said. "I just know how important this is for the growth of their game to be seen at a World Cup, the games being telecast Live back home in terms of sponsorship, government funding; its so important for them to be a part of this premier event. I think that's the least cricket can do, it's a tournament once in four years to try and encourage as many of them as possible to play. You don't want an inflated tournament, but I've always been of the view that 14 for me was a pretty good number, give everyone a chance."

Although none of the four Associate teams were able to qualify for the quarter-finals, they gave an encouraging account of themselves over the last few weeks. Ireland came the closest to a spot in the last eight, winning three of their six league games, including victories over two Full Members- West Indies and Zimbabwe. Dravid said that while he wasn't surprised by Ireland's improvement, the progress made by first-timers Afghanistan was a "great story" for the game.

"You expect to see a good performance from Ireland every time they come to a World Cup. It was great to see Afghanistan register a win, I think it's a great story as well, great for the game," he said. "We've seen some very good performances from the Associate teams, that's terrific for the tournament. It's nice to see that people have also appreciated those performances, while they haven't played to packed stadiums all the time, there have been a good bunch of their supporters coming in to support their teams."

While Dravid enjoyed watching the Associates in action, he was less enthused by the high-scoring nature of many of the games at the World Cup. In the 42 matches played in the league stage, the 300-run mark has already been crossed 25 times, while teams went past the mark just 17 times at the last World Cup in 2011. The 350-run barrier has already been broken six times, twice as often as the last World Cup, while three scores of 400 or more have been made, a landmark not achieved even once in 2011.

"It was great to see Afghanistan register a win, I think it's a great story as well, great for the game" © ICC

Thirty-five centuries were scored in the league phase, eight more than in 2011. On six occasions already, batsmen have gone past 150, while it was only done twice in 2011.

"There have just been too many high scoring games for my liking, it's one thing I have been disappointed by," Dravid said. "It comes down to the fact that maybe the wickets in Australia have been very good, they've been flat and a lot slower than people have expected."

Dravid believes that the administrators will have to reconsider the rule allowing a maximum of four fielders outside the 30-yard circle once the World Cup is over. In the course of the league stage, 100 or more runs were scored 17 times in the last 10 overs, while that mark was accomplished just six times in 2011. As many as 388 sixes have already been hit, while only 258 were struck during the entire 2011 edition.

"The fact that five fielders have had to be in the ring is something that needs to be looked at. I think it will have to be reconsidered," Dravid said. "There is no doubt that it is putting too much pressure and bowlers have not been able to cope with it. It's leading to these huge scores and I think that's not necessarily good for the game.

"We haven't seen enough close games, what really builds excitement is not really seeing people hit sixes and fours all the time, but what you want to see is a good contest between bat and ball, which would result in a close game. The games have been just too one-sided for me."

Gaurav Kalra is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo. @gauravkalra75

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jay Jay Tee on May 3, 2015, 22:23 GMT

    The ICC HAS to keep the WC at 14 teams minimum. They tried a WC with 16 teams and the following competition was resuced to 14. Why? Because in 2007 India and Pakistan got knocked out in the first round. There was no big money making game between the 2 in 2007 so to prevent this and other traditional big teams from an early exit the format gets changed. Very poor decision. So what if they were knocked out. They didnt play well enough and Ireland and Bangladesh did. To reduce a WC to 10 teams is small.minded self serving thinking. It would mean that of 10 teams probably all or at least 9 of them will be Test teams. The only way for associates to continuously improve is to play against stronger opposition. Qualifiers for the WC should be the host and teams that made it to the previous QF's. Every other team should have to qualify. Why should a team make it to a major championship just because they play Test cricket. It is a ODI WC not 5 day competition. It should be a place for the best teams to play. And based on the last WC, Ireland outperformed England. More associates please.

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2015, 7:21 GMT

    Afghanistan is the unique team which have the capability of defeating all test nation i guarantee you because if you see the infrastructure of Afghanistan cricket is although not well established as they are not playing in any league like IPL, BPL, SPL etc But they Still Qualify to the world cup and rise Just Only in 11 Year. So therefore I request the India, Bangladesh and Srilanka and other test Nation to kindly invite Afghanistan Players to Play game in your Home League in order to encourage them and boost their confidence that how to play in a big crowd without releasing the pressure. .. I also request to the ICC to give Afghanistan more and more Matches to play with the test nation.. I believe that with in One Year AFGHANISTAN will be the Hero of the Cricket. so please ICC give them more chances to play with test nations . Thanks.

  • Alexander on March 20, 2015, 10:00 GMT

    I think Ireland has gone about thing wrong to be recognized as a test nation. Firstly, Zimbabwe and BD that they are competing against and arguing that they are better than have question in fact, whether they should be Test playing nations. For Zimbabwe, everyone knows it's just the politics, which is playing up which won't last forever, and should that be sorted Zimbabwe will become far much stronger than Ireland. The question is do you want to add another suspect test playing nation to the 2 that already there, I don't think so. When Zimbabwe became a test playing nation it was because they had become very competitive against the big 8 especially the big 5. Unlike Ireland when given the same opportunity against the likes of India and SA they folder and people doubt them. I think Ireland is about 5 - 10 years from being a test nation unless their can become like Sri lanka, Pakistan, NZ or at worst WI

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2015, 9:20 GMT

    Great News ........ they should allow them to play with Test Nation

  • Amir on March 18, 2015, 20:22 GMT

    Kudos to Dravid and Tendulkar for speaking up. We need to end the protection scheme. Big boys should win on the field if they are indeed "big" boys. 14 team or 16 team is a good number. I think two matches can be played everyday instead of one to cut short the total time. Also the pitches need to assist the bowler or fielding restrictions need to be lifted. What made the WC boring was all this 300+ games that the team chasing had no chance of overhauling. Even battle between bowler and batsmen is what makes cricket exciting, not these flat pitches with high number of runs. The batting records don't mean anything anymore.

  • Anm on March 18, 2015, 17:29 GMT

    Why not ? I also in fever of more associate team to come to the world cup in 2019. Fourteen at least.

  • Cricket Fan on March 18, 2015, 4:00 GMT

    My suggestion is keep 14 teams for the world cup with two groups. Cut 50 overs to 40 overs game. So this will be more competitive. No change in 10 overs for bowler.

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2015, 23:41 GMT

    We afghans appreciate SACHIN TANDULKER and RAHUL DRAVID for supporting associate nation to play it it next world and advising ICC to help associate to improve and play with teast nation ?

  • Jeffrey on March 17, 2015, 22:28 GMT

    I hope the ICC will promote cricket and leave the World Cup at 14 teams or increase the teams. It is the only way to promote cricket in the world more teams eventually will mean test status and cricket as a great sport will grow. The more the better. Think of growth not stagnation

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2015, 21:28 GMT

    Keep the Associates in. I have loved the rare opportunity to see them.

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