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Ponting says fewer teams is better for World Cup

Brydon Coverdale in Ahmedabad

February 20, 2011

Comments: 158 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, believes the World Cup will be a better event without the weaker Associate nations, but hopes the ICC's decision doesn't hurt the development of the game around the world. The ICC has decided the next World Cup will feature only ten teams, and the Associates will have to use the World Twenty20 as their major chance for exposure to the top level. They have not yet revealed what the qualification for the 50-over World Cup will be.

It's a move that has understandably angered plenty of the Associates, who have also received support from leading players such as Graeme Swann, AB de Villiers and Shaun Tait. However, Kenya's capitulation for 69 against New Zealand, and Canada's struggle to contain Sri Lanka on Sunday highlighted one of the problems of adding the less competitive teams to the tournament, according to Ponting.

"That's a tough question, for the sheer fact that you need to be bringing some of these smaller nations on in the world of cricket," Ponting said when asked if the Associates should play in the World Cup. "We all want to see the game develop and blossom in different countries around the world. I've always been a bit unsure if World Cups and Champions Trophies are the right place to do that.

"The major reason for that is I'm not sure how much a lot of the teams actually learn when they're getting hammered like they tend to do in a lot of those contests. It would probably be a better tournament if there were fewer teams, but we understand the responsibility for the game to continue to grow around the world as well."

Ponting's Australian side will meet Canada and Kenya in the group stage this year, while Netherlands and Ireland are the Associates in the other group. One thing the ICC's decision has done is give the minnows something to prove during the current World Cup.

"It is so important for us to put out strong performances and show everyone, including the ICC, how much progress the Associates have made and send further strong messages to all that we are competing," Netherlands coach Peter Drinnen said. "We beat Bangladesh last year. We have beaten a full member in the shorter version [England at the 2009 World Twenty20]; other Associates have beaten full members. Whether we win or lose as long as the performances are there people can see the amount of progress we have made in the last three to five years with the introduction of the high performance programme."

Drinnen added his name to the growing list of players and coaches who think the move to restrict the number of teams will be bad for the game. "The gains [of playing against full members] are significant," he said. "So it is so important that we keep getting those opportunities as that only enhances our development and increases our progress. To have those opportunities taken away, obviously, is going to be detrimental."

The 2015 World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand. The last time the tournament was hosted there, in 1992, was also the last time there were no Associates that took part.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Dummy4 on (February 23, 2011, 18:02 GMT)

I have a question. What if Sri Lanka with just 20 million population dont produce best players(that is possible) they have now. That happened with West Indies. Look at what happened to West Indies as compared to what they were. This can happen to SL as well. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with their mamoth population can produce good players but the same cannot be said about Sri Lanka. What will the ICC do then?

Posted by Anneeq on (February 23, 2011, 14:23 GMT)

It is a no brainer, fair enough teams like Kenya get bowled out for 60 odd, but how can they improve if theyr not exposed to these thrashings? Didnt Pakistan get bowled out for 120 by a minnow team? The ICC has run this very badly indeed, there should be much more exposure for associate teams. Pakistan and India for example should travel to places like Nepal and Afghanistan and play on their turf regularly, to get the population interested in the game. their players earn enough anyway through county cricket etc, so lets not make money a subject. They should also follow England's example and integrate Nepal and Afghanistan into their county competitions. The Netherlands and Ireland have quite obviously benefited from it, im sure Nepal and Afghanistan will as well!

Posted by Aamir on (February 23, 2011, 10:42 GMT)

Less teams are better for the world cup: In my opinion the top 8 should directly qualified for the WC & the others have to play the WC qualified tournament & the winner to qualified as the 9th team & formate for the WC 2015 should be that of WC 1992.

Posted by Aamir on (February 23, 2011, 10:42 GMT)

Less teams are better for the world cup: In my opinion the top 8 should directly qualified for the WC & the others have to play the WC qualified tournament & the winner to qualified as the 9th team & formate for the WC 2015 should be that of WC 1992.

Posted by Andrew on (February 23, 2011, 1:29 GMT)

@ FlowerPower - re: "pass through" - tends to happen anyway for Scotland, Ireland & Netherlands due to proximity to England. I disagree that Zim are "too good" for the associates. They have an excellent 1st class scene NOW, after having it embarrassingly implode a few years back. I think the best thing for Associates + Zim, is to get involved in 3 cornered ODI series. Get rid of all this Bi-lateral crap that is being played. If 3 teams play each other twice, & the top 2 advance to a "Final", you get 7 games - which should be enough for the sponsors. Bangladesh could host Pakistan & Afghan. Sth Africa could host Oz & Zim etc. The ICC have done a good job with the intercontinental, but maybe they should more of that style of comp for ODIs. Perhaps before after the Intercontinental game the Associates play a 3 match ODI series. That plus being involved in 3 - corner series will boost their exposure/competancy BETWEEN W/Cups. (I think).

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 22, 2011, 11:16 GMT)

I think Mr. Ponting forgot the Kenyan team performance in 2003 world cup. They reached the semi finals despite being the Minnows.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 22, 2011, 8:11 GMT)

I think There should be 8 or even lesser teams. So full status also have to struggle in their ODI rankings to get a place in the worldcup... Leaving out 2 full ODI status member will nullify complaints from associates memebers too. This will also make normal ODI matches more worth as they are ranked for world cup entrance. As others mentioned that ICC has been very poor to develop the game in other countries, the strategies of ICC are piece of crap. The criteria of test cricket is simply too much for associates teams to fullfil, and over the decades we see that no new competitive team enter the arena of test or ODI cricket. Test cricket isnt the way to develop game in associates countries, it should be scrapped and only ODI and T20 format should be kept.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 22, 2011, 7:03 GMT)

I feel it's a very arrogant opinion that Ponting has. As they say if you want to be the best, you need to play the best. How can anyone imagine a player like Ryan ten Doeschate or Eoin Morgan those days improve by playing against teams like UAE or Zambia? Yes true that every country has to start somewhere but see I would have thought the ICC saw there was potential when Kenya made the 2003 wc semis and Ireland progressing through to the super 8's and so on. Every single test-playing nation (including bangladesh and pakistan since they were both part of india back then) were pretty much taught to play because of british power in all these test playing nations. Since there's no more British explorers the world cup is a great tournament for minnows to be exposed to great teams just once every four years, disappointing punter.

Posted by Cricinfouser on (February 22, 2011, 6:17 GMT)

I am not against playing minnows in WC after all apart from England and Australia all team were minnows at some point in History SL and BD being recent ones who have climbed that path.But few thing that ICC should take subjectively to progress the game. 1st team like Canada where none of them is actually Canadian.All are migrants who have gone to Canada to play cricket this will never help people of canada in playing cricket. Team like Kenya, Ireland should be persisted with depending upon performance because they have their local players. After BD I think Ireland is other prospective test nation but England should help them. Similary Zimbabwe and Kenya should be helped by SA. Pak can also play part in developing cricket in Afghanistan.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 22, 2011, 5:49 GMT)

Graeme Swann said it very rightly, how would you call it "World" Cup if only a few countries are playing. Just one question. if WC is trimmed down to 10 countries, what would be the difference between WC & Champions Trophy.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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