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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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© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 158 
Posted by   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 Jagranviz 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 Jagranviz 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 Meety 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   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   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   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 BudhaWillSmile 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   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.

Posted by FlowerPower on (February 22, 2011, 5:08 GMT)

Another "constructive" suggestion, why not "pass through" the associate on the normal tour schedule (or if travelling is a problem ask the associates to "visit" you on Tour), e.g. India toured SA earlier this year, surely a practice game vs Zim and India could have helped aclimatise and given the minows an opportunity. When teams tour England, surely a one off with Ireland as one of the tour matches can be afforded, similarly with Netherlands (most of their players are in England county scene anyways)...WI tour to include practise games vs Canada, India tours to include Afganistan, a lot can be done but simply isnt done, teams would rather play county sides or state sides as warm up, why not use these to expose the minnows? Two birds with one stone I say, people need to put up or shut up. You either want the game to grow (and do something about it) or simply refuse to help and preserve your status quo of an elitist members club. Dint Sri Lanka start as a minnow?

Posted by FlowerPower on (February 22, 2011, 4:59 GMT)

But how do they then learn? Look at ZIm for example, because of politics (and not sporting reasons), all they play is associates and Bangladesh, and the odd India and Sri Lanka developmental sides, how do they progress? Currently they are too good for the associate but not good enough for the big boys. How do they get better if they are not exposed? Then come World Cup, we get all this..."blah, blah, they are a waste of time", but surely you have contributed to them being so poor, haven't you? If people are serious they'd come up with better solutions, send your A teams to these "minnows", expose them then if they don't improve then point fingers, as is you have no right to point fingers. "We want cricket to grow...blah blah" my foot, I get the feeling there are people who are happy with the status quo. Look at rugby, how its grown, Argentina, Italy, etc imagine if all the big guns had refused to play them...food for thought...

Posted by bhaskar77 on (February 22, 2011, 0:47 GMT)

Ponting has made some astute observations on this issue. However, the current WC format is not that meaningless at all. In fact the format ensures two things (a) that a minnow country does not enter the next stage simply due to one freak display. They would have to duplicate it at least twice and then also receive help from other minnow teams. Also (b) a greater number of matches between the teams at the group stage often gives a better overall picture of the true beaters. The 1992 format is reminiscent, where even counting the total number of matches played, NZ can lay claim to have been a team second to nearly none. Compare that to 2003 or 07 where freak shows combined with external non-sport factors allow otherwise undeserving teams to progress.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 23:05 GMT)

In pure entertainment/cricketing terms Ponting has a point - the 4 games so far have been as boring as hell and no one wants to see loads of 1-sided matches. But there are several important things being overlooked. 1 - the role of the format in the lack of entertainment. There was no shortage of excitement in the 1st round in 2007, it was the bloated Super 8s that was boring. This time the first round is painfully slow. It shouldn't be too hard to get a first round over in 2 weeks. 2 - the role of the CWC in growing the game. Having only 10 teams will cheapen the world cup in the eyes of sports fans across the world. 3 - the massive effect on development. Not only is the CWC the single thing developing nations aspire to, the 50 over format is essential in developing skills in players - T20 will never produce proper cricketers in newer nations - only a bunch of sloggers.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 22:06 GMT)

totally agree! so wat if some of these teams gave a scare to the top fellas..tht dsnt mean u end up including them in the WORLD CUP...i agree its touhg on the minnows cuz they've got potential players and wat not but wat ICC can do is include them in other tournaments besides WC or jus have them play against eachother, cuz WC is a big stage and it should be only for the top teams..6 weeks long tournament is a flippin joke itself..i doubt any1 pays attention to the group stage matches cuz we all know the outcome so its jus waste of time..Good decision ICC!

Posted by 5wombats on (February 21, 2011, 21:34 GMT)

Ha ha ha !! superb comment @landl47 !!! But as we know - Ponting is not the learning sort - he's already perfect (not).

Posted by Vilander on (February 21, 2011, 20:44 GMT)

The problem has to be attacked with proper planning. The issue here is , 4-5 team play at a very high skill level followed closely by another 4-5 and then the best of associate nations who often struggle to compete with the test nations yet consistently defeat the other nations.

The plan would be to bring the lesser ones up one level. So simply try to bring the lesser teams into the domestic tournaments of the top teams, and let them get exposed to competing against the world class players of top test teams.

We should see improvement in their skills with time.

Posted by oze13 on (February 21, 2011, 19:47 GMT)

It's not fewer teams that would make the World Cup better. It's fewer games. Most of these early games against Associate members are tedious at best. A 6 week tounament is an absolute joke. Having said that I'd include more Associate members in the next World Cup. 16 teams, 4 groups of 4 teams. 3 Group games then knock-out matches for the top 2 teams from each group. That would mean a total of 6 matches to win the World Cup. No seedings either. Every match would be a cup final and it would give the minnows a chance of progressing too.

Posted by theRule19 on (February 21, 2011, 19:05 GMT)

Yes, I think Ricky is right in his assessment here in regards to how much the new teams learn. Probably ICC should make them play international test cricket with bigger teams and also with other teams just to give them enough exposure of the game which would help them to do better in the bigger competitions such as the WC or CL. And once these teams do good in the test circuit, they will do better in the One-day arena.

Posted by K-amps on (February 21, 2011, 17:45 GMT)

@SurlyCynic: You are correct... but forgot to add, "and then on began to develop a taste for Semi-finals"...

Sorry no offense but it was there to be said... :-)

Posted by enigma77543 on (February 21, 2011, 17:29 GMT)

I'm quite amazed by how many people here think that getting a hammering every 2-4 years in a few matches is in any way going to help "grow" the sport or make it popular. This is clearly not the right way to go about it; make a list of non-test-playing nations who were introduced & see how much this has "helped" them; it's simple, it HASN'T. The way to make the game more popular in other nations is to make their teams more competitive & that does NOT happen by them getting a hammering in a few matches every so many years which is pretty obvious. Ideal way to help them be more competitive is for ICC to strike a deal with test-playing-nations' boards to have these minnows play against their A-teams & domestic teams & those associates who're doing well consistently get a chance to play the test-nations. If one goes to the gym every once in a while hoping to bench-press 200lbs then that's kind of difficult, so one must gradually build one's strength by using lower weights first.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 17:00 GMT)

I agree with Ponting since these Associate Teams play limited overs cricket against each other and not countries like AUS, SA or ENG to name a few. How can they expect to develop their skills and compete successfully against the top teams in the world cup when they are not given the exposure to play competitive limited overs cricket against these top teams. Once they are given this opportunity by ICC actually scheduling matches like a normaly 7 day ODI series then maybe when the Associates do make it to the World Cup they can start winning and establish themselves. Also it must not go unnoticed but Associate teams do possess quality cricketers who must be given the chance to develop whether it be in batting, bowling or wicketkeeping. Just look @ Eoin Morgan who began his career playing for Ireland and now look @ how he as grown into a qualtiy middle order batsman for England and lets not forget the ICC20/20 WC match where the Netherlands 163-6 beat England 162-5 by four wickets.

Posted by craig.d on (February 21, 2011, 16:49 GMT)

The WC isn't a training camp. It is a competitive tournament designed for the top teams aorund the world to compete at the highest level in order to prove themselves as world champions. What as Canada learned by the trouncing they recieved at the hands of Sri Lanka? What did Kenya learn from their slaughter at the hands of the Kiwis? The simple answer is nothing because these teams simply cannot compete with the top teams in cricket. Sure a number of Associate teams have managed to beat better cricketing nations, but these were one off occurences that can be attributed to luck or poor form from the dominant side. Reducing the team will be better for cricket as a whole. I am all for the argument of globalizing the sport but what good does it do for world cricket if Associate teams are allowed to be hammered on a global stage? Does it boost their confidence? No. Does it help them improve their game? No. The WC is a competition not a training camp and the Associates simply cannot compete.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 16:28 GMT)

Ponting is right when he says 10 top teams only form the nucleus of world cup tournament. More small teams is extra stress on big teams for stretching the tournament too long and it does not help in promoting the game to the new smaller countries. Those teams can be promoted from other innumerable tournaments being played all over

Playing for records is no way to conduct a world cup. What one can do however is to have sidelined eliminated tournaments for smaller teams and winner may be promoted to the main tournament and if a team qualify for two tournaments then they shall be made permanent in the main tournament

Posted by Bluescript on (February 21, 2011, 15:32 GMT)

So what!! What is the problem if Kenya all out for 69. Do not forget the same nation once beat mighty west indies!!! They also reached semifinal in 2003. How many times newzealand played in the semifinal backed with their long history!!! Ireland and Bangladesh were reason for ealry exit of Pakistan and India 2007. So, just let the minow play world cup but limit their number of real ODI per year until they show they could regularly compete with top 8 teams (not top 4).

for the future of cricket, it would be better if the number of team to be increased to 16 divided in four groups. Top eight nations will be devided in to four (two each, for example 1,8; 2,7; 3,6, 4,5) which ensure a quarterfinal berth (if they are really capable). Always have a reserve day to avoid rain problem. A total of 31 or 32 (if 34rd place match is in equation) matches will be necessary which is at least 15 (or 16) match less thyan current format. So use your brain and then decide what is the best.

Posted by Dr.Qwert on (February 21, 2011, 15:03 GMT)

there are some really good players in the minnows & they need a chance to enhance their game against quality oppositiion. & its pointless just giving them T20 hit & giggle cricket. the likes of Ireland could easily be a test nation soon & the ICC should be doing all they can to develope them. tours of australia where they play the states & maybe 1 or 2 against the australian team. same with the county, & all the domestic teams around the world & let them develope in the differing conditions & quality opposition. & if they get test status you never know, the likes of morgan may return & the future quality players won't leave.

Posted by Bang_La on (February 21, 2011, 14:35 GMT)

Yes Ponting, keep all other teams away, let only India and Australia play. Throw the "cricket for world" concept in the garbage bin.

Posted by BulBul_Pak on (February 21, 2011, 14:29 GMT)

Need to make a better schedule rather than reducing the no. of teams participating in W.Cup

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 13:22 GMT)

That's non-sence what Ponting is saying. ICC has some 35 associate members. Out of these even if 4 top associate members join the world in the World Cup...whats the problem..? Actually, it diversifies cricket..which is good.

Posted by stormy16 on (February 21, 2011, 13:13 GMT)

I think most of you are missing the point. Its not that the minows are thrown out altogeather but they get a chance to play the top nations in the 20/20 WC - after all 20/20 is the best chance of growing the sport in to new countries such as the USA and China - do you really think those guys have the patience to watch anything for the whole day!!! Having said that I reckon one (or two) associates must play in the 50 over WC too but the ICC should also introduce an "A" team tours program which ensure all "A" teams get a chance to play home & away series against all nations. The minows should be part of this "A" team tour program whcih will ensure they get enough exposure and the rest of us dont have to wait around 4 years for the WC to watch meanigless games like we just saw. The minows must get a chance but not at the cost of devaluing the WC, I would rather settle to see the top 10 in two groups play each other twice than have the 4 minows.

Posted by uppalapatichowdary on (February 21, 2011, 13:02 GMT)

It would be good if we have 12 teams in world cup rather than removing all the associates. Then we can have two groups with 6 teams in each group along with 1 associate in each group because, we can't just neglect the teams which seek development from these world cups and it would improve the competitiveness if we have 12 teams as only two spots are there for to grab in world cup for the associates. ICC can't ignore the small nations like kenya,ireland,afghan etc which are doing pretty well in ICC tornaments.....so i think it would be a gud idea to have 12 teams if ICC wants to shorten the tournament length.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 12:49 GMT)

I think the issue is twofold here: The popularity of the sport, and the competitiveness. Popularity can be achieved only if the associate teams prove their mettle on a consistent basis. Trouble is, they don't get the opportunity to play much against the biggies outside the WC. My recommendation is to increase the no.of test playing nations to 14 and have 2 divisions with the bottom 2 being relegated to the 2nd division and the the top 2 from the 2nd division making it to the first division.This will ensure that all teams have a good chance to improve their game and at the same time,full members like Bangladesh and West Indies will have to pull their weight.The world cup selection can be done by selecting the top 10 teams from these divisions, making it more elite and the added exposure for some of these associate teams by playing in the test level will make them much better competitors.

Alternatively,the WC should be a T20 format as it is more uncertian than the ODIs.

Posted by Calvin_Oppy on (February 21, 2011, 12:03 GMT)

i would have thought that to increase exposure and experience you play the teams more, not less. If they get hammered so be it. I reckon though they should try and play these teams more against the top teams, outside of the world cup, and give them experience.

it would also mean for once New Zealand would win something

Posted by crpcarrot on (February 21, 2011, 10:13 GMT)

Imtiaz Ahmed said: " It is a world cup and at least I do not want to see one sided games in the most sought after tournament of ODI cricket."

how can it be a world cup when only 10 teams take part and the rest of the waorld have no oppotunity to take part?? i agree the matches are not interesting but if we dont support these teams cricket will die in the future.

personally i am sick of Pontings grumpy and arrogant behaviour.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 9:45 GMT)

A World Cup of 10 teams is hardly a World Cup though. If the sport/ICC are serious about growing and becoming a true 'world sport' then something drastic needs to be done, i;e something more done to help the associates. Playing the big boys once every 3-4 years isn't good enough. Have a second tier of Test nations - so they play each other in Test conditions. The ICC need to instruct the major nations that the 7 ODI series have to stop - instead invite 1-2 of the lesser nations to join in a 3-4 team series, like the old B&H World Series in Australia. These teams need to be playing the big boys more often.

However, the ICC are gutless - and only interested in making money and doing what the BCCI says.

Posted by MAD-1 on (February 21, 2011, 9:38 GMT)

there was an associate team in 1992. It was Zimbabwe. I think there should always be atleast one Associate nation (if not too). It is the world cup isnt it and we need a platform for upcoming cricketing nations to play test cricket. Zimbabwe came up that way, so did Sri Lanka (associate nation in 1975 and 79. winner in 1996). Bangladesh owes its test status to a miraculous (albeit tainted) win against Pakistan and Ireland too came into prominence similarly in 2007. Kenya made the world cup semis in 2003 (fortune and a timely boycott played its part but still they did win a few matches). They deserve a shot. atleast two teams.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 9:32 GMT)

Australia 26/0 after 8.4 overs RR 3.00

Posted by enigma77543 on (February 21, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

How about having 2 groups just as it is now but top 8 teams (4 in each group) only playing against each other in the league-stage while rest of the "minnows" only playing against A-teams of Top 8 teams (& against other minnows in their own group of course); 5 points at stake for matches between top 8 teams & 3 points at stake for rest of the league-stage-matches

Such format would ensure that, firstly, top 8 teams wouldn't've to waste time & energy on playing useless matches instead their A-teams will do that, secondly, this would still allow weaker teams to show their talent at the world-stage while still having a shot at qualifying for the super-8-stage if they do well enough; lastly, apart from the fact that minnows' matches against A-teams will be more closely-contested, these matches WON'T have an International status hence no more mockery of records like Gibbs' 6 sixes, Lara & Boucher's "fastest 100s",etc Why should Ban v Zim & such matches have Intl status anyway?

Posted by binkaf on (February 21, 2011, 9:11 GMT)

Ponting certainly has some points, I agree, but is it the solution? Being the citizen of Nepal, I want my nation playing in the sports' most coveted tournament The World Cup. In fact, to play in a WC is any emerging team and its players' dream & by this their dreams would be shattered and morals would be daunted. I don't think it would be good for the game itself either. Already, Cricket is limited amongst very few nations and only over half-dozen team are good at it. In this circumstance where the popularity and extension of cricket will head if minnows are barred? Should not we think about it much seriously!?

Posted by GG493 on (February 21, 2011, 8:49 GMT)

world cup should be a 8 team affair . Out of the test playing nation last world cup semifinalists (4 teams) should directly qualify and other 4 teams should be the semifinalists of another qualifying tournament held one year prior to world cup. this will give associates chance to play with test playing countries and a chance to beat them and qualify for the world cup and also keep world cup a crisp and tough tournament .

Posted by Samiya93 on (February 21, 2011, 8:44 GMT)

I think more and more countries should get a chance to participate in ICC cricket world cup as it will make the sport popular and enhance goodwill between the nations . Though these countries do not qualify in the first round , they get a chance to experience world class competition and can improve their performance .

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 8:39 GMT)

Ponting is plain wrong. You learn more from being hammered by New Zealand than by beating Botswana. Moreover Ireland and Afghanistan are able to battle Zimbabwe and Bangaladesh for a 10-teams WC spot. Will they be allowed to?

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 8:35 GMT)

Weaker cricketing nations should face stronger nations to understand and learn to perfect themselves, world cup gives them first hand challenge to learn.

So weaker nation should get a place in world cup to come face to face with stronger teams after all we have only 14 teams.

We want to see Team USA, BRAZIL, CHINA playing cricket in the next world cup.

Posted by Timmuh on (February 21, 2011, 8:23 GMT)

Ponting is right about the problem - the Associates probably don't learn a lot when they get hammered. He is equally wrong about the remedy. Ensuring the leading Associates get more cricket against professionals, through games against counties/states/provinces, A Teams, and national sides. Ireland, for example, might learn nothing playing against Inida. They might learn a lot on a tour of India with a few first class and List A games games against Ranji Trophy teams. After some tours like that, they would be far more credible opposition in a World Cup and that much closer to Test status. The basic structure for top tier Associates should involve these tours, plus lower ranked Test nation A sides. Once competitive in those games, the A sides from the top nations. If they can compete against the likes of South Africa A, they are ready for Test status. And more full one day internationals in the 12-18 months before World Cups - a tournament they should not be excluded from.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 8:07 GMT)

If India didn't crash out in the first round of the last world cup, there may still be 16 teams split into 4 groups. If the second stage was 2 groups of 4 instead of a super 8, that would cut the amount of games down and keep it interesting even if a minnow does make the next round (it would be less games than the current format). Every game would then count even with smaller countries playing, if a test nation can't get into the next round after 3 games they don't deserve to be there and upsets would count for a lot more. I can't think of any other world championship that allows teams so many chances to qualify for the later rounds. The rugby world cup probably has a very similar amount of mismatched teams, but thrives because the format puts more pressure on the better ones.

Posted by nusratv on (February 21, 2011, 8:05 GMT)

Have a total of 12 teams, the top 8 ODI teams as per the ICC ODI Rankings, then let the Associates and the remining ODI teams battle it out amongst themselves for the 4 remaining spots. This way the bottom ODI teams and the associates both have chances to make the final 12. The associates thus have a chance to qualify at the expense of the bottom ranked ODI teams if they are good enough to beat the ODI teams who should not be complaining if the Associates get the better of them in a qualifying round. Have 2 groups of 6 each playing a round robin with 3 each qualifying for the super six and then a final for a total of 49(30+18+1) matches, the same number as in this 2011 world cup. This format will give each team plenty of chances to come back after a bad game unlike in this world cup where the elimination starts too soon in the quarter finals.

Posted by chpk78 on (February 21, 2011, 8:05 GMT)

At the end of 3rd year after everyworld cup, let top 6 teams automatically qualify for the next world cup. and then there should be a qualifier tournament with 8 nations (including associates) to decide the remaining 4 spots.. and also conduct the qualifier tournamet in an assoicate country. so that cricket develops in associate countries also and they will also be happy

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 7:56 GMT)

I guess top 8 teams should automatically qualify and then bottom two should be made to go through qualifying rounds with other associate hopefuls and whoever comes on top of that contest, two of those teams should eventually qualify. 10 team world cup divided in two groups with Round Robin and only two teams from each qualifying for Semis. Also recommend a best of 3 finals. Like this we will have only 25 matches in WC rather than close to 50 and can have a 3-4 week WC rather than bloated one like 2007 and 2011.

Posted by harshacc on (February 21, 2011, 7:40 GMT)

Leave the associate countries out of the WC until they are good enough.Have the established countries A teams or U-19 Squads tour the associate countries every year.If they are good enough and they should improve with a dose of 2 tours a year have them take part in WC then onwards.So far I have not been bothered top watch one single game of WC coz I do not want to waste time watching NZ v kENYA OR SL vs Can.Banladesh is almost there as witnessed by their series win over NZ

Posted by jatheesh on (February 21, 2011, 7:05 GMT)

Surely this time world cup is going to be boring because of the minnows playing too many games. The System which was implemented in 2007 was the best. Two teams progressed to super eight from each group. Super eight would have been more interesting if India and Pakistan had qualified.

Posted by BWCric on (February 21, 2011, 7:00 GMT)

Agree with Abheek Dasgupta, the associates should "qualify" for the World Cup in as much as countries vie to qualify for the footbal World Cup. A league arrangement for them in advance of the CWC wouldn't harm.

Posted by Rajiv007 on (February 21, 2011, 6:48 GMT)

Partly agree with Mr. Ponting... 10 teams is fine...

Canada, Kenya, Ireland, Netherlans.... shud play each other and 2 teams will be chosen

In my opinion 2groups 5 teams each..

2-2 selected... semifinal and final...

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 6:48 GMT)

i think top 10 teams shud be given chances as the matches associates team plays with full member teams r xtremely boring n one sided.hence only 10 teams shud play wc

Posted by wiseshah on (February 21, 2011, 6:33 GMT)

whole year they play with big nation and once in 4 year they dont want to play with associates, so sad. i think ponting want boring 7 match series with same opponents

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 6:32 GMT)

My view is Aus,pak,Ban,Ind,SL,Eng,NZ,SA,WI,Ire,Zim are the 11 Competitve teams right now. So may be only 1 other Associates can be added that means totally 12 teams.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (February 21, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

When established cricketing nations like West Indies, New Zealand,Bangladesh do not get regular tours to major cricketing countries in the FTP, what is the use of promoting 50 over cricket for the Associates. The World cup will be a much better tournament with 10 teams, each playing every other in the league stages, before deciding the 4 semi finalists(as it was done in 1992). Harsha Bhogle will begin Phillips cricket extra on March 23,2011(the day of the first World cup Quarterfinal) with the words "THE WORLD CUP PROPER BEGINS TODAY", a whole month after the start. Why can't everyone admit it now?

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 6:21 GMT)

2007 "Minnow" Bangladesh, for all practical purposes, knocked out "Heavyweight" India in that year's world cup.Scotland and Ireland have caused a couple of upsets as well. If performances like that that inspire a nation to keep pushing its performance skyward, then I say, why not? It is also heart-warming to watch minnows pull off upsets, sometimes.

Posted by JUJU1000 on (February 21, 2011, 6:18 GMT)

you cant always under estimate smaller nations as losing sides...cricket is a game of luck and talent....you could see Zimbabweans chased Australians out of t20 world cup in 2007...so its not a better idea to give smaller teams.....-SRI LANKA TEAM FAN.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 5:48 GMT)

Totally agree with Ponting here. There can be other events planned for the development of such associate countries, for example, a tournament where the 'A' teams of the regular Test playing nations play the associates in a knockout format, maybe every 2 years. The world cup is the 'big show' and it should not be devalued by matches such as the one we saw yesterday between New Zealand and Kenya, and Canada and Sri Lanka. I'm all for the format of the 1992 world cup where everybody plays everybody else and the top four make the semi-final line-up. Would like to see its return in 2015 albeit with 10 countries. Difficult to have that format if there are 14 teams playing, which will prolong the tournament.

Posted by nataraajds on (February 21, 2011, 5:42 GMT)

Ponting is right..yestarday we saw kenya_NZ match, hardly there were no spectators and it was one sided game..Kenya just play 24 overs and by 32 overs the game was over. WC a pristegious tournament played once in 4 years cannot have teams like kenya ,Canada, Ireland who not even play regular ODI with TOP 8 teams. so what is the fun in playing then in WC ? let them pay in Champions trophy and regular ODI and when they are ready to play full 50 over with TOP teams, then we can include them.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 5:41 GMT)

Pointing is right, for new teams this is not the right platform to prove, new teams should be selected well ahead of time and should be made to play with test playing nations around 4 - 5 tournaments to that they will get better feel of it and improve their game before world cup.This will make to compete in much better level.

Posted by sabirshah on (February 21, 2011, 5:38 GMT)

IF Australia can lose against India in the 'warm up' match and lose that bad,,i don't think that any associate would be worse or better at the same time, You're playing against the world's most upbeat teams , Srilanka and India are the heart favorites of this world cup, Mr.Ponting you can't compare them with associates. Judge yourself with the performance against them and compare yourself with associates, 214 should have been an easy task for 4 times world champion, but what happened? Cricket is by chance, and all the associates should be given equal chance of representing their countries in the World Cup,,,this is a maga event and people would love to watch more matches, can't wait to see associates having matches with each other...thats going to be as good as ASHES or INDIA/PAKISTAN series...Buck up associates we love you and thank you for your efforts to make this Mega event boom boom boom

Posted by nlambda on (February 21, 2011, 5:29 GMT)

I am Indian and think that India should invite these countries to play in the Ranji Trophy. That will both help these countries and add lustre to the tournament.

Posted by rayon on (February 21, 2011, 5:11 GMT)

Agree with Puntas. Let's have 10 teams and let them play each other once in the preliminary round. After that, the top 4 teams go thru and play the Semis. Cuz let's look at it with the current system. A team can win the WC and not play a team that took part in the event. How can u name a Country World champions without them playing everyone that took part in the event...it is BS

Posted by le_stephenois on (February 21, 2011, 5:00 GMT)

absolutely agree with Ponting, getting hammered in a few games by the top teams every 4 years isn't going to teach the minnows anything, the ICC should promote a few series between minnows and the bigger teams every year and consistent games against the A teams, not just have them play a WC every 4 years.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 4:52 GMT)

I think Ponting is right here, it would be better to have more matches between regular sides so that the games are interesting to watch from spectators point of view. It is a world cup and at least I do not want to see one sided games in the most sought after tournament of ODI cricket.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 4:20 GMT)

I thing the ICC may remove all the associates from the next world cup and only 9 teams will participate in a single round robin league and 4 top teams reach the semi final just like the way in the year 1992 so that no teams can complain that we r in a stronger group or a weaker group. Also the matches has been reduce to Just 39. One more thing the final may be play as best of three so that the total number of matches may be increase to 40-41.

Posted by chad_reid on (February 21, 2011, 4:20 GMT)

completely agree with ponting look at canada and kenya they were both thrashed no contest at all we do want the game to develop further doesn't mean to have countries playing that will be no contest. Personally i don't see any of the minnows ever becoming a force coz only a minority plays cricket in those countries and most of them have jobs and play it as a hobby and now are playing at the world cup only team that looks promising is Ireland but i hope all the minnows do well this world cup and also bang and zim are not classified as minnows they can both be competitive

Posted by Aotearoa on (February 21, 2011, 4:10 GMT)

Well,we all are forgeting the excitment it brings to the people and supporters of these so called Associate nations when they qualify for world cup is big. That is what leads interest in the game for kids in those nations. Here in NZ we still dig big time that NZ All Whites qualified for football world cup and remain unbeatan. Now all the kids around wants to play football instead of Rugby and Cricket....So it is a good idea to have these Associate nations to play world cup.

Posted by Farhan_49 on (February 21, 2011, 3:56 GMT)

Why wait for the big events to come. They can easily get good exposure by playing games against bigger teams more regularly. Like football friendlies. Its disappointing Cricket is running after money every where and keeps on seeking profits. No one talks much when bigger teams play against the minnows in football. ICC should start a qualifying system in world cup like football. This will give Associate nations more chance to play big teams.

Posted by landl47 on (February 21, 2011, 3:14 GMT)

Yes, it's hard to learn when you're being hammered- like, say, losing three games by an innings in a 5-test series and having the other side outscore you by more than 2 to 1. Obviously Ponting hasn't learned anything from that.

Posted by Scgboy on (February 21, 2011, 2:44 GMT)

I think Ricky has the right of it , we want to develop the game worldwide , yet we want to give the associates a fair shake as well.Defeat and humiliation are two different things. lessons.Being totally and completely hammered, doesn't help anyone.

I do like the minnows there, but you have to wonder if this really is the best forum for them.Then again if u just limit it to 20/20 how are they ever going to grow beyond that? no easy answers

Posted by PakCricketistanLover on (February 21, 2011, 2:06 GMT)

i would love to read this comment tommorow - hoping zimbawe crushes aussies

Posted by brisCricFan on (February 21, 2011, 1:55 GMT)

hey guys, don't shoot the messenger... Ponting is saying here that he thinks ICC needs to do more for the developing countries but this 4 year get together doesn't cut it to help out... I like watching ALL games, including the associates and love the upset victory... but let's face it... with the format of this tournament, even the upset or two is not going to be enough to get an associate through to the next round... it isn't like the past where a couple of upsets and a better NRR might get you slipping into the next stage. ... ... the bottom line is that the associates aren't quite there yet (frankly zimbabwe aren't either) but we have no alternative solution for them as yet... ... In a packed future tours program all teams are screaming out that there is already too much going on... and you want to add some fixtures with the associates? As for them playing in domestic competitions on foreign shores - these guys aren't professionals, they can't just quit working to play cricket.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 1:52 GMT)

If you take the Associates out of the World Cup, the ICC is sure to not give them an equal opportunity to play those matches against Test nations some other time, so it's even more damaging than one would think.

Posted by Amu123 on (February 21, 2011, 1:49 GMT)

how it should work is,, all the new teams should play in regular tournaments with test playing teams,, for an example, in a tri series involving 3 test playing nations include a non test playing nation... then they would gain some exposure & experience with international level... then 2 best teams fron non test playing category get a chance to play in the WC.... the more the experience the more competitive they would be.... so, give them more matches... may be WC is not the platform, they are just jokes in a WC & if they create an upset then the entire worldcup becomes boring... remember 2007 (Ireland) & 2003 (Kenya in semis)... so, we only want deserving teams to play in a WC semis, or for that matter in a WC... we do not want flukes to decide the state of the WC....

Posted by hulk777 on (February 21, 2011, 1:47 GMT)

I posted this before, But not sure if it was published. Why dont ICC take only the top 6 team from this world cup as qualified for next world cup and the remaing teams should play frequently for next 2 years. Later have a world cup qualification tornament between those teams who are not qualified and associates and pick the 4 or 6 teams for the world cup. By this way associates have a better chance of performing and improving. I think ICC are worried what happens if a big team like India does not be in the top 6 and what happens if they dont qualify. I guess Hockey follows something similar to this using, so what happens if the fate of Indian cricket follows Hockey and ICC will lose a big member. ICC needs to make a bold move. It cant depend on few countries to run the game. Being an Indian I dont want Indian criket to follow Hockey but at the same time I want to see more countries to play this game. Game is important than anyone.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 1:44 GMT)

Take 3 of these teams........and have a qualifier for a tri-series and that might do it for them

Posted by kevihs on (February 21, 2011, 1:44 GMT)

Groom, Develop, Nurture some of the words being repeatedly used by those in favor of including the associate countries in the World Cup. Hello, its the Cricket World Cup the PREMIER one day tourney in the world. Not the place for all the grooming in the world. Both the matches played yest SL Vs Canada and NZ vs Kenya were a complete farce and unworthy of the billing. The 14 team format is such we have to wait 5 odd days between two interesting match-ups. If the ICC is really serious about developing the game in these countries, they should schedule more games for them against full members like a 3 match odi series and such more regularly.I understand that T20s arent going to help nurture test player, but ODI is also not gonna help. For that you need to play test matches. And for THAT, you need to first be able to compete in T20s and ODIs. And by compete I dont mean just show up for the match.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 1:24 GMT)

minnows do not deserve a chance in the premier world cup tournaments at all. they simply make the tournament long and boring. its like even the associates crave to only create an upset or two but they never care to say "we will try to win this world cup." they are only interested in trying to be 'ok' for the tournament ... which is meaningless. only the top 10 teams (and here i include bangladesh and zimbabwe) should be allowed to participate.

however, i do believe that associate teams should start touring countries and be invited for a series or two to improve their skills, and see if they better fit the bill to play. like a triangular series with india - england - ireland would be good to give them exposure. and if they win that series, then its worth considering them to replace one of the bottom teams in the icc like zimbabwe.

as for the World Cup ... no, they do NOT deserve to play by any standards. i'd rather see, 2 groups of 4, 4 in the semis, and final be best of 3. perfect!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 1:22 GMT)

I agree with Ponting that it doesnt help them by being hammered at world stage. They should get more opportunities to play bigger countries in different tournaments as well as there should be more games within 2nd grade countries. It will help them get better. Every country is at their best during world cup and that is when they are eposed to higher level is like sending goats to a lion tribe. By getting hammered by 20 runs or outscored within 10 overs doesnt really boost your morale, that too when you get beaten by 8th rated team in ten.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2011, 1:05 GMT)

ICC should consider the WC 2015 format on Gold and silver leagues. Top 8 teams based on ICC ODI ranking (July 2014) should participate on Gold plate single league and rest 2 bottom teams alongwith 6 associates contest in Silver plate same on single league format. The two finalists of silver plate alongwith 6 Gold plate league contest in WC Quarter Finals. This idea is to eliminate one sided boring games and provide good cricket as well as more opportunities to the associates. My two cents worth idea.

Posted by srijsen on (February 21, 2011, 1:02 GMT)

The cricket WC should be modelled the same way as the soccer WC...4 teams in 4 groups each, QF,SF and a best of 3 finals. Total of 33 games...short sweet and snappy. They did try it in 2007 when Ind and Pak bundled out, but then if Ind and Pak are not good enough to qualify, so be it. the soccer WC also throws up unexpected champions and everyone loves thst

Posted by bobagorof on (February 21, 2011, 1:01 GMT)

@NP_NY: "becoming and staying a good cricketer is a full time job". Tell that to Don Bradman and the other greats of yesteryear who played out of love for the game and had to take time off their regular jobs in order to play for their country.

Posted by smudgeon on (February 21, 2011, 0:26 GMT)

Perhaps if there are more competitions between the top minnows (Ireland, Canada, Kenya, Netherlands, Afghanistan) & the bottom members (NZ, Bangladesh, Windies, Zimbabwe). Some kind of a bridging tournament? Or even a place in the World Cup for a "best associate players" team (there's talent enough for such a team to be competitive)? Anyways, the more important issue I think is that, as someone else pointed out here, some of these countries doesn't necessarily have strong domestic competitions to feed into their national sides. And it seems the best associate players (think Ten Doeschate) have exposure in other countries' domestic comps. If the ICC is serious about developing other countries, they need to start investing in domestic competitions. If there's no domestic competition developing future talent, any success associates have at the top level is going to be sheer luck or flash-in-the-pan.

Posted by OCMills on (February 21, 2011, 0:25 GMT)

I believe that the better associates should be given more opportunities to prove themselves against better teams. Ireland have only played 12 ODIs against tests teams since the last world cup. Room needs to be made for these teams in the future tours program. How else are teams supposed to develop from associate level? I believe that at least 2 associates should be included in world cups. Also, if the qualifiers were last summer, I believe Afghanistan would have qualified instead of Kenya and done much better.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 21, 2011, 0:20 GMT)

I liked the idea one of my friends had: base it on the soccer World Cup, where ALL teams have to qualify, except for the reigning champions and the hosts. Thus for this World Cup, only Australia, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would be exempt and the likes of Pakistan, New Zealand, England and West Indies would have to compete with Ireland, Zimbabwe, Netherlands, Canada and Kenya for the remaining 6 spots. This move would encourage competition as then if an associate team is good enough then they can participate and thus we would be less likely to see hammerings.

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2011, 0:16 GMT)

@ topeleven I agree that the ICC missed the boat with Kenya BUT most of Kenya's problems have been internal. The ICC have improved pathways for Associates. Most Associate nations want the chance just to get there if you have 4 groups of 4 - the minows get 3 games, with 1 match against a side of similar ability. @Warren_Mc - I agree, I'd also like to add that waiting in the wings (having just missed the cut) - is the rapidly improving Afghanistan. These are things the ICC needs to consider yet they've decided BEFORE the WC even started that the Associates are more or less GONE! @ RJHB - I get your point but... um, isn't NewFoundland a state/region of Canada?

Posted by smudgeon on (February 20, 2011, 23:39 GMT)

Perhaps if there are more competitions between the top minnows (Ireland, Canada, Kenya, Netherlands, Afghanistan) & the bottom members (NZ, Bangladesh, Windies, Zimbabwe). Some kind of a bridging tournament? Or even a place in the World Cup for a "best associate players" team (there's talent enough for such a team to be competitive)? Anyways, the more important issue I think is that, as someone else pointed out here, some of these countries doesn't necessarily have strong domestic competitions to feed into their national sides. And it seems the best associate players (think Ten Doeschate) have exposure in other countries' domestic comps. If the ICC is serious about developing other countries, they need to start investing in domestic competitions. If there's no domestic competition developing future talent, any success associates have at the top level is going to be sheer luck or flash-in-the-pan.

Posted by Arunkum on (February 20, 2011, 23:12 GMT)

wats the use in playing 10 countries who knows cricket very well..it shd be developed to other countries in order to increase its popularity

Posted by HarshaCD on (February 20, 2011, 22:53 GMT)

As much as it thrives on competitiveness cricket is a game of records too. The glamour of big records, minnows occasionally getting the better of the big names creates events like World cups interesting to watch. It also adds to the build up into the crunch games later on in the tournament. Remember 2007, how many 300`s were scored by big boys at the beginning, but after a while it faded and batting sides never really got going in pressure stages of the cup. Therefore it was nice to see some big hitting at the beginning (like Gibb`s six sixes ).

Posted by RJHB on (February 20, 2011, 22:42 GMT)

I think there should be a couple of associates in the WC. It adds colour and curiosity to the event. But you don't let the likes of Fiji and NewFoundland play in the football WC just because they have a few guys willing to run around and kick a ball! Really give the associates something to strive for by making them earn a spot in the WC instead of offering so many places to also-ran countries.

Posted by malik.tanveer on (February 20, 2011, 22:14 GMT)

minows should b given a chance but the number of teams should nt exceed 2. coz otherwise people will fed up watching one sided games n dats certainly nt gud for the cricket itself.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 21:48 GMT)

People say that Sri Lanka was also a minnow that turn into world champion in 1996 but that a different case to Canada and Netherlands. In there are other sports which are far more popular than cricket, not like in Sri Lanka and Pakistan where no sports were played that time. To promote cricket The scheduling needs to be resolved. Associates need to play top-notch opposition, but there is little point bringing these countries in once every four years to be ritually humiliated and sent away.he best way to promote cricket would be T20 cricket ( it would generate more interest in that country (40 to 50% don't what is cricket in Canada), make them think it is as interesting as football and basketball) ICC should help them putting a proper structure of club cricket by funding them every year

Posted by K-amps on (February 20, 2011, 21:38 GMT)

Need to groom other countries too. 2011 format looks good enough.

Punter is just scared of losing to a minnow :-)

Posted by sidhaarth on (February 20, 2011, 21:16 GMT)

I totally agree with ricky ponting there should not be useless teams!!

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 20:57 GMT)

I think the format used in the 1999 world cup was da best.. 12 teams divided in 2 groups competing with each other,the top 6 teams(3 from each group) qualifying for the super sixes..only qualifyng for the next round wasnt everything as the teams carried points as wel as the net run rate according to their standings at the group stage..it made every match an important one..and there wer less number of matches which had no interest as wel as significance..it allowed the teams performing well in the first round to carry the advantage into the second round..

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 20:51 GMT)

In 1992 Zimbabwe was a NON playing test Nation they got test status a few months later so thats not ture

Posted by dalok on (February 20, 2011, 20:49 GMT)

Disagree with Ponting. You can learn a lot in defeat too. Perhaps you learn a lot more in defeat.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 20:41 GMT)

ICC and Pointing are absolutely right as todays matches proved when Kenya and Canada got hammered, with Kenya getting out for a paltry 68 runs and the Kiwis, just needing 6 overs to win. When the top teams play such third raters, uneal records are created which are not justified. The standard of the Kenya and Canada teams was not even worthy of the local club teams in India and it is just a joke grouping them with world class cricketing nations.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (February 20, 2011, 20:24 GMT)

Jarron White: It did not take South Africa 'two or three World Cups to start winning', they reached the Semis in their first World Cup in 1992.

Posted by thenoostar on (February 20, 2011, 20:23 GMT)

Zimbabwe were at the 1992 world cup and were not a test nation at that stage. They did have some fine players in their squad and put up some good displays. Kenya are going backwards but have an active local cricket community. Canada seems to be based on expatiate Caribbean and South East Asian players and others based offshore with Canadian heritage. Ireland produces some good local players as well as players with Irish heritage. The Netherlands have some local players and some South African players. The teams that have a potential future as test nations are Afghanistan, Ireland. They have a wee way to go but if they can keep improving at the same rate and build their local following they will be a chance. If Kenya can get back on track, they could also be a chance once they clear out some of the older guys.

Posted by arun.oscar on (February 20, 2011, 20:15 GMT)

The idea of having top 10 teams is correct considering the fact that the matches between top teams and minnows are lop-sided and boring. Let all the teams in the world play competitive cricket and tour other nations. But when it comes to World Cup, organize a WC qualifiers which will decide which are the ten teams qualify for the WC just like Football WC. It'd be really interesting then..

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 20:12 GMT)

I agree with Ponting. The ICC should instead organize bilateral series between a test playing team and an associate team. Infact each test playing team should play at least one 5 match ODI + test series with at least one associate team per year.

Posted by asthomas911 on (February 20, 2011, 20:06 GMT)

I think the minnows can have something like a Division 1 and Division 2 and let them prove consistently that they can become better than Bangladesh, then they get a chance to prove themselves in the big league

Posted by Judas503 on (February 20, 2011, 19:55 GMT)

How will the associates perform well if they do not regularly play against test playing nations? ICC needs to look into these matters. The associates should play atleast two series against good teams to develop their game.

Posted by cricnair on (February 20, 2011, 19:33 GMT)

I agree with Pointing on this. But I do think all test playing nations should help by playing them at least once a year in their home grounds. This will make sure those team gets good exposure to test playing nation level competition. Every win should be counted towards their qualification towards world. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by jaguarprince on (February 20, 2011, 19:26 GMT)

With the Twenty over format affecting the longer version guess to play top ten teams is a good move to keep the tournament more competitive and interesting.

Posted by C.Knight on (February 20, 2011, 19:18 GMT)

@splites What experience are you talking about? The one you get every 4 years in the world cup? What use is it?, how many of the players will still remain for the next world cup to use that? No games are played between associates and permanent members the rest of the four years, which if played would be much more beneficial to associates.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 19:14 GMT)

Agree with Pointing's comment. Not every country that can play cricket should be allowed to participate.Rules to qualify should be stringent , maybe on the lines of FIFA. WC tournaments are loosing their lustre with teams like Canada,ireland,kenya,zimbabwe.

Posted by khalidSami on (February 20, 2011, 19:12 GMT)

I agree with Ponting that WC should be among 10 members. Currently, the tournament is too long with too many bad games. We had 3 games so far and all of them ended to be one sided, no way an Associate country learns anything from being blasted in this manner, plus terrible from the spectators perspective. I think the better decision for ICC is to have an Junior WC Tournament that includes teams from Associate countries and "A" team from test playing nations, taking place in an Associate Country/ies. That kind of tournament will boost cricket development in the Associate countries.

Posted by timmytimmytimmytimmy on (February 20, 2011, 19:00 GMT)

good decision...let them play in the 20/twenty wc. it´s on every 2 years so it´s good for their development and they may actually win some games. here it just means that the first 42 games are useless

Posted by udhab619 on (February 20, 2011, 18:56 GMT)

10 teams in the world cup. team ranked 6th to 10 in icc odi ranking + wcl div 1 six teams play in world cup qualifier with four spots in world cup at stake.we can give these qualifier matches one day status which further increases the importance of these matches.

Posted by Arthaurian on (February 20, 2011, 18:50 GMT)

Really now people this only makes sense.

Posted by udhab619 on (February 20, 2011, 18:49 GMT)

although i am well wisher of associative country, i think the icc decision to limit the no of teams to 10 is good.the group matches in this wc do not have much significance because there are four strong teams in each group and they all will progress to next round.with 10 countries all the matches will be of high importance becoz two or three strong teams will be sure to be out in group stage only.so wc will be more interesting.regarding the development of associative i think they should be regularly given a five match or a long series with A teams of strong nations.i still think they are not prepared to take the top sides. if a team starts to defeat the a sides very frequently then only they shud be given one day series with strong nation.present world cricket league is very good concept but the cycle should be completed in only one year giving these developing countries more chance to play among themselves more frequently.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 18:39 GMT)

Was Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and India always a good side? No, in fact it usually took two or three world cups for them to start winning.

The World Cup should have two associate teams allowed to qualify.

Posted by Warren_Mc on (February 20, 2011, 18:32 GMT)

I'd think it would be best if everyone reserved judgement and waited until the tournament finished before Judging the so called 'lesser nations'. A lot of the media have already 'jumped the gun' and judged the associates after two poor performances from Kenya and Canada today. However I believe there will be a few surprise results yet particularly from Ireland who, thanks to having the opportunity in previous WC, now have the majority of their players on professional full time contracts. This is only good for developing the game in Ireland and will allow the promising and emerging young players like Paul Stirling and George Dockrell to make an impact on the World stage. I think it is a shocking and short sighted decision by the ICC to reduce the teams to 10 for 2015. If they want cricket to progress worldwide then associate countries need all the exposure of a WC to create more public/media interest. It looks like it will be left to Ireland to prove the ICC wrong....yet again

Posted by Robster1 on (February 20, 2011, 18:30 GMT)

Common sense from Ponting. And here's hoping that the ICC revert the next World Cup back to the 1992 version, with a single group of ten teams with all playing all once and then the top four going through to thr semi finals. As well as shortening an overly long World Cup, this wouldalso ensure that every game is highly competitive, unlike the current tournament.

Posted by ahmadzubeee on (February 20, 2011, 18:13 GMT)

World cup is a mega event so I believe only the top cricketing nations should be participating in the tournament. We as viewers want to see competitive matches being played at the biggest tournament. No doubt ICC should continue to promote and improve the level of cricket in associate nations but it should be mindful of the fact that the world cup is not an ordinary tournament.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 18:11 GMT)

Kick them out or have no World Cup at all. As big a cricket fan as I am, this is the last time I watch a World Cup where the first competitive game is only a week after the opening ceremony (SA v WI). We can not drag the soul out of cricket for 6 weeks just to end up with a three match shootout anyway. Then we may as well stick to ICC knockout/trophy and have it over in a week or better just invite every single associate and have a 64 team knockout. I vote for 10 team league, with the top 2 in the final. Leave the rubbish for T20.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 18:07 GMT)

this kind of thing never happened in FIFA world cup if a team is qualified then they deserve to play the WORLD CUP as the name suggest its A WORLD CUP

Posted by wiseshah on (February 20, 2011, 17:58 GMT)

thats why we need format like 2007, so some teams will be knock out, it might be india or pakistan like 2007 but accept the fact.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 17:53 GMT)

I agree with the ICC and Ponting here. If the Associates wanna play, they will have to go through a tough and rigorous qualification schedule. This can have the two low-rung teams Bangladesh and Zimbabwe[they are minnows even though they may have Test status] trying to earn a place by entering a qualification round with Ireland, Netherlands, Afghans and the likes. The teams that reach the finals there,shall qualify for the World Cup.

For the Associates,the ICC ought to arrange more bilateral tours, maybe include them in a series or two. The World Cup is definitely not the place to help them.

Posted by topeleven on (February 20, 2011, 17:33 GMT)

It was a disappointing day of cricket in the worldcup as both Kenya and Canada lost by a huge margin. With this results i would say only test playing nations should only play World cup and Champions trophy. It may sound harsh but the reality is its killing the spirit of the minnows completely. Take kenya for example they were performing well in the early part of 2000 but lack of matches made them to cut a sorry figure in this worldcup. if minnows have to perform well there should be a promising national academy to groom players of all ages. One thing ICC can really do is it can ask countries like India, Australia England to invite the associate members and participate in their domestic circuit representing their country and play some competitive cricket. Associate members should play among themselves often at home and away.

Posted by ahmadzubeee on (February 20, 2011, 17:32 GMT)

I think they should be given a chance in tournaments other than the world cup. The world cup is a big stage where we see even the most experienced sides collapse under the great pressure. So it is unfair to play associate teams in such big tournament. Infact it would be better if these teams play test matches among themselves so they could improve their techniques and the toughest teams could come up to the highest level.

Posted by calvin_n on (February 20, 2011, 17:01 GMT)

Ponting please pray that your team does not end up being hammered like the rest of the associate nations.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 16:54 GMT)

I think ICC can start world cup qualifying tournament among all the teams except TWO finalist of this world cup. Top eight qualified teams from qualifying tournament will attend in the next worldcup. Hope AUS will attend in the qualifying match if they fail to go final this year. This way world cup will be played with only ten teams.

Posted by splites on (February 20, 2011, 16:53 GMT)

I can never agree with this. It's absolute rubbish. How can they learn if they don't get the experience? Sure the results may be disappointing, but we are acting as if bowlers from established teams don't get smacked around at over 6 and 7 an over or 5 or 6 wickets don't fall for under 100 by batting sides. The aim is to develop the game, and as far as results go, I prefer the Associate teams to go down playing hard and getting the experience than for then to be only playing against themselves and not testing their skills against bigger sides. As for "learning", i'm sure Kenya learned when they blew away Sri Lanka for 157, defending 210. I am positive that Ireland learned when they seamed Pakistan out for 132 and then knocked off the runs. No one can tell me that the manner in which those games were won that these teams take away from the value of the WC. When they play with heart and acheive goals that may mean nothing to us, for me, cricket wins.

Posted by Nampally on (February 20, 2011, 16:49 GMT)

ICC's main mandate should be to develop & popularize the game of Cricket right round the world besides being a regulatory body. In the changing world, the role of ICC also needs to be examined. Do we really need ICC if it kills the sport? Follow the example of Olympics in terms of Motto and high ideals.Olympic games are the most popular spectacle & sport in the world and its longetivity proves it. It is truly the WORLD sport. If Cricket WORLD cup is to be played, make it accessible to as many countries as possible. Each country finances a sport depending upon its participation. If for example Canada & Kenya do not participate in the WC, they will have little or no funding and the sport will die out. If it does participate, each year its funding will go up progressively and the sport will flourish. So Ponting must consider this for development the game, even it is rather poor currently. By the way, Canada nearly beat England in the warm up game.

Posted by desibabu90 on (February 20, 2011, 16:48 GMT)

for once i agree with ponting on something...the world is just a waste if there are associate teams competing..the games are scheduled every 6/7 days and if there are two or three associates in the group stages there might be a gap of over two weeks before a team gets to play another competitive match...ICC has done something right for the first time..

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 16:48 GMT)

I agree that it is a bit unfair for the associates to play in such a big tournament. I would rather like to see more of the associates playing in a type of tri-nations tournament i.e. Australia tours England let one or two associates join them in a one day tournament. best two teams goes and play in the finals. Do this whenever there is a one day competition. In this way the associates gets more exposure to top level cricket and they may then improve on their World Cup performances.

Posted by NP_NY on (February 20, 2011, 16:46 GMT)

@Sri_Lankan_pride_50: The difference is, there has always been a massive interest in cricket in SL and Bangla even when they were very weak, probably because there are no other sports to follow. The same is not true for Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, etc.. Also, becoming and staying a good cricketer is a full time job. Some of the players in these associate teams have raw talent, but cricket is still a part-time activity for them.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 16:36 GMT)

I am really disappointed by ICC decision. It is good to have competitive cricket in World Cup as that is what fans want to see but at the same time ICC need to take some step to improve the standard of associates for larger good. It would be great if they take some steps like 12 teams in World Cup, Top 8 will automatically qualify and for last 4 there should be qualifying round. Also for all the Full members, it should be mandatory to full tour their A team to top 4 associates (once in 4 years) so that associates can benefit from the experience.

Posted by chrissy1999 on (February 20, 2011, 16:32 GMT)

Makes a lot of sense. If you need to give Associates top level exposure just fit allocate them more ODI series with Test playing nations. No point diluting the WC to give them match practice.

As is, this WC format has zero cometition in group phase other than between Bangladesh and West Indies to get into QF. Other than that there are only 7 competitive games whose outcome matter to the tournament (QF to Final). Thats so hokey for a WC.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 16:28 GMT)

ponting give the teams a break....yall aint winning this world cup for sure....WI all the way

Posted by CricSamraat on (February 20, 2011, 16:26 GMT)

The associates should not be kicked out from this premier cricket event. Their expulsion would be interpreted as a damning indictment of these teams in their nations, and they will eventually lose any government support and/or commercial sponsorship(s). Instead, ICC should initiate some smaller events where these teams should be invited alongwithsome main cricketing teams to let them compete, learn, and improve.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 16:19 GMT)

Its a worry that cricket is not movin ahead except subcontinent. Ireland look good.Zimbabwe should return. Bangladesh look best minnow to me ... Its better if ICC try and develop 6 ODI competetive nations by next WC. Ireland,US,Canada,Kenya,Holland,UAE could be target.Game has to grow...

Posted by cricket2011 on (February 20, 2011, 16:19 GMT)

ICCs Mind is like that : To increase the money there should be a plenty of matches and People should be watch the game in TV in 50 overs. Then only ICC or the spornsers get money or benift by advertisement. 8 hours advertisement will make a big money. The main cricket watcing viewres are supporters of the first 10 country.

Very less people watch games against associates So ICC and sponsers get a big loss. and most of game over associates can't complete 50 over. So agian ICC and sponsers get a huge loss.

If ICC want cricket as a global and popular game, they should allow more countries to play test, ODI and T20I. But if they want money and sponsers they have to reduce the games.

As a cricketer I wish to continue ODI world cup as it is with 14 member team and Increase the T20 world cup with 16 teams or up to 20 Teams.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (February 20, 2011, 16:17 GMT)

The teams specifically built around expats , such as Canada, Argentina, UAE, will never be competitive nor will it spread cricket in those countries. Kenya had different issue of politics and grassroot organization.

Posted by drdreddy_gy on (February 20, 2011, 16:13 GMT)

Ponting has a point; generally speaking the only matches between full members and associates that are worth watching are: Zimbabwe/Bangladesh vs any associate nation. My proposal for spreading the game around the world: 1. Have 10 teams in the tournament,divide in to 2 pools of 5 teams and play round the robin. After this round the robin, bottom 1-2 teams from each pool ie (2-4 teams) will play 4 associate nations in a round the robin for a "associates" world cup @ the same venue the big guns are competing for the real world cup. This will make the tournament more interesting rather than watching India thrash Netherlands or Australia drill Kenya. 2. Every full member nation to host/tour 1 associate nation per year and play 3 match ODI series. This way the associate nations can be exposed to all the different conditions in the world.

Posted by shaaakspsyco on (February 20, 2011, 16:09 GMT)

I think that the top 8 teams should make it through. And the bottom two teams should have to fight for the two remaining spots with the top four associate teams.

Posted by WhatMustTheICCThink on (February 20, 2011, 16:07 GMT)

And not long ago some Australian players were suggesting the Ashes be trimmed to three matches because the matches were too one-sided....

Punter, if you're going to cut these teams from the World Cup, and they don't get any other games during the year, how exactly are they going to develop, without any matches, funding, sponsorship, fans, reasons for missing work to play cricket, and losing all their best players to Test nations?

You say you don't think Associates learn much from being hammered in World Cups? Really, because Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe all took that route before becoming Test nations. Should we have stopped them from playing cricket 25 years ago? Remember when India used to struggle to score 100 in 60 overs?

Posted by dr.saubhik on (February 20, 2011, 16:03 GMT)

now that icc has decided to go with 10 teams in the next wc....i think it will b unjust if the associate nations dont get any opportunities to qualify for the world cup...what icc should do now is arrange play off games between the last two teams of this world cup and the top two associate nations (the finalists of next icc trophy)....whosoever wins gets the chance to qualify for the next world cup!!!

Posted by Params7 on (February 20, 2011, 16:00 GMT)

Completely agree. The skill gap is too large, minnows are basically counting on a upset here and there but overall, the beginning of this world cup has been so 1-sided its putting viewers off.

Posted by Tiptop32 on (February 20, 2011, 15:59 GMT)

Hello Ponting, How about conducting a 3 match ODI series between India and Australia and calling it as ODI world cup (since they #1 and #2 in ODI ranking)? Stop these useless non-sense comments. Participation is more important than winning. If you stop more nations from participating in WC then cricket will be constrained to limited nations. It will never become popular like other games. It is in the best interest of cricket's future that we should allow more Associate teams for ODI WC. What has minnows did so far in ODI world cups? Zim stopped India in 1999, BD stopped India in 2007, Ireland stopped Pak in 2007, BD beaten SA in 2007, Zim beaten Eng in 1992, Kenya reached S/F in 2003, etc. I am expecting some minnow bites in the current WC too. SL were considered minnows in 1983 WC who became World champion in 1996. So stop cribbing about all these inequalities. If you want a competitive tournament they change the format of the tournament, but don't stop Associate participation.

Posted by Taz786 on (February 20, 2011, 15:58 GMT)

This could have been announced after the tournament finished, once they had seen how the smaller teams had performed. This is like putting them under pressure to perform and they are already struggling. Then it becomes, we told you so attitude.

Posted by amit0806 on (February 20, 2011, 15:42 GMT)

I do agree to punter.... it may happen that one of these sides can pull off a miracle but otherwise matches like this make people loose interest in the 50 over format...its ok to keep them for t 20 but not for 50 over formats which is itself under threat ..

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 15:27 GMT)

The Associate Nations do deserve a chance, now that for five editions, they've been there. If ICC had to make this decision, it should have been in the 1999 edition. But Kenya in 1996 and 2003, Bangladesh in 1999 and Ireland in 2007 gave so much promise. So, they were expected to give the bigger teams a run for their money! Now,this decision is a shocker for those nations!!!

The ICC did not take any action to strengthen the domestic structures. It would be better off if the top players of these smaller countries play in stronger domestic leagues such as the Ranji Trophy or Sheffield Shield or in county cricket. But, the game can only develop if these countries have genuine fans in large numbers. Do you see an international football match played between Ghana and North Korea having empty stands? But today's match between New Zealand and Canada had less than a thousand people watching. There are no travelling fans, except for India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia and England

Posted by eddsnake on (February 20, 2011, 15:25 GMT)

Pretty sure that Zimbabwe didn't have test status at the time of the 1992 World Cup, which they qualified for by winning the 1990 ICC Trophy. Every World Cup has always had at least one associate and excluding them completely would be a disastrous move. At the very least there should be 12 countries in the next World Cup, let's see how Ireland and the Netherlands perform before jumping to conclusions after one disastrous performance by Kenya and a not much better one from Canada.

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (February 20, 2011, 15:24 GMT)

I agree, but if the form of the AUS team continues, then AUS would be an associate nation in next world cup:):):)

Posted by AsherCA on (February 20, 2011, 15:22 GMT)

For once in my life, I have to agree with Mr. Ponting. Associate members would require exposure to start getting better at cricket, but a World Cup once in 4 years is probably not the right option - they come, get hammered & go back, no practice between to help them learn how to handle top class players from the full sides.

The option for ICC would probably be to have full teams from the associate countries joining the A-teams OR maybe the Under 19 / Under 22's from the full members in regular tournaments till they get better and then, bring them into the WC as they get better.

Posted by Sri_Lankan_pride_50 on (February 20, 2011, 15:21 GMT)

This is ridiculous. Teams like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had to endure defeats by large margins when they first entered the international arena and for a fair amount of time had to endure these defeats in order to develop. Now look at these teams and the development they have made.

Posted by Geraldine on (February 20, 2011, 15:06 GMT)

From a fan's point of view, this is definitely the right move from the ICC. It's a major dissapointment having to wait after the start of the tournament for the real competition to begin.

Posted by oops282 on (February 20, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

Their should be no any weaker teams in the World Cup . The games that involves minnows are just boring to watch and its for the organizers as well its a waste of time and money. The prime examples are Kenya folding for 69 and Canada getting trashed by SL . More to follow against Aussies and Pakistan.

Posted by Owls on (February 20, 2011, 15:03 GMT)

I do agree with Ricky on this. getting crushed mercilessly will only get their morale down. I don't see this benefiting them. Maybe they will put up a better performance but I doubt it is going to happen. There has to be a program that will ensure improvement and maybe it would take them about 5-10 years but it would be best for them. Meanwhile, ICC should ensure that the major test playing nations will have to have a min of one tour (home or away) with at least one of the non test playing nation every year.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (February 20, 2011, 15:00 GMT)

Who cares what Ponting thinks?

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 14:58 GMT)

I think it will be unfair towards some associates to not play in the 50 over game. I think, the top 2 teams of the World Cricket League should be allowed in the world cup, with this same format. 12 teams, 2 groups, top 4 of each goes to the quarterfinal.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (February 20, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

Let 'em play. How else will their get practise against quality teams. And hey, look at it as "easing" into the tournament matches for the big teams, to flex their muscles and try some tactics, as well as get in the groove.

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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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