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Full Members opposed 10-team World Cup - Lorgat

Nagraj Gollapudi

November 24, 2011

Comments: 64 | Text size: A | A

Click to read the full interview that includes Lorgat's comments on the World Test Championship and the battle against corruption in cricket.

Haroon Lorgat addresses the media regarding security issues, Chennai, March 5, 2011
The ACSU does not have the powers to conduct its own sting operations, Haroon Lorgat has said © AFP

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC CEO, has said the 10 Full Members were unwilling to go through a qualification system for the 50-over World Cup, blocking plans for a 10-team event in 2015. "The main objection was that a 10-team event required Full Members to qualify," Lorgat told ESPNcricinfo.

He said Australia, New Zealand and England had initially supported a 10-team event with qualification but, following strong protests from the Associates, it was decided unanimously to do away with the idea for the next edition.

The ICC, before its annual conference in Hong Kong in June, had agreed at a meeting in April, to stick to just 10 teams in the 2015 World Cup but at Hong Kong, the ICC and its board members agreed to a 14-team tournament, preceded by a qualifying league for the Associate teams.

"Their belief was that there was a long-standing expectation that Full Members automatically play in the World Cup and therefore needed sufficient notice before we can change this practice. This is why the 10-team World Cup will start from 2019," Lorgat said.

However, Lorgat insisted a 10-team World Cup was the way forward. "I still believe that a 10-team World Cup on a qualification basis for all members would be a better event. This was part of the proposals to strategically restructure international cricket and was designed to protect and promote all three formats."

During his tenure as the CEO of the ICC, Lorgat faced many challenges. Among them was convincing the members of the ICC to institute the World Test Championship. Lorgat, who said earlier this month that the Test Championship will not be held before 2017, had strongly supported the idea of having a three-year qualification process during which all ten teams played each other, before the top four participated in a play-off. The Test Championship was meant to replace the Champions Trophy, the ICC's other 50-over event. However, monetary concerns expressed by ICC's broadcasting partner ESPN STAR Sports*, who have an agreement with the governing body until 2015, presented an obstacle. It did not help that the ten Full Members, once again, did not come out in support.

"A balanced mindset would have been a lot better," Lorgat said when asked if the members could have looked beyond short-term monetary gains. "Money is clearly an important factor but it should not be the only factor. We looked at different models of evaluating the revenue implications but the fact of the matter is that the value of an inaugural Test Championship comprising four teams and fewer matches is not viewed commercially the same as the Champions Trophy comprising eight teams."

Lorgat said the ICC had thought about renegotiating the broadcasting deal wherein they would pay ESPN STAR Sports the money it owed for the Champions Trophy as a measure to go all-out in staging the Test Championships, but found no support from the ICC board. "This was considered but not supported by the ICC Board and the Chief Executives Committee."

Evidently the ICC executive, of which Lorgat was the head, had limited powers and could not quell the might of the board members. "It is not ideal when you are not sufficiently empowered to undertake or implement what you know is correct and must be done. But I understood that when I entered the ICC and it is why the ICC Board rather than the executive would be held accountable for the future of the game."

The spot-fixing scandal during the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan in 2010 was another major challenge. An ICC tribunal found Pakistan's Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir guilty of spot fixing and banned them for various durations before they were sentenced to imprisonment after a separate trial at the Southwark Crown Court. The scandal raised questions about the ability of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit to fight corruption and prompted calls for the ICC to invest in sting operations to tackle fixing.

Lorgat, however, said the ACSU's jurisdiction did not allow it to conduct sting operations. "We cannot carry out sting operations or arrest people or seize property. That is not within our remit or powers. This was made clear by the Members when the ACSU was established.

"Corruption is a serious challenge and we must not be complacent but remain vigilant to combat this menace."

*ESPN STAR Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between Walt Disney (ESPN, Inc.), the parent company of ESPNcricinfo, and News Corporation Limited (STAR)

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 64 
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Posted by Krish on (November 25, 2011, 21:26 GMT)

Guys dont u get it ? The full members positions like in a horse race are already determined for the 2015 world cup. How can they now be asked to go through qualification ? Lorgat is pulling out the same hackneyed stuff " "Corruption is a serious challenge and we must not be complacent but remain vigilant to combat this menace." Lorgat ..mate you need to do something, nothing happens by itself

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 25, 2011, 20:00 GMT)

Top 8 teams will automatically qualify, and are divided into two groups A and B. The bottom two regular teams will be further divided into two VIRTUAL groups X and Y, along with 4 associates, i.e. each X and Y group will consist of 3 teams each. The topper of group X will join group A, and the topper of group Y will join group B. Thus, ultimately groups A and B will have 5 teams each. Then, the top three teams from each group play in the super sixes (with points & victories carried over). Then the semis, and the final. 6 matches in the virtual groups, 20 in the main groups, 9 in super sixes, 2 semis and 1 final make it 38 matches in total.The tournament can be finished in 5 weeks, top teams need not play the associates directly, and associates get their fair chance to play as well.

Posted by spirit on (November 25, 2011, 14:02 GMT)

@spence1324...is it a norm to cry foul of BCCI on each and every matter??except ENG,Aus and NZ all the other full members opposed the 10team WC,and the reason for scrapping the 10team format is bcoz of strong opposition from associates not BCCI,u r naive enough to even think that india will need help from Lorgat to get selected for WC coz in the qualifying format each team wont play a knockout format but will play many matches with associates,even if one surprise defeats lingers for test nation once in a blue moon it will be hard to stop the test playing nation from qualifying..its better if u worry about Eng team who lost to BD and Ireland in a single WC event rather than worrying for BCCI...

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 25, 2011, 9:53 GMT)

The World Cup should become a 20-team event similar to the Rugby World Cup. Top 12 automatically qualify. Others fight for 8 positions. Four groups of five teams, top 2 qualify, and then we have quarters. If cricket needs to survive, it needs a global fan base, and that comes when different teams get opportunities, just like in football

Posted by Baundule on (November 25, 2011, 7:15 GMT)

Qualification for all (like soccer) will make the world cup truely global. Weaker teams will get the chance to play with stronger teams without producing one-sided boring matches in the world cup.

Posted by Heath on (November 25, 2011, 4:27 GMT)

The previous world cup format was fine. I like some of the minnows in the WC, it adds to the uniqueness and interest of the competition. If you reduce down to ten you will pretty much have the same 10 teams each tournament without any consideration for development of the game.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 25, 2011, 2:57 GMT)

Amazing to see that people with such understanding of cricket are at the helm of affairs. How have we concluded that a 10 team WC is the best way to go forward. Cricket is no soccer. At least not at the moment.At first its not fair to expect that associates will upset big guns to get on this stage where they can showcase their cricket.For a moment if we assume they upset, can there be more than one team per edition pulling such feat.And if they do, do you expect that audience wants to watch Canada Vs Afghanistan and USA vs China when they havent seen them over the last 4 years. Please consider the fact that cricket following is big in Bangladesh, Sri lanka, Pakistan and India and surviving in Australia, England, WI, SA, NZ and barely managing in Zimbabwe. With that kind of following dont get over ambitious of making it a soccer world cup at a smaller scale.The first premise of 10 team being the best format looks flawed.A 12, 14 or even 16 team WC should work well.

Posted by brenta on (November 25, 2011, 0:48 GMT)

I don't like the 10 teams. It's supposed to be the world cup where many many nations get together. In soccer they keep increasing the numbers because there is more excitement. Never mind the fact that at least half the soccer teams have no chance of winning it, it's just good to be there. If they only want 10 teams it's not really a world cup it's like a champions league playoffs tournament.

Posted by Delan on (November 24, 2011, 23:59 GMT)

Regardless of the number of teams, the only way to make cricket fully global and fair is to make ALL teams qualify. I guess if you were to make any exceptions it could be that the defending champion automatically qualifies. Really it's not that difficult for the big test teams so I don't see what they are complaining about! Other global sports fo it this way!

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 24, 2011, 23:51 GMT)

How do you rate the logic of a man who ignores the outrage of 96 of his member countries but then suspends plans because 10 other members feel uncomfortable?

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