World Cup 2015 October 21, 2010

ICC avarice dooms Associates to the wilderness

The leading countries' reluctance to give up their larger shares of the ICC's cake has come at the cost of spreading the game
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The recent announcement of a restructuring of the bloated international calendar by the ICC was an opportunity to restore sanity to the world game. Instead, all it has confirmed is that the battle within the ICC between the money men and those with a genuine interest in the world game is over. As expected, the bean counters have won.

The 2015 World Cup will have 10 teams, and while ICC officials say that no final decision has been taken on how these teams will be selected and that there might be still be a chance for Associate members to participate through a qualifying tournament, there is little likelihood of this materialising.

The working party that made the recommendations was made up of David Collier (England), James Sutherland (Australia) and N Srinivasan (India) with no Associate representation, and only David Richardson of the ICC there as anyone remotely independent. With a sub-committee like that it's no wonder this decision was reached.

The headline news regards the World Cup, a distended tournament, which, lest we forget, was brought to its knees in the Caribbean in 2007 largely as a consequence of the ICC's dreadful management. Instead of tackling the root causes of the malaise the ICC simply culled four of the six Associates to ensure there could be no repeat of the commercial disaster that came from India's early exit.

In 2015 the ICC will go a step further and remove the Associates altogether. While fans might have hoped this will mean a leaner event, the depressing news is it won't. The reality is that the number of matches will come down by one, from 49 to 48. But there will be more cheer for the commercial arm of the ICC because there will be more games involving the lucrative teams.

In a bid to deflect flak, the ICC claims no decision has been made about the structure of the 2015 World Cup, offering a flickering hope of a qualifying tournament that might allow Associates to win through to the finals. Sadly this just won't happen. It appears a stalling exercise to assuage critics until the dust has settled.

When I raised qualification involving Full Members as a possible suggestion a few years ago, at the time Zimbabwe cricket was imploding, I was told by a senior ICC official it would never happen. The reasons, he said, were two-fold.

Firstly, the Full Members would never agree to a structure that could result in them missing out. In a straight qualifying competition involving countries at the bottom of the ODI table, at least three Full Members could quite realistically be beaten by leading Associates and so miss out on the World Cup. While financially the ICC would ensure they would not lose money - for example, India's and Zimbabwe's earnings from the 2007 competition were massively more than Ireland's, though the first two made early exits and Ireland made the Super Eights - the implications for sponsorship and local exposure would be considerable.

The only way Associates might return is if those controlling the finances stop pretending and just state that certain countries - probably no more than three or four - have to play in any tournament, leaving the rest to scrap among themselves for the other places

While it seems a ludicrous suggestion at the moment, India were as recently as 2005 eighth in the ICC's ODI rankings. It is possible that by 2015 a major country could again be out of form and risk getting sucked into a qualifying event.

Given pressure from within the ICC as well as from media partners, who signed a colossal TV rights deal, led to a restructuring of the 2011 competition, neither would be willing to accept anything that might, however remotely, risk the commercial appeal of the World Cup, especially in the massive subcontinental market.

So for all the rhetoric about expanding the game - and to be fair here, there are many within the ICC who genuinely believe in this vision - a glass ceiling has been lowered into place, which ensures Associates will probably not be able to play again at a full World Cup.

In defence of the ICC, six Associates, as was the case in 2007, was too many. While Ireland made the headlines, others, including Kenya and the dismal Bermudans, were totally outclassed. A qualifying system between the top Associates and the worst Full Members would be fairer and would have also ensured the competition could genuinely be called a World Cup.

The two small pluses are that the emergence of Twenty20 means the Twenty20 World Cup, generously expanded to 16 teams, will give Associates a chance to bloody a few noses every couple of years. But the top Associates have not welcomed this, as it all but ensures their remote chances of attaining Test status, which could only come through impressive performances in 50-over games, disappeared. The other gain is that the unloved Champions Trophy might be consigned to the dustbin.

The only way Associates might return is if those controlling the finances stop pretending and just state that certain countries - probably no more than three or four - have to play in any tournament, leaving the rest to scrap among themselves for the other places. At least it would be more honest than the situation we have at the moment.

The Associates have been fighting a battle for recognition they were never likely to win. For all the pretence of the ICC being a democratic organisation, most people know the game is now run by three countries who are hellbent on keeping an increasing share of the pot between themselves. However much they might claim to have the interests of cricket at heart, the revamping of the World Cup has exposed that as a sham.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bensti on October 24, 2010, 1:30 GMT

    Most people with any sense of moral judgment can see that disconnecting 500,000 players and an estimated 20 million fans in the 95 Associate and Affiliate countries is heartless and designed only to benefit the wealthy. It's sad to think that the privileged few are filling their pockets while cricket's unsung volunteers in many Associate and Affiliate countries cut bat shapes from trees and have to beg for second hand equipment. It should be, and quite rightly is, the dream of every cricketer in the 95 Associate and Affiliate nations to play in the World Cup. For many coaches, players, fans and administrators, that is the incentive that drives them on onwards. Meanwhile, in five of the 10 Full Member countries, cricket is on the decline, whether it be due to spot-fixing, terrorism and internal strife, poor administration or faltering attendances despite the millions of dollars they afford themselves. The emerging nations offer the game some optimism in the future. Or at least they did

  • Vaughanforever on October 23, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    Expansion of the game at Test level would be an appalling thing to happen. It would ruin the game. Wave goodbye to all Countries playing each other regularly, say hello to bastardised records as you regularly see mismatches. Say goodbye to traditional series being played regularly, say hello to even more pathetic 2 match series. Welcome to teams at the top of a distorted world league who happen to have played loads of poor teams at home, goodbye to Test cricket actually being a test.

    Expansion is totally undesirable and completely without need or point.

  • on October 23, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    The ICC are a joke, they haven't learnt anything from the 2007 World Cup. Far too many games - just what is wrong with having 4 groups of 4, top 2 qualify for the quarter finals - no ridiculous Super6/8. It could be run in less than a month. If India/Pakistan gets knocked out early - TOUGH!! I can't see the point in having a World Cup AND Champions Trophy - get rid of the Champion Trophy. Have the World Cup every 4 years, and the Twenty20 every 4 years, but have them seperated by 2 years; so we have a global tournament every 2 years.

  • AK47_pk on October 23, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    associate members need a body of their own to show the icc that cricket is not going to be limited in just few countries.....and i can clearly see this happenning in near future nd i,ll only blame INDIA AUSTRAILIA ENGLAND ND SOUTH AFRIQA for that cuz these countries dnt want others to have a say in ICC...they are so scared that if there are more members, they lose their say nd autharity in cricketing matters...

  • yousaf465 on October 23, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    And those three countries are ... Australia, England, and India ? ? World cup should be a open tournament, similar to Football world cup. Every team including the top ones should be playing a qualifying round

  • on October 23, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    now this is the cricinfo I remember ... these are the articles that are deserving to be published. The real issues that are facing the game. I hope other reporters actually start reporting too instead coming up with their world XI's.

    There's a lot going on in the world of cricket. What with cannibalizing of itself by money-hungry organizers and bodies.

    It's great for a game to have such a rich heritage as cricket, but if all that amounts to is fantasy world xi's and not effectively used to support the growth the game world wide, all this game will continue to be is a small insignificant frat house that no one really cares about and eventually alienate those who do.

  • on October 23, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    Martin you have highlighted very important issue relating to the participation of associates at internetional level. Shame on ICC for excluding the associates in future ICC event apart from 20/20. This is a clear indication that ICC wants to keep top level cricket to a closed circuit circumstances with no regard to expansion of cricket on an international stage. I suggest that ICC cricket world cup should be re-classified as a closed event and as the move by ICC does not reflect the game being played on an international stage such as football, atheletics, and many other sporting displicines which reflect a truly world wide participation. ICC does not relect these values and seriously needs to look into much wider. No wonder cricket is not considered for Olympics, Commonwealth Games because it does not have a world-wide participation. The ICC needs to wake up from its colonial slumber and seriously promote the game world-wide.

  • jackiethepen on October 23, 2010, 8:48 GMT

    Avarice IS dooming cricket because the businessmen with TV deals foremost are ruining the game. It is cultural corruption. But it hasn't been helped by the cynical cricketing media who all jumped on the bandwagon of attacking the last World Cup. There were highlights and lowlights but the former were ignored. But there was a general desire to slag it off because of the financial mismanagement and the early exit of India and Pakistan. It is time the media shook off the idea that cricket is only interesting played between the top countries. Some of the best games were provided by Ireland in that tournament and cricket has cracked on in that country since. Businessmen never understand that cricket is not a product that doesn't change but a sport which is always changing. The media downplayed a cracking Test Series in 2008 between New Zealand and England, games which swung amazingly between the sides. We are paying for that kind of boredom - if they are that burnt out let in enthusiasts.

  • Jim1207 on October 23, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    I agree with the concern of the author, I respect his articles the most here. But his point is basically flawed here in this article. When would associates get total exposure and international stature just by playing and getting thrashed every four years in world cup playing 2 or 3 matches?! The key is give them "Test Status" which only would bring more countries playing Cricket, not giving "chance" to them to play few pointless matches. It would take 20 world cup matches and 80 years for an associate country to play only world cups and become international team if not at all given test status. And, when the future of ODI world cup is not even sure in 2020, why are we discussing now about their inclusion or lack of it! I appreciate ICC decision for not giving these "chances". But I condemn ICC for not immediately giving test status to more than average associates and make them play official Test matches with Bangla, WI, NZ, Pak, Ind or whoever comes to the bottom of the rankings table.

  • tfjones1978 on October 23, 2010, 1:11 GMT

    Reformating maybe good for cricket as long as the full members are required to qualify. The changes could be like this: (1) Test Championship of all full members and 1 temp position (that rotates amongst top associates), 2 or 3 tests * 20 series plus Finals. (2) ODI Championship includes 12 to 16 ODI teams ("all ODI teams") with top 8 qualifying for ODI WC and final 2 spots qualifiers 9th to 12th vs 17th to 20th. (3) T20I WC will expand to 16 teams (4 by 4) and most likely expand beyond. My recommendations are that (1) Any unofficial match, Country A or Associate team played against any of those three categories over 3+ days are called "Test A" matches, backdated to when Country A's started (2) No more warm ups against states/counties/etc, only against those 3 categories, with preference to Test A's against Associates. (3) ICup & IShield replaced by Test A tournament which includes 10 full member A Teams and 10 associate teams over 4 years (until assoc becomes full member).

  • Bensti on October 24, 2010, 1:30 GMT

    Most people with any sense of moral judgment can see that disconnecting 500,000 players and an estimated 20 million fans in the 95 Associate and Affiliate countries is heartless and designed only to benefit the wealthy. It's sad to think that the privileged few are filling their pockets while cricket's unsung volunteers in many Associate and Affiliate countries cut bat shapes from trees and have to beg for second hand equipment. It should be, and quite rightly is, the dream of every cricketer in the 95 Associate and Affiliate nations to play in the World Cup. For many coaches, players, fans and administrators, that is the incentive that drives them on onwards. Meanwhile, in five of the 10 Full Member countries, cricket is on the decline, whether it be due to spot-fixing, terrorism and internal strife, poor administration or faltering attendances despite the millions of dollars they afford themselves. The emerging nations offer the game some optimism in the future. Or at least they did

  • Vaughanforever on October 23, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    Expansion of the game at Test level would be an appalling thing to happen. It would ruin the game. Wave goodbye to all Countries playing each other regularly, say hello to bastardised records as you regularly see mismatches. Say goodbye to traditional series being played regularly, say hello to even more pathetic 2 match series. Welcome to teams at the top of a distorted world league who happen to have played loads of poor teams at home, goodbye to Test cricket actually being a test.

    Expansion is totally undesirable and completely without need or point.

  • on October 23, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    The ICC are a joke, they haven't learnt anything from the 2007 World Cup. Far too many games - just what is wrong with having 4 groups of 4, top 2 qualify for the quarter finals - no ridiculous Super6/8. It could be run in less than a month. If India/Pakistan gets knocked out early - TOUGH!! I can't see the point in having a World Cup AND Champions Trophy - get rid of the Champion Trophy. Have the World Cup every 4 years, and the Twenty20 every 4 years, but have them seperated by 2 years; so we have a global tournament every 2 years.

  • AK47_pk on October 23, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    associate members need a body of their own to show the icc that cricket is not going to be limited in just few countries.....and i can clearly see this happenning in near future nd i,ll only blame INDIA AUSTRAILIA ENGLAND ND SOUTH AFRIQA for that cuz these countries dnt want others to have a say in ICC...they are so scared that if there are more members, they lose their say nd autharity in cricketing matters...

  • yousaf465 on October 23, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    And those three countries are ... Australia, England, and India ? ? World cup should be a open tournament, similar to Football world cup. Every team including the top ones should be playing a qualifying round

  • on October 23, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    now this is the cricinfo I remember ... these are the articles that are deserving to be published. The real issues that are facing the game. I hope other reporters actually start reporting too instead coming up with their world XI's.

    There's a lot going on in the world of cricket. What with cannibalizing of itself by money-hungry organizers and bodies.

    It's great for a game to have such a rich heritage as cricket, but if all that amounts to is fantasy world xi's and not effectively used to support the growth the game world wide, all this game will continue to be is a small insignificant frat house that no one really cares about and eventually alienate those who do.

  • on October 23, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    Martin you have highlighted very important issue relating to the participation of associates at internetional level. Shame on ICC for excluding the associates in future ICC event apart from 20/20. This is a clear indication that ICC wants to keep top level cricket to a closed circuit circumstances with no regard to expansion of cricket on an international stage. I suggest that ICC cricket world cup should be re-classified as a closed event and as the move by ICC does not reflect the game being played on an international stage such as football, atheletics, and many other sporting displicines which reflect a truly world wide participation. ICC does not relect these values and seriously needs to look into much wider. No wonder cricket is not considered for Olympics, Commonwealth Games because it does not have a world-wide participation. The ICC needs to wake up from its colonial slumber and seriously promote the game world-wide.

  • jackiethepen on October 23, 2010, 8:48 GMT

    Avarice IS dooming cricket because the businessmen with TV deals foremost are ruining the game. It is cultural corruption. But it hasn't been helped by the cynical cricketing media who all jumped on the bandwagon of attacking the last World Cup. There were highlights and lowlights but the former were ignored. But there was a general desire to slag it off because of the financial mismanagement and the early exit of India and Pakistan. It is time the media shook off the idea that cricket is only interesting played between the top countries. Some of the best games were provided by Ireland in that tournament and cricket has cracked on in that country since. Businessmen never understand that cricket is not a product that doesn't change but a sport which is always changing. The media downplayed a cracking Test Series in 2008 between New Zealand and England, games which swung amazingly between the sides. We are paying for that kind of boredom - if they are that burnt out let in enthusiasts.

  • Jim1207 on October 23, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    I agree with the concern of the author, I respect his articles the most here. But his point is basically flawed here in this article. When would associates get total exposure and international stature just by playing and getting thrashed every four years in world cup playing 2 or 3 matches?! The key is give them "Test Status" which only would bring more countries playing Cricket, not giving "chance" to them to play few pointless matches. It would take 20 world cup matches and 80 years for an associate country to play only world cups and become international team if not at all given test status. And, when the future of ODI world cup is not even sure in 2020, why are we discussing now about their inclusion or lack of it! I appreciate ICC decision for not giving these "chances". But I condemn ICC for not immediately giving test status to more than average associates and make them play official Test matches with Bangla, WI, NZ, Pak, Ind or whoever comes to the bottom of the rankings table.

  • tfjones1978 on October 23, 2010, 1:11 GMT

    Reformating maybe good for cricket as long as the full members are required to qualify. The changes could be like this: (1) Test Championship of all full members and 1 temp position (that rotates amongst top associates), 2 or 3 tests * 20 series plus Finals. (2) ODI Championship includes 12 to 16 ODI teams ("all ODI teams") with top 8 qualifying for ODI WC and final 2 spots qualifiers 9th to 12th vs 17th to 20th. (3) T20I WC will expand to 16 teams (4 by 4) and most likely expand beyond. My recommendations are that (1) Any unofficial match, Country A or Associate team played against any of those three categories over 3+ days are called "Test A" matches, backdated to when Country A's started (2) No more warm ups against states/counties/etc, only against those 3 categories, with preference to Test A's against Associates. (3) ICup & IShield replaced by Test A tournament which includes 10 full member A Teams and 10 associate teams over 4 years (until assoc becomes full member).

  • ganma on October 22, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    Cricket will die.... you can bet on it. Find interesting facts here: http://sites.google.com/site/cromium024/

    check out the links... and ads? there's more..?

  • nomikshah on October 22, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    India is flexing its financial muscle all the time. Loving the way it has destroyed the fibre of the game. Never seen a side with such "talent" become number 1. Hopefully India would ensure that it plays majority on its matches on home soil and keeps giving it to its ex-bosses.

  • eire on October 22, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    @maximum6: the 1992 world cup format was useless,it was a complete bore with the whole thing seeming like a never-ending story. I lost interest halfway thru n only watched d semis n final....Also if u look at the last few world cups, there has been a massive amount of games containing full members that were boring and the result one-sided n never in question....Look at my previous post for verification of dull games in the 2007 version

  • reality_check on October 22, 2010, 15:29 GMT

    Why not cut thru the whole exercise and fast forward to WC2011. Only 3 matches in total. Semi final between India vs Aus and Eng vs SA. Then final between India vs Eng or SA. India wins the final. There you have it boys and girls. Short and sweet format. A dream come true for the bookies as we already know the results. All involved make a ton of money and we satisfy the huge Indian fan base.

  • on October 22, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    Most of the comments drew a parallel to world football. Some were sensible while offering suggestions. But most seemed to jump the gun in saying that cricket follow a pattern simillar to football.

    But in football, how many bottom rung teams are in the news and spotlight round the year?

    Would an Indian or Sri Lankan football team get 4 - 5 games against Angland, Australia, Argetina or a Portugal or Brazil team at reasonably full strength, on a regular basis?

    Don't bother answering that. We all know the answer.

    Well same with cricket.

    Besides, cricket is not only facing the tricky question of growth without boredom and diluting the quality, but it also facing competition from other popular sports - football, basketball, baseball, rugby, tennis - where the competition is much closer and better to watch. I don't think an Aus 2nd XI playing Bermuda is going to draw much viewrship if pitched against Liverpool vs Chelsea or Djokovich vs Nadal.

  • 2.14istherunrate on October 22, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    The last really memorable world cup was in 1992. it was amazing,with every side playing the rest. Every game had relevance. Ultimately the team who lasted the distance won,as first NZ then England fell victim to tiredness and injury. Pakistan came up on the rails from behind to win. I understand the argument of showcasing Associate memebers somehow, but all the WC's after 1992 have been terminally boring for the first two weeks or so. Of what earthly use is SA playing Namibia or Bermuda,or India playing Canada or UAE? 350 vs 180. What a game. What a bore. Every now and again there is a giant killing but no consistency. Easily the best associates have been Ireland and Kenya. Maybe Afghanistan down the line but it's better they play eachother and play games against the big fish outside WC context where the sheer volume of their games fouls up an entire event. WC should be the main event not a lengthy tedium.

  • ironmonkey on October 22, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    There has been much talk about the negative effect that the BCCI and the Indian market has on the game. What is ignored is the potential good coming from all this - India is now wedded to cricket. There is hardly a soul on the subcontinent who wouldn't know what SRT stands for.

    Also, the Indian diaspora in the West has taken to cricket in their adopted countries as well (am thinking of the "Canada" cricket team), and the explosion of T20 has ensured an even wider market for the game.

    Maybe it's time to accept the reality that the BCCI will continue to throw its weight around, and consider the positive ramifications.

  • surajitkumar013 on October 22, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    If associate nations r included in the ODI leg. or a leg. similar 2 ODI leg. will be played parallel to it witha relegation n substitution then some good future can be srcured 4 da associats.

  • surajitkumar013 on October 22, 2010, 12:11 GMT

    Ok, now what I am gonna write may not sound good to many people.

    Last year I waz so happy seeing Cricket develop around the world az a true global sport but when Mr. Sharad power took presidency in place of Mr. Haroon Lorgat I suspected something gonna happen n BAM! it happened. Indeed these r dark times for cricket (specially for associates).

  • crazytaurean on October 22, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    I sincerely believe that a lot of teams have made great strides in the past few seasons, perhaps even worthy of a conditional Test status !!! Look at Ireland. Look at Afghanistan, Netherlands or Canada. Infact its time to have 12 Test playing nations for that matter. Ireland and Netherlands perhaps fit the bill. Bangladesh has improved so much in the last 5 years. I bet the afore mentioned teams would be itching to be there with Bangladesh.

  • robheinen on October 22, 2010, 9:19 GMT

    It has already been written a while ago. It has been quoted umteen times after that. It has been heard by billions of ears. Understanding is the only step to be taken by humanity - in general and specific to the situation described by Martin Williamson. 'You can't serve two masters'. In this case, you can't serve both Cricket and the Mammon. Unfortunately the times are that everything has to be run American style. Like a business. Preferably with hidden agendas from the powers that be. Let's hope cricket can survive. { I've high hopes as to the last aspect! }

  • Chicoman-1 on October 22, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    At last an article of sense from the wilderness. The ICC have shown themselves to be motivated by only one thing and that is money. It is indeed a crying shame that such a biased organization can with the stroke of a pen condemn all the Associate Nations to nothing more than village cricket nations. There was a time when cricket was about playing a game and not about marketing and franchises. How dare the likes of Kenya, Ireland, Netherlands and other Associates who have beaten the high and mighty in their major competitions even think they are good enough to walk on the same soil as these glorious test nations. Maybe these famous victories happened because the high and mighty weren't trying and were playing for the bookies. Perhaps Associations should only be allowed watch the elite on television, or maybe they are not even good enough to do that. There is one thing for certain, the `I' in ICC does not stand for `INCLUSION'. Cricket for the Olympics? What a Joke...

  • PaulieNZ on October 22, 2010, 6:34 GMT

    Good to see this in the mainstream media finally, we assumed ESPN Cricinfo was keeping quiet as the media now controls cricket schedules. RIP Associate cricket.

  • balajiraom on October 22, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    My opinion on selecting 10 teams for 2015 World Cup should be like this "First six teams in ODIS rankings should be separated in to two groups, and for the other four places there should be open competition. Top two teams from each group will play each other and best two will go for finals. last but not least there should be best of three finals to choose the best team.

  • ChrisH on October 22, 2010, 2:18 GMT

    Interesting article by Martin Williamson but there seem to be a glaring error or misconception:

    Williamson notes that the top associates feel that the expanded World T20 and contracted World Cup (which seems now to be an expanded Champions Trophy) would ensure that their remote chance of Test status vanishes..

    If that is how they feel then it is little wonder there chances of test status are remote. The ICC has very clear and succinct guidelines on attaining test status on their website and it certainly doesn't involve ONLY having impressive 50-over performances. It also includes having multi-day domestic cricket...something which few associates have seriously pursued outside of Kenya, Argentina, the Netherlands and Scotland and even then only Kenya and Argentina have any multi-day domestic cricket. The Dutch and Scots only have plans for it. I suspect only a couple of associates are truly serious about test status; the others just want the benefits of test status without the work.

  • reyme on October 22, 2010, 2:12 GMT

    @ApplesVsOranges, you are spot on! Lets have a 16 team Worldcup. 8 "Elites", 4 IPL's, 2 County, and 2 from Down Under. What a great business Idea! Next time lets play "8 Elites", 8 IPL team that is! And after that IPL will be considered as WORLD CUP! All the superstars play in IPL anyways, so whats the point of having another WC? BCCI happy, ICC Happy, they make money, gamblers make money, TV makes money! What a wonderful idea. Fortunately this game of cricket will cease to exist after 2-3 decades. Next? IPL Baseball. Reason? USA can bring money!

  • knowledge_eater on October 22, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    Very well article. But isn't it the whole world becoming like this after World War ? I still think making 20/20 global league is the way to go. Just like Soccer premiere league. World Cricket League, where major cities team represent and the tournament occurs globally and they rotate. Because some city of Kenya or Ireland playing against any of the IPL or English or SA or Australian team .. imagine the viewers of that ! One thing we have to be honest despite England Aus and SA are wealthy and Lankan cricket is decent, you are never going to find enough viewers as you will find it in India. So, that amount of viewer-ship should be used properly. Forget the test recognition of Associates, even current test members have hard time producing constant great performances. I am still not totally convinced with Test Championship. I think if really globablize Cricket, we will find many talent from a corner that we have never heard of. But Sigh..whole world is selfish. Even me.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on October 22, 2010, 0:20 GMT

    ICC is pathetic in everything it does. 1 reason is that CRICKET MISSED ITS CHANCE TO EXPAND DECADES AGO. The problem is there aren't too many teams playing high level cricket, therefore a small minority of the rich and the powerful are able to throw its weight around. Until this is fixed, ICC will remain to be weak and pathetic and almost insignificant. The beauty with FIFA is that so many nations have a say which prevents a few with more cash and larger population to fully dictate terms. This is a distant dream for cricket.

  • eire on October 21, 2010, 23:56 GMT

    With the new format once every team plays 5 or so games there wil be 3 teams with nothing to play for.Thus these teams wil play their reserve team, underperform & produce uncompetitive games. The major problem wid the cricket world cup is that it is too long,it goes on for nrly 2 months wid games nrly every day!!! Now here are some examples of dour, 1-sided games within the last world cup:Aus 348/6 NZL 133...Aus 322/6 WINDIES 219...WIndies 177; New Zealand 179/3 (39.2 ov)...Sri Lanka 303/5 (50 ov); West Indies 190...Bang 251/8; South Africa 184...Ireland 243/7; Bangladesh 169...Sri Lanka 226; Australia 232/3 42overs....England 154; South Africa 157/1...South Africa 149; Australia 153/3 31.3overs...Sri Lanka 289/5; New Zealand 208. As u can see from the above list there was a plethora of one-sided games involving full member nations. So any1 who states that only associates make for boring games is quite silly, when matches between full members quite often incur thrashings upon 1 anoth!

  • on October 21, 2010, 23:07 GMT

    Why don't we simply have 12 teams (Top 8 and 4 associate). Then have two groups for the world cup, 6 teams in each group with the top 4 qualifying for the super 8. Why do we have to have so many groups with such few teams? This way, the top 4 in each group qualify for the next stage, and if it happens to be that one of those top 4 are an associate team, well then that team has done something right to be in the top 4!!!

  • on October 21, 2010, 22:52 GMT

    One day cricket is going to die. The 30 overs of boredom in the middle of an innings is what's going to kill it, not one sided matches at the World Cup. The minnows realistically have a better chance of causing upsets at the 20/20 game which is also more likely to attract more attention in those countries. I'm pretty sure that's the logic behind the situation. But I'm not expecting many more 50 over World Cups anyway, so while I'd personally like to see some associates there I expect 2015 last one, unless some more interest can be returned to the 50 over game. My suggestion to fix the one day game is to give a team 100 bonus runs if they can bowl the other side out, that will give the bowlers some currency again. Who knows, the team batting second might be ahead of the side batting firsts target with 2 wickets in hand and 10 overs to spare. But they don't win until the 50 overs are up or they're 100 in front, much more like a 5th day of a Test Match kind of tension in that scenario!

  • Allrounder.no1 on October 21, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    the only reason ICC doing this is they dont get enough profits with weak teams coming into play....they tell weak teams dont are not getting strong.... 1 Question is....how on earth will weak teams get strong if they keep on struggling for matches within themslves?? ICC should keep matches between the weak and stronger teams often so that all gain experience and get strong... bangladesh was a damn weak team...but it strted improving only because they started gettin matches against stronger teams more often...n kenya reached semis in 2003 yet they r minnows...just because they hardly get any games to play against strong opponents.... for starts ICC should change its policies and definitely not be ruled by the boards that bring finance to their A/C. give more exposure to minnows..then only there wud not be a minnow team left..and the game can become global and competetive!! <peace out>o_O

  • Coastaltown on October 21, 2010, 21:47 GMT

    This is heartening. A deeply sane article and considered and thoughtful responses. This decision by the ICC is a stitch up; I'm an Englishman, I have no desire to see England playing the same seven teams over and over again. Ireland gave us a run for our money, the dutch beat us not so long ago. The associates deserve their day in the sun. They're playing good quality cricket. I'd fancy an associate XI to give most full members a decent game

  • on October 21, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    I love the group of NZ,WI, Banga and Ireland. On current form I could almost fancy Ireland topping that group, certainly qualifying from it. Bring it on I say. Of course, getting NZ especially prepared to take their chance against Ireland at present...highly unlikely I suspect!

  • shovwar on October 21, 2010, 21:12 GMT

    The WC 99 in England was the best format with 12 teams and the super 6....Bring that format back if the ICC has too many problems wit da 16 team format ..10 team is a shame in the name of a World Cup....Let me tell you this...ICC would have to reconsider the matter cuz in the coming WC there would be a lotta surprises...I wish I see 2 new teams in the final who never played a final before....lol..Hey! IT COULD BE!!!

  • amdtelrunya on October 21, 2010, 20:54 GMT

    The problem with the 2007 world cup (aside from the number of games) was the sheer length of the tournament, which has hardly changed for the 2011 event, being 43 days long (nearly 6 weeks!). The best thing about the Champions Trophy is that it only lasts for 2 weeks. The ICC should restrict the tournament to a month long. Looking at the schedule for the 2011 event, there are 42 group games, but only 10 days where 2 games are played. Surely there could by 2 games on each match day, so 21 days for the group stage? Add quarters, semis and final to that and you have a roughly month long tournament. At least the super eights has gone. This way the 14 team format would work, whilst still ensuring plenty of games for India, around who the whole tournament seems to be designed. The format ensures 3 to 4 day rests for each team on average, and if that is too short, allow enlarged squads to compete.

  • on October 21, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    A pentagular world cup would be the best idea involving Ind, Aus, Eng, SL and SA. Fisrt round robin, then super four, and top 2 teams play Best of Three More money, a successful world cup

    NZ, WI and Pak are on detour Ban +Zim are on honeymoon Associates who cares

    God Bless Cricket, ICC sucks

  • on October 21, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    bloody hell.... istead of making cricket a global sport dey r just limiting it to top flight tems wid just 10team worldcup..... some1 shud make ICC a free organisation...

  • gdavis on October 21, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    Excellent article. What if the rest of the world (outside of the big four) get together to form their own tournament with the idea of starting their own cricket association? One can hardly call themselves world champions at anything with just four teams taking part (outside of USA of course), and how dull is four teams playing themselves over and over, a regression in cricket back to 1928. Please, those with the authority outside of the big four, start looking after your own interest, you may not have the money, but you have the numbers. After the big four play themselves every year for three years I can assure you the crowds will dwindle. As for the rest of the cricketing world, the interest and the genuine love for the game will be on your side, the money will come, do what you love and the rest will take care of itself (with proper marketing of course).

  • on October 21, 2010, 19:22 GMT

    Avarice and greed are gonna drive you over the endless sea They will leave you drifting in the shallows Drowning in the oceans of history

    Ship of Fools - World Party

  • crussher on October 21, 2010, 19:15 GMT

    Finally an article on this in the mainstream media. ICC just wake up...

  • on October 21, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    If ICC don't want any teams other than the 10 test playing nations to play cricket, then I say the other nations should boycott cricket. No other sports body in the world shows so much of arrogance towards the minnows. They should rather concentrate on Soccer or Basketball.

  • dragqueen1 on October 21, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    There's one glaring error in an otherwise excellent article. The 'unloved' Champions Trophy hasn't been dispensed with it's been RENAMED the World Cup, it's the World Cup that's been dispensed with.

  • KAIRAVA on October 21, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    The 16 team format is perfect for the ICC World cup held once in every 4 years whereas the 8 best ODI teams should contest the ICC Champions trophy once every 2 years. India brings in more than half of the money into ICC cricket but its untimely elimination in the first round itself was a major disaster. ICC ODI World Cup 2007 could have been a success financially had India managed to atleast reached the super 8 stage. ICC has a total of 102 nations (10 permament, 34 associates & 48 affiliate nations) playing cricket while FIFA has 208 member associations playing football. FIFA world cup final is played between the best 32 nations so one atleast expects that icc world cup should be contested by 16 nations so that cricket spreads to far & wide.

  • KAIRAVA on October 21, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    The 16 team format is perfect for the ICC World cup held once in every 4 years whereas the 8 best ODI teams should contest the ICC Champions trophy once every 2 years. India brings in more than half of the money into ICC cricket but its untimely elimination in the first round itself was a major disaster. ICC ODI World Cup 2007 could have been a success financially had India managed to atleast reached the super 8 stage. ICC has a total of 102 nations (10 permament, 34 associates & 48 affiliate nations) playing cricket while FIFA has 208 member associations playing football. FIFA world cup final is played between the best 32 nations so one atleast expects that icc world cup should be contested by 16 nations so that cricket spreads to far & wide.

  • nzcricket174 on October 21, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    Why is it called a World Cup when the world is not competing? Just rename it the Commonwealth Cup + South Africa.

  • IlMagnifico on October 21, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    "this is why CRICKET WILL NEVER BE A PART OF OLYMPICS AND SHUD NT BE.....i will give 100 bucks to a guy who can challenge me tht INDIA in dis wrld cup will not be a part of the wrld cup final match..........."

    And I will give you two bucks if you can spell "this" correctly three times in a row.

  • spaul on October 21, 2010, 17:05 GMT

    well as far as i thing 12 team would be a better idea where we goin to see the associeats team fighting for two reamaing spot. ICC can have 2 group with six team each where 3 will go to the 2nd round each group. than from the 2nd round 2 team go to QF than SF and F........

  • andrew.henshaw on October 21, 2010, 16:40 GMT

    @Afroze : you've got to be nuts. the 2011 format is the WORST possible format. 6 weeks of group games to work out who the 8 best teams are? Despite recent Bang/Zim performances thats still pretty clear cut. The problem is each game needs to have RELEVANCE.

  • on October 21, 2010, 15:44 GMT

    Cricket merely confirms that it's a hot mess, and is just going to slip farther behind- much less than expanding the sport, it's actively losing countries it already has. Expect a quick railroading of Ireland into the top flight when the West Indies dissolve, and New Zealand is likely to be next.

  • Sportsscientist on October 21, 2010, 15:36 GMT

    LET THE GAME GROW?????? OR LET IT DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!! ............The ICC has a choice.

  • on October 21, 2010, 15:34 GMT

    The tragedy here extends not just to the World Cup format but to the ICC's whole development plan.

    Over the last 10 years they have invested serious time and money in developing their other 95 members, hence the top Associates are much more competitive and beneath them there is a lot more depth in standard and playing numbers.

    The whole system was set up around qualification for the World Cup, with regional leagues feeding an 8 division global league, the WCL. 50 over cricket is ideal for development, with some of the pressures and tactics of short formats but also the time to build some of the skills needed in multi day cricket. Many countries have actually changed the format of their domestic leagues to fall in line.

    Take away the opportunity to qualify and the whole system falls apart. The WCL is redundant and there is now nothing for lower ranked teams to aim for. The ICC have poured a bucket of water over a fire they built themselves, just as it was starting to get going.

  • Harvey on October 21, 2010, 15:21 GMT

    I don't share your pessimism about the possibility of a qualifying tournament featuring some of the full members as well as the associates. Firstly the presence of bigger teams would mean that the World Cup qualifying tournament would raise significant TV revenue for the ICC, which is not the case at present. Secondly, if you always hosted the tournament outside the Test-playing world, it would be a tremendous opportunity to promote the game there. Thirdly, it would keep the regular bilateral ODI series very interesting indeed, since the also-rans in the new ODI league would want to make sure they stayed in the top 6 or 7 to avoid having to qualify for the World Cup. The qualifying tournament would generate a phenomonal amount of interest if an England or a Pakistan for instance had to take part in it, and lets face it, they would probably get through in any case. If the 10 team World Cup does involve such a plan, then I think it will be great for all countries, even the associates.

  • on October 21, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    It would be SO simple to have 12 teams in the World Cup. Two groups of 6, all play all (even twice if you must for the $£) and top two go through to semi-finals. Shorter, yet intense. Could even 'seed' India and Pak into one group and Eng and Aus into the other to make money.

  • Thunee_man_Naidoo on October 21, 2010, 14:59 GMT

    With the current international structure the World Cup should stay at 12 teams, and perhaps increase that number as cricket continues. Logically there is no reason to bring the number of teams down, and was probably done (as you said in the article) by those who only care about money.

  • on October 21, 2010, 14:47 GMT

    This is why cricket will NEVER truly be a global sport.

  • on October 21, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    William, this is the best article i have ever read on cricinfo. The associates should be given a chance in the world cup. 10 team world is just a ridiculous decision. How can it be called a world cup. It should be called a full members cup. Icc is just subsidiary of the greedy bcci.

  • on October 21, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    Sorry Cricket can't aspire to be a Football.Even quarter of Commonwealth nations don't play the game.Please have a look at Field Hockey.They had a WC in New Delhi and had just 12 teams in it even though it is a Olympic sport.Still RSA and Canada were tanked in their matches.So the quality is not quite there.Even the FIFA WC 2010 was a dud with so many boring matches.So the point is just don't increase the teams for the heck of it.Make it only a 12 team WC with only two assosciates teams and you may have a 14 or 16 team 20/20 WC.Already the member nations are not interested in playing matches with the Assosciate teams but somehow the likes of Ireland and Afghanistan have to be given chances to make it as a Test team.Just a seat to a WC will not give many options.

  • on October 21, 2010, 14:30 GMT

    So let me get this straight, instead of making Cricket a genuine world sport with genuine world sporting countries represented to further its own popularity and further its popularity whilst getting rid of the 'boring old man' tag, they would rather use this as an opportunity to dash the hopes of Ireland, Kenya, Afghanistan, Holland, Zimbabwe and countless others and further cement and secure the ICC members place in what appears to be nothing more than a cushty, elitist, rich mans club who hate the thought of new members with fresh thinking attitudes joining in their fun, the ICC are no different to the upper-class turds who have just ruined the academic future of millions in the UK.

    There are almost 100 associate teams who have never been given a chance, what motivation is there for them to play at all? They may as well stick to football and motorsport.

  • Afroze.... on October 21, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    i dont agree with a world cup with 10 teams.then it wont be a world cup with only 10 teams featuring and 48 matches...!! i think the format for this wc (2011) is da best one..!! =D

  • on October 21, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    this is why CRICKET WILL NEVER BE A PART OF OLYMPICS AND SHUD NT BE.....i will give 100 bucks to a guy who can challenge me tht INDIA in dis wrld cup will not be a part of the wrld cup final match...........

  • on October 21, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    I am absolutely fine with the 10-team ODI world cup scenario. It makes no sense to include the associates in the world cup just for fun and create a "world-like" feel for a world cup event. if you are not good enough, then you dont deserve to play. the reason i say it so harshly is because the development of the game in the country is a joke such as USA or Canada. they need to find sponsors internally, go to england and play country vs club matches, get more experience, encourage youngsters - why is it that we always see 38+ year old uncles playing in the USA team when you atleast get a benched baseball rookie to star as your opener or main fielder. there is no room for trying something new. the entire Italian team is made up of indians and sri lankans ... there is no exposure in there to suggest you are promoting the game in italy, but u want to simply toss the countries name in there to feel equal to FIFA. that will never happen. stick to the 10-best and you will have a good champion

  • elmo_leon on October 21, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    I have HOPE that this decision of having only 10 teams will be overturned!

  • avis1001 on October 21, 2010, 13:30 GMT

    why anybody cribs here? It is purely a business. Whoever brings more money, they will control anything in world. So, let the other countries get more money than BCCI, and then the control can be ceased.

  • on October 21, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    I think the problem with ICC is that they are so concerned about short term money making rather than going for a long term plan of promoting the game.Which is the need of the hour.Associate wouldn't make as much money as the Indian crowds in the short term.But in the long run, if they are given a chance to play more, they will.I think what ICC should realize is where their priority lies.They are not a money making body,they are here to develop the game.So,they should go that way,even if that means some short term losses.

  • on October 21, 2010, 12:47 GMT

    Totally Valid points raised... But the only probable solution is to have Teams ranked 8,9 and 10 compete against Associate members- with provision that Home team is automatically qualified.. If 2 or more countries are hosting the World Cup, then unless all of them are in Top 7, they will have to play the Qualifying rounds with associates too... After all, while we all blame commercilising of sports- the truth is- you can not have a world cup with 4-6 minnows who might progress instead of a strong team due to their performance in one match...

  • Jean1973 on October 21, 2010, 12:32 GMT

    I might be a bit nostalgic here, but for me the best edition of the WC was the 1992 version (South Africa's first attendance), where all the teams played each other once. The top 4 teams qualified for the semi-finals. Few people could complain that the best team was not crowned champions (Pakistan under Imran Kahn). I think the ICC have realised this as well. To have this format again, realistically requires no more than 10 teams competing. I understand that the game must be grown at Associate member and other levels and for that purpose their participation can be determined by having the lowest ranked Full member side playing in a qualifying tournie vs top Associate sides. In my view if in such a format an Associate team qualifies consistently for the WC, only then consider expanding the format again to group stages, super 6/8, semi's and final.

  • surajitkumar013 on October 21, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    Few people here who were talking about fare games and those in ICC suggests that please explain what is a fare contest ?

    In asia cup Sri lanka were bold out under 200 N India won tha matches comprihensivly Or a ODI match played around the same timw but other side of world in which AUS were all out around 220 and Ire got upto 190 with first 80 runs coming in quick time.

    Here says Ire and AFG cannot draw crowds. How it will if they don't play regularly against tough opposition.

    And, lastly Cricket can never become as famous as football as it contains so many Hippocrates who in name of developing the only just trying to spread it around the world for gaining money.

    They should take responsibility.

  • ApplesVsOranges on October 21, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    Indian cricket council has no interest in promoting the game and its only looking for ways to generate more money for some of its greedy members. Teams like Kenya, Ireland or Afghanistan do not bring any commercial value to WC so they should be replaced by two more Indian teams or even better if one of these Indian team should be allowed to play semi-final and final directly to avoid the commercial loss that may happen from India's early exit.

  • on October 21, 2010, 11:16 GMT

    Great piece, Martin - you can read a Canadian's perspective at http://www.canadacricket.com/?p=895 - a world Cup in name only...

  • on October 21, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    damn this bcci... the t20 plan is really good but why reduce the world cup? i (n many other diehard cricket fans) wish to see a cricket world cup with 32 teams n they r reducing it to 10... thisis politics and corruption... nothing else... screw the icc.. screw the bcci.. screw all the people who support this decision....

  • evenflow_1990 on October 21, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    i don't particularly mind. the associates need to prove they can actually win consistently before they can play. if there was an associate team that thoroughly outclassed the other associates consistently, then they would easily make it into the fold. the onus is on them to improve for their own sake, rather can begging the ICC for charity.

  • nzcricket174 on October 21, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    Great job Martin, you hit the nail on the head. ICC have made a complete mess of this. I would like to see countries like Afghanistan playing, they have real talent there. But with the ICC popping too many pills, that is never going to happen. Even saying all these things, you can't exactly put all the blame on India. If you want cricket to succeed you MUST appeal to Indian audiences. No, I am not any part Indian, I am saying this because it is true. Sure, before there were just England, Australia and the West Indies. BUT THINK HOW POPULAR CRICKET WAS BACK THEN? Back then there was nothing to do but go to the cricket. It was all three countries top sports. But look at the West Indies now, they have lost interest in cricket. England are same old, same old. Australia are slowly starting to fade (compare Sydney 2009 to 2010, they are miles apart in attendance). Good job Martin, this needs to be out there, people have the right to know!

  • on October 21, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    Excellent article, I hope that all of the full member chief execs read it and take heed (well one can but hope).

    The most ridiculous part of all this is that the 2011 tournament hasn't even taken place yet. What if Ireland make it through to the quarter-finals (which is a realistic possibility) and another one of the associates springs an upset or two? The ICC will look even more foolish than they already do.

    I think that next year's tournament, with 14 teams, 2 groups of 7, then going into a straight knockout from the quarter-finals onwards, might finally be a decent format for the event, having got rid of the complicated and protracted Super 6s/Super 8s which have blighted the last 3 competitions. Here's hoping against hope that the ICC think again about this dreadful, short-sighted decision.

  • D.V.C. on October 21, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    My preferred format: 1st round: 4 groups of 4 (24 games) => top 2 in each group progress. 2nd round: 2 groups of 4 (12 games) => top 2 in each group progress. Semi-finals (2 games) => Final (1 game). That gives 39 games total, each team having between 3 and 8 games. There are 16 teams in this format, so 6 Associates, but the worst 8 teams are knocked out after the first round, any 2 teams that played each other in the first round won't meet again until at least the semi finals. Better still, groupings for the tournament based on current rankings would be: (Aus, Ind, Can, Sco), (SA, SL, Afg, Ken), (Eng, Pak, Zim, Neth), (NZ, WI, Bang, Ire). If India can't beat Canada and Scotland I'll eat my hat. Predicted 2nd round would be: (Aus, SA, Pak, WI), (Eng, NZ, Ind, SL). Predicted semis: (Aus v Eng), (SA v Ind). Predicted Final: (Aus v Ind). That's all assuming the teams ranked higher always win, but you can't tell me that's not a great tournament!

  • nshhamit on October 21, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    Spot on with the article - I hope there are follow-ups !!! ICC officials would benefit from reading these suggestions. Fans have done the brainstorming for them. Here's a few more ideas that might help spread the game and increase diversity :

    1. regular one-day tournaments /tri-series, and eventually tests between associate nations. tri-series should include top associate sides as well as newbies. they could be hosted by england/australia/india.

    2. include 4 associate nations in the champions league. there were some amazing players from all participating teams who don't play on their national sides!

    3. modify the champions league so teams are able to recruit associate members into their teams. encourage ipl teams to do the same. the english premier league gave most football 'star strikers' from e.g. african countries their breaks. those stars raised the profile of the game in their countries. people watch didier drogba when he plays for the ivory coast!

  • andrew.henshaw on October 21, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    Qualification tournament should consist of teams ranked 7-10 plus the 6 teams who have ODI status. At present this would be: NZ, Pak, Bang, Zim, Ire, Neth, Kenya, Afghan, Can, Scot. Two groups of 5 with top 2 qualifying for the WC. Alternatively - include only 4 associates and a simple league stage to determine who makes it through.

  • on October 21, 2010, 9:06 GMT

    I don't want to sound like I have the ultimate solution. Because I don't. There is no such thing. I just don't understand why we cannot have a 'simple' league system, much like football, where a season spans 4 years, instead of 8 months or so. Yes, that means more games for minnow nations versus epically big nations, but isn't that a great opportunity for the bigger countries to play younger teams and experiment with a youth system? Isn't that largely what happens in football? If Man U are playing against Ye-Olde-Towne FC I'm pretty the big names will be rested for the bigger clashes. So my suggestion is simple. Premier League: 16 teams must play each other 4 times over 4 years. The top 10 teams from this league qualify for the World Cup, the bottom 4 get demoted. Second Division: 16 teams, top 2 qualify for the World Cup, top 4 get promoted, bottom 4 get demoted. Etc. I realise there are still issues with this, but surely it's got to be the starting thought??

  • on October 21, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    Actually it's all because of greed the icc has not really been interested in the expansion of the global game,just depending upon the few countries, but it must remember how much can a balloon expand,at some point of time it will burst up,so without expansion into new countries the icc will surely meet it's dead end.

  • Raju_Iyer on October 21, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    Come on guys, stop being hypocrites! And for heaven's sake stop comparing cricket which in all honesty is limited in popularity to a handful of nations for ages to football which is far more popular across the planet. Why blame the ICC? What does the playing public prefer? Just look at what happened over the last couple of weeks. Everyone and their aunt, uncle and maidservant were asking why there were only two Test matches between India and Australia. Did anyone suggest that Bangladesh or Ireland should be playing more in India?? !! Just enjoy the action and stop cribbing about developing or spreading the game.

  • Fyfie on October 21, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    In my opinion, the greatest world cup story is Kenya's progression through to the semi-finals in 2003 (even if it was aided by a forfeit and South Africa's stuff up). Sadly we're unlikely to see something like this again now. The ICC should have stuck with a 14 team tournament with 2 groups of 7 (or even 12 teams if they wanted to cut down), the top 8 should have got autotmatic qualification, the other 6 (or 4) spots would be up for grabs. The format of the last world cup was flawed because all it took was one loss from India and Pakistan to knock them out, which diminished interest in the bloated super-8s, if the initial group stage was larger & longer, then followed by knock-out matches, India wouldn't drop out early (pleasing the bean counters) and the tournament maintains it's credibility. Yet the ICC never takes the common sense approach, associates will never be allowed to qualify despite Zimbabwe's ineptness, because Zimbabwe give the BCCI a free vote on all matters cricket.

  • on October 21, 2010, 8:27 GMT

    I am so sick of the ICC right now. There is no democracy at the ICC and little if any representation from any of the associates.

    The Intercontinental Cup should either do one of two things, with an aim to open the door to test cricket. a) create an associate XI to take on Test nations in order to blood and develop the players truly worthy of test cricket while these teams develop and if a team believes it is ready for test cricket with a viable set up a vote from the ICC m, give them a 5 year probationary license with full funding, or b) give the winner a temporary Test Match license which gives them full representation at the ICC, and full funding that goes with it, the team that wins the Intercontinental Cup the next year challenges the team on temporary license and if they loose in a six test series (3 home, 3 away), if the licencee hold its position and is able to sustain its self financially then a democratic vote should then be put forward to bring the team in as a full member

  • on October 21, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    well said harmske! And yes, taking T20 as the criterion for evaluating associates is an insult to cricket itself! Any sensible cricket lover would know that T20 is good only for the thrill, and I think its ok to have a short global tournament every two years and end it at that! Somehow this lessening of the teams for the 50over cup and increasing them for the 20over cup seems like sacrilege!!! the 50over format was a necessary entertaining adjunct to the real cricket which is test cricket, but such proliferation of T20 is already having its bad effects. People are getting injured left right and centre, making it difficult to perform where its wanted, and atleast Pakistan's batsmen seem to have forgotten the knack of staying at the crease ever since they became so good at T20 :| I wish the ICC would stop phasing out 50over ODIs in favour of T20!

  • andrew.henshaw on October 21, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    Fantastic article Martin - the ICC's decision is indeed pathetic

  • Icyman on October 21, 2010, 7:56 GMT

    Your article seems to blame India most of the time. True, as a super-power of world cricket,we have called the shots many a time, but accusing us of this move just on the basis of Srinivasan's presence in the committee is simply wrong. The 07 WC was a disaster cause teams like Bangla and Ire still do not draw adequate crowds. Their entry into the S8 stage meant that there were only 6 teams who had to battle it out for 4 spots. Secondly, you do not want to see WC matches wherein you end up with megalomaniac scores of 350-400 against the Associates. You want proper matches and these I believe give an unfair advantage to teams in terms of NRR. Reducing the Associates is a right move. Perhaps the qualification between the worst ODI teams and Associates would be good to appease everyone.

  • BlorScouser on October 21, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    Good article. We might as well get back to calling the ICC as the Imperial Cricket Conference. They surely aren't a truely international organisation for the establishment of the game across the globe. While I appreciate their idea of spreading the game through the T20 medium, the best manner to test the top associates is by enabling them to compete with the test playing nations in the 50 over world cup. Will hope that the ICC establishes some kind of a qualifying tournament. Otherwise its a bleak future for fans who want to support a truely global game.

  • daager on October 21, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    Sad but true. Personally as an SA fan I think, much like rugby union, that these endless tournaments and extended series between the top sides have completely devalued the game. Thank god for test cricket, 50 over is dying, and I hate 20/20. Even 50 over stats are worthless now because they make the pitches so batsmen friendly. If they carry on like this no-one will want to become a bowler, just to please all the 20/20 cretins who just want to see sixes. THe India v SA, and the Ashes series coming up is the first time I have been excited about cricket for a long time.

    I really dont understand why there cant be a two tier test system with the strongest associate playing in the higher echelon with one relegation every 2 years, much like football. The game should be encouraged everywhere and its sad that the money men always win.

  • on October 21, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    And no cricket should not be like football. The only good thing about football is that lots of nations get to compete. That is all!! Cricket should always be a national sport or else it will lose all its charm. I think its rubbish that the English Premier League seems to be more important than the FIFA World Cup, and the only time you get to see your national team is every four years. That would starve me at any rate. I think the Champions League hasn't exactly had an amazing impact. In fact I hate it all the more because it gets to replace live coverage of bilateral series. People don't love things like that. People love things like the Ashes, the Border-Gavaskar trophy and India-Pakistan matches. So I wish all such waste-of-time-non-national ideas should find their way to the rubbish bin.

  • on October 21, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    I dont see why the Associates should have to faceoff with the minnows among the full-members. Why cant they simply be included in the World Cup?? One cant expect everyone to have Ireland's fortunes but frankly I think the only way to spread the games popularity will be to let the best of the Associates enter the tournament. If they are knocked out at the first round; well it stands to reason that if they are good enough to win the cup they are good enough to not get knocked out. I dont care about the commercial aspects. I just think that four associates should qualify everytime. You don't get good at cricket unless ur given the chance to face the best. Look at Bangladesh, who after years of disappointment, are finally proving their worth. I think given time, many teams can become world beaters, and the more teams there are, the more prestigious the role of world beater would be.

  • harmske on October 21, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    Finally, someone writes an article about the associates! We need to expand the game, and the fact that this is still a debate is in itself ridiculous. ICC should have clear agendas and goals, for example they should look to get teams like Ireland, Netherlands & Kenya playing Tests by 2015. Even if they aren't playing major test playing nations much, they could be assigned a separate group where they could at least get the hang of 5 day cricket. And they could have annual challengers tournament where they play amongst themselves, and the winner gets to play a one off Test against England at Lords, or against India at Chennai, or Australia at the MCG. If i can come up with this by putting my mind to it for a few minutes, then surely the wise ones at the ICC can do better seeing as it's their job!

  • Meety on October 21, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Good article, full of venom. The one thing the ICC has partly done okay at is developing a progression path for fledging cricket nations, they now appear to have stuffed it up. At the moment there are 2 teams ripping it up at Associate level - Afghanistan & Ireland, the advances that those 2 nations in particular have made will amount to nothing if the 2015 format comes to reality. The thing that annoys me is that - yes in 2007 six associates were too many, the associates have made advancements in their game. Consider this, in July this year Bangladesh after winning an ODI against England were beaten by both Netherlands & Ireland, Bangladesh has since gone on tothump NZ 4-0. Ireland have given England a scare this year as well. The point I am coming to is that the quality of the Associates has RISEN, since 2007, thanks to more matches scheduled for Associates. I think that Ireland, Afghan, Kenya, Netherlands & Scotland should be at the World Cup in 50/50 format without qualifying. TBC

  • AbhiPro on October 21, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    You're bang on target, Martin. No one in his right mind will believe that people like Srinivasan, who are forever busy fighting turf battles, have the best interests of the game at heart. For them, it's just another extension of their corporate empires.

    What sort of a World Cup is this??? It's a cozy hang-out for powerful boards like India, Australia and England. No game can spread when those on the fringes are kicked out like this. And for countries like Ireland that aspire for Test status, of what use is the stupid T20 World Cup??? It's like trying to satisfy a union clamouring for wage hikes with a box of chocolates.

    Cricket is so cozily ensconced in its traditional markets that it does not care to grow beyond them. And that's why people who control those huge markets can get away with anything. What a deplorable state of affairs!

  • on October 21, 2010, 4:55 GMT

    Oh and thanks for yet ANOTHER Cheap Shot at Bermuda Mr. Williamsom... truth is we are the ONLY nation outside of the 10 Test playing nations with enough money to compete with them and upgrade our facilities to be on par (As we are the richest nation Per Capita (PPP) ). Truth is we COULD have bounced back, but with these new rules its impossible now

  • ygkd on October 21, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    It's called dividing up the spoils between yourselves and it happens at all levels of the game. Once cliques develop good governance goes out the window and these sorts of short-sighted decisions relegate so many possibilities to the dustbin. As the cliques get worse all sorts of corruption can raise their ugly head. The cricketing world need not revolve around the IPL and the Ashes. It has a genuine chance to grow, but instead we see absurd situations like Ed Joyce not being able to resume his Irish international career, or Hamish Marshall who, clearly unwanted by NZ, can't officially play for the minnow Ireland anyway. Clearances should not be necessary to play for non-Test teams. That way, should Ireland make test status, these two would have served their time within the team, not on the sidelines. One wonders what would happen if the ICC spent more energy encouraging other nations and less propping up the current structure.

  • arnold_mccann on October 21, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    This problem is still persistent even today. In the nineties it used to be England and Australia dominating the ICC but now it is India since money has shifted towards the east. The ICC decision making is marred by the fighting between the western and eastern camps. New countries that come into the ICC are given associate member status or lower and that is a disgrace. Why not do something where every country in the world, weak or strong have an equal voting right as to a test playing nation. The environment in the ICC is such that they allow certain countries to posses imperial domination. When Wasim Akram says that cricket should be expanded all the way to the US it sounds hilarious because you do not give every nation an equal footing to make it to the top. Hence, you are confining cricket to certain nations and making it unpopular since it lacks diversity...

  • Joji_ on October 21, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    The very best article I've read in a long while. P.S. My team is a full memeber.

  • on October 21, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    There must be a way to take the ICC and the cricket boards to the CAS Courts and charge them with discrimination and Elitism?? There must be a way to force them to change the name from *INTERNATIONAL* Cricket to *COMMONWEALTH* as they have no interest in opening up to any nations apart from CHINA or the USA (Because of the Potential Money markets). Its an absolute SHAME that a Sport can be totally shut down to taking on any new nations because of money. This is EXACTLY why Cricket needs to be changed towards a model like Football. Let the CLUB teams lead the way and make the International matches more sporadic and meaningful, that way these National Boards don't have a significant say over the Governing of the GLOBAL game, and the ICC needs to rule with absolute Power like FIFA does in Football to assure the game is run in a correct manner.

  • Hoggy_1989 on October 21, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    Spot on there, Martin. It seems that the three Full Member countries who run this game are being short-sighted and money-hungry (squarely pointing the finger at England, Australia and India equally here). A better solution would to have Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, the West Indies and Pakistan (seeing as though seem to be firmly anchored to the bottom of the ICC ODI rankings, in whatever order they happen to fall in) participate in a qualification tournament between them and the 4 highest ranked Associate Nations, as a 'pre-World Cup Qualification Tournament'. If the Full Member countries can finish at the top of that qualification system, then they deserve to be at the World Cup and it gives the Associate Nations a chance to shine against 'real' opposition, without being utterly humiliated at the hands of the top Full Member nations (as was the USA at the Champions Trophy one year). Unfortunately, thats not going to happen.

  • Vinod on October 21, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    The main reason why Cricket hasn't spread to the rest of the world is because of ICC. With such a self-interested & self-centred world body, one can't expect much from ICC. In this world of today where information and communication through the social media can make a big difference. I call upon media organization and cricket fans to mobilize the support against the lacklustre attitude of ICC.

    My question to ICC is, do they really care for the game? Do they really want the game to spread?

    In the last couple of years cricket has lost its sheen. There have been too many unnecessary games. Who wants to watch those many games? India has been playing non-stop. With the overdose of cricket, the interest towards the game has been declining.

    It is high time ICC realise its mistakes and rectify them.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Vinod on October 21, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    The main reason why Cricket hasn't spread to the rest of the world is because of ICC. With such a self-interested & self-centred world body, one can't expect much from ICC. In this world of today where information and communication through the social media can make a big difference. I call upon media organization and cricket fans to mobilize the support against the lacklustre attitude of ICC.

    My question to ICC is, do they really care for the game? Do they really want the game to spread?

    In the last couple of years cricket has lost its sheen. There have been too many unnecessary games. Who wants to watch those many games? India has been playing non-stop. With the overdose of cricket, the interest towards the game has been declining.

    It is high time ICC realise its mistakes and rectify them.

  • Hoggy_1989 on October 21, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    Spot on there, Martin. It seems that the three Full Member countries who run this game are being short-sighted and money-hungry (squarely pointing the finger at England, Australia and India equally here). A better solution would to have Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, the West Indies and Pakistan (seeing as though seem to be firmly anchored to the bottom of the ICC ODI rankings, in whatever order they happen to fall in) participate in a qualification tournament between them and the 4 highest ranked Associate Nations, as a 'pre-World Cup Qualification Tournament'. If the Full Member countries can finish at the top of that qualification system, then they deserve to be at the World Cup and it gives the Associate Nations a chance to shine against 'real' opposition, without being utterly humiliated at the hands of the top Full Member nations (as was the USA at the Champions Trophy one year). Unfortunately, thats not going to happen.

  • on October 21, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    There must be a way to take the ICC and the cricket boards to the CAS Courts and charge them with discrimination and Elitism?? There must be a way to force them to change the name from *INTERNATIONAL* Cricket to *COMMONWEALTH* as they have no interest in opening up to any nations apart from CHINA or the USA (Because of the Potential Money markets). Its an absolute SHAME that a Sport can be totally shut down to taking on any new nations because of money. This is EXACTLY why Cricket needs to be changed towards a model like Football. Let the CLUB teams lead the way and make the International matches more sporadic and meaningful, that way these National Boards don't have a significant say over the Governing of the GLOBAL game, and the ICC needs to rule with absolute Power like FIFA does in Football to assure the game is run in a correct manner.

  • Joji_ on October 21, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    The very best article I've read in a long while. P.S. My team is a full memeber.

  • arnold_mccann on October 21, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    This problem is still persistent even today. In the nineties it used to be England and Australia dominating the ICC but now it is India since money has shifted towards the east. The ICC decision making is marred by the fighting between the western and eastern camps. New countries that come into the ICC are given associate member status or lower and that is a disgrace. Why not do something where every country in the world, weak or strong have an equal voting right as to a test playing nation. The environment in the ICC is such that they allow certain countries to posses imperial domination. When Wasim Akram says that cricket should be expanded all the way to the US it sounds hilarious because you do not give every nation an equal footing to make it to the top. Hence, you are confining cricket to certain nations and making it unpopular since it lacks diversity...

  • ygkd on October 21, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    It's called dividing up the spoils between yourselves and it happens at all levels of the game. Once cliques develop good governance goes out the window and these sorts of short-sighted decisions relegate so many possibilities to the dustbin. As the cliques get worse all sorts of corruption can raise their ugly head. The cricketing world need not revolve around the IPL and the Ashes. It has a genuine chance to grow, but instead we see absurd situations like Ed Joyce not being able to resume his Irish international career, or Hamish Marshall who, clearly unwanted by NZ, can't officially play for the minnow Ireland anyway. Clearances should not be necessary to play for non-Test teams. That way, should Ireland make test status, these two would have served their time within the team, not on the sidelines. One wonders what would happen if the ICC spent more energy encouraging other nations and less propping up the current structure.

  • on October 21, 2010, 4:55 GMT

    Oh and thanks for yet ANOTHER Cheap Shot at Bermuda Mr. Williamsom... truth is we are the ONLY nation outside of the 10 Test playing nations with enough money to compete with them and upgrade our facilities to be on par (As we are the richest nation Per Capita (PPP) ). Truth is we COULD have bounced back, but with these new rules its impossible now

  • AbhiPro on October 21, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    You're bang on target, Martin. No one in his right mind will believe that people like Srinivasan, who are forever busy fighting turf battles, have the best interests of the game at heart. For them, it's just another extension of their corporate empires.

    What sort of a World Cup is this??? It's a cozy hang-out for powerful boards like India, Australia and England. No game can spread when those on the fringes are kicked out like this. And for countries like Ireland that aspire for Test status, of what use is the stupid T20 World Cup??? It's like trying to satisfy a union clamouring for wage hikes with a box of chocolates.

    Cricket is so cozily ensconced in its traditional markets that it does not care to grow beyond them. And that's why people who control those huge markets can get away with anything. What a deplorable state of affairs!

  • Meety on October 21, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Good article, full of venom. The one thing the ICC has partly done okay at is developing a progression path for fledging cricket nations, they now appear to have stuffed it up. At the moment there are 2 teams ripping it up at Associate level - Afghanistan & Ireland, the advances that those 2 nations in particular have made will amount to nothing if the 2015 format comes to reality. The thing that annoys me is that - yes in 2007 six associates were too many, the associates have made advancements in their game. Consider this, in July this year Bangladesh after winning an ODI against England were beaten by both Netherlands & Ireland, Bangladesh has since gone on tothump NZ 4-0. Ireland have given England a scare this year as well. The point I am coming to is that the quality of the Associates has RISEN, since 2007, thanks to more matches scheduled for Associates. I think that Ireland, Afghan, Kenya, Netherlands & Scotland should be at the World Cup in 50/50 format without qualifying. TBC

  • harmske on October 21, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    Finally, someone writes an article about the associates! We need to expand the game, and the fact that this is still a debate is in itself ridiculous. ICC should have clear agendas and goals, for example they should look to get teams like Ireland, Netherlands & Kenya playing Tests by 2015. Even if they aren't playing major test playing nations much, they could be assigned a separate group where they could at least get the hang of 5 day cricket. And they could have annual challengers tournament where they play amongst themselves, and the winner gets to play a one off Test against England at Lords, or against India at Chennai, or Australia at the MCG. If i can come up with this by putting my mind to it for a few minutes, then surely the wise ones at the ICC can do better seeing as it's their job!