March 2, 2011

A wake-up call for a cliquey sport

Ireland have proudly carried the associates' standard for two World Cups in succession. They're not asking for free lunches, just for a fair chance
100

Just how do you begin to make sense of what happened under lights at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday? The cricket World Cup has seen upsets before. Zimbabwe beat Australia in 1983, and Ireland first came to prominence with that thrilling triumph over Pakistan in 2007. But Australia in 83 were a team in decline and the Pakistanis were a shambles. England, as they showed on Sunday night against India, are an upwardly mobile force.

You can look to other sports and still not find an answer. Argentina lost to Cameroon in the opening game of Italia 90, while the French slipped on a banana skin against Senegal 12 years later. But the French, with Zinedine Zidane injured, had played one tournament too many as a group, while the Argentines had always been mercurial and prone to implosion.

Comparisons with Ireland's Italia 90 adventure aren't accurate either. They may have been unfancied quarter-finalists but the man who scored against England, Kevin Sheedy, was a household name, a legend of the great Everton sides of the 1980s. Rugby comparisons fail too, because Brian O'Driscoll, who led them to a first Grand Slam in 61 years in 2010, has long been recognised as one of the game's greats.

So, where do we slot Kevin O'Brien and this innings for the ages? The only comparison that makes sense to me is with another team that played in green 42 years ago. The New York Jets were huge underdogs going into Super Bowl III against Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts, but Joe Namath played the game of his life to upset the odds.

The Jets were part of the much-derided American Football League, the new kids on the block. Against the might of the National Football League, they weren't given a chance. Their win paved the way for parity, for a level playing field.

The O'Brien family has some previous when it comes to such heroics. Let's not forget that it was Niall's classy 72 that provided the ballast for the tricky run-chase against Pakistan. A game earlier, Kevin's sturdy medium-pace produced a wicket-maiden when Zimbabwe needed just nine to win from 12 balls. They would only tie.

How wonderful it would be if this triumph could do for Irish cricket what the Jets did for the AFL. Ireland have proudly carried the Associates' standard for two World Cups in succession. They're not asking for free lunches, just for a fair chance.

"The ICC have made the decision to reduce it [the next World Cup] to 10 teams and that's pretty disappointing," said William Porterfield afterwards, managing to look serious even with purple hair. "We will have to wait and see what happens in April when they decide if there will be a qualifying tournament. If we don't get in, it could be the death knell for Associate teams."

As special as Ireland's three results in 2007 were, this easily eclipses them. Zimbabwe were there for the taking, while Pakistan scripted their demise with shots of staggering stupidity. Bangladesh just couldn't cope with a fast and bouncy pitch in Barbados

The elitists' argument has as many legs as Long John Silver did. A cosy clique works for those within, but it alienates everyone else, and destroys their chances of development. Sri Lanka won just two of their first 15 World Cup matches. Had the ICC lost patience after they lost every game in 1987, there would have been no Cinderella story in 1996.

Of course, Sri Lanka had a thriving school system to produce talent, and fine coaches. The likes of Ireland and Netherlands don't, yet, and they never will if young kids are denied the chance to dream of being the next O'Brien or ten Doeschate on the world stage.

This was my 25th World Cup game, and half a dozen of them have featured Ireland. No one who was there will ever forget St Patrick's Day in 2007, "Cotton Eye Joe" blaring from the speakers and throats increasingly lubricated by Red Stripe, singing "The Fields of Athenry" and "Molly Malone". Those were "I- was there" moments I'll treasure all my life, and the World Cup would be immeasurably poorer without them.

Having watched Ireland play and also in training, and talked to the likes of Trent Johnston and Boyd Rankin, it's not hard to guess why they so consistently punch above their weight. If you could bottle the spirit within the camp, it would sell as well as Guinness or Bushmills. They're a tight unit, and take such joy in each other's successes. Against a team of prima donnas or those that feel success is their entitlement, they will always have a chance.

As special as the three results in 2007 were, this easily eclipses them. Zimbabwe were there for the taking, while Pakistan scripted their demise with shots of staggering stupidity. Bangladesh just couldn't cope with a fast and bouncy pitch in Barbados.

Here, England made 327. Against Bangladesh in Mirpur, Ireland had needed just 55 from 81 balls with five wickets in hand when O'Brien Junior was dismissed. They fell apart. Here, Alex Cusack was run out when 55 were required with just 51 balls remaining. This time, there was no disintegration.

The previous highest World Cup score by a "minnow" batting second was Sri Lanka's 276 for 4 in the inaugural World Cup. That day at The Oval, Australia had made one more than England did at the Chinnaswamy. When the Powerplay was taken, Ireland needed 161 from 114 balls. Associate teams just don't do that against full-strength opposition. Neither do batsmen who play in the Leinster League after county contracts have been terminated make 50-ball centuries on the biggest stage.

Till now. This is the wake-up call that cricket needs. Embrace, don't alienate. Nurture, don't destroy. Take the Ghanas out of the football and the Irelands out of the cricket, and what we're left with would be a much poorer spectacle.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on March 4, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    Great suggestions MEETY. The solution is much simpler than icc imply.

  • pj3000 on March 4, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    @ Meety - you're on fire! Quick query re 5...sounds grand on paper, but would you allow 'marquee' Test series exemptions from the division rankings system? My concern would be should Aus and England, for example, be in different divisions at a particular point in time, what happens at the Ashes? Also re 6, how would you see the 16 teams you propose qualifying? Do Test teams + Zim get automatic entry, or should they play in WC qualifiers along the same lines as the Associates currently do? Shouldn't there be a fair dinkum qualifying set up ala the FIFA WC?

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    6. Do away with the T20 W/Cup. 7. Promote Champions League with the inclusion of minnows. Possibly 32 teams. 8. Lobby the Olympic committee to include cricket in T20 format, (this would replace the T20 W/Cup). I'd consider conditions, where by Test nations have to send a squad containing either uncapped players or U21s, maybe with 1 squad member who is experienced. Being the Olympics & time being of the essence I would say that a 64 team knock-out be the go. No round-robbin matches - you lose, you're out. I'd also pay myself a million dollars a week for the privilage of the ICC using my magnificent mind! Also I'd order surgery on Billy Bowdens finger so he can straighten it out, broker peace in the Middle-East, AND move the Ashes to their rightful home in OZ, AND sack Hilditch from the Board of Selectors!!!!

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    (cont) - The McIntyre system more or less gives the possibility of a 2nd chance to a team beaten in the FIRST round of the finals. The top 8 MUST be ranked for this to work. The QTR Finals would be 1 v 8, 2 v 7 etc. The highest 2 ranked losers play the lowest ranked winners for the right to play the highest ranked winners in a semi final. 5. Tests would be split up into 3 groupings. Group A (highest 4 ranked sides), would compete home & away over FIVE test series. Group B (next 3 ranked sides), would play each other over 5 Test series, & play Group A teams over THREE tests @ home & TWO Tests away. GROUP C would include the bottom ranked Test nations (inc Ireland). They would play each other over 3 test series home & away. They would also play TWO Test series @ home & 1 Test away against GROUP B teams. I think thi would preserve the integrity of statistics & at the same time expand the game. Other nations like Kenya,Netherlands etc would play "un-official tests v GROUP C teams. (TBC)!!

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    If the world revolved around me - this is what I would have the ICC do! 1. Turn all bi-lateral competitions into tri-series events including 1 Associate. This means that games involving associates could be played at grounds that not normally get international matches - eg Newcastle in Australia. 2. Give Ireland Test status in about 2 yrs, backed by resources to set up a domestic 1st class system, 3. Re-instate Zims Test status, (conditional on "clean" bookkeepping). 4. Hold a 16 team WORLD cup, with 4 groups of 4. The top 16 teams based on RANKINGS compete. The way the groupings would work is that Associates would get to play at LEAST one game against a side of comparable skill. EVERY match has context as r/rates, bonus points etc count for placings in the final 8 (top 2 sides from each pool). If a superpower fails to advance - tough! The final 8 would work under what in Oz is referred to the McIntyre system. (TBC!!!!!!!!!!)

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 3:00 GMT

    @ AndyZaltzmannsHair - very good question! The first question is easier to answer than the 2nd!!!!!! @WCdan59 - interesting thoughts re: PNG. I think they could be a lot better at cricket then people may thinnk, they have a very popular hybrid version of cricket they play up there, which may be no less effective than Pakistani Tape Ball??? @ElectronSmoke - I disagree re: Zimbabwe, they appear to have turned a corner, & WILL improve over time. One reason I hold that to be true, is the standard of fielding has improved, another reason is they have a 1st class competiton that is currently better than Bangladesh & on a par with NZ & WI. I don't think they are in terminal decline. Kenya has been one of the biggest dissapointments I have seen (beyond the test world). Most of that was/is political. I could see big advantages for Kenya & Zim if they merged their domestic competitions, (maybe include Namibia too). Africa has plenty of potential.

  • jrm1186 on March 4, 2011, 1:48 GMT

    @ Sailav, dude Rakesh Sharma is right. Ireland are far better than Bangladesh even though they lost to them in this WC. Bangladesh has been playing cricket for more than 10 years and yet to win a major series (including better countries like Ind, Srilanka, Pak, Aus, SA) and yet to reach the semis of any WC. Bangladesh is not like these associate nations who play cricket mostly in WC only. Bangla cricket team plays regular cricket throughout the year and still they're yet 2 make a mark. Even after 10 yrs of playing cricket, every victory of Bangladesh is called "HISTORIC" coz they're never expected to win against better teams coz they've never been considered a better team. All u guys scream about is you WC victory against India in 2007, grow up guys it's been 4 yrs now.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on March 4, 2011, 1:46 GMT

    @Sailav. Dude, did u even read my post properly? I NEVER said Ire are better than Bang now. What is clear to see is that Ire now and even in 2007 are better than Bang was in 2000 when they got test status. It is also good to hope Bangladesh will do well in this tourney but I can't see them reaching the semis to be honest. Its good to be a fan of your team but a little realism is always needed. Also have some respect for W.I., when full strength (which they clearly aren't), they are indeed a better side than Bang. It is ironic how you get so passionate, misreading my post thinking that I said Ire are better than Bang but yet still want to quote a flawed ranking system which has Bang ranked above W.I. Bang can beat this under-strength W.I. in the subcontinent but a fully fit and firing W.I....I doubt they would beat them in a 5 match series.

  • Patrick_Clarke on March 3, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    If the ICC go through with their plans to remove Associate Members from future World Cups it will be an absolute scandal and further proof that it is an organisation not fit for purpose. It would no longer be a real World Cup, just another drab, uninspiring collection of boring matches just like most ODIs are now anyway. If the World Cup is to be reduced to 10 teams let's have every country go through a qualification competition as happens in all other serious sports including rugby, tennis and soccer. Let's have Australia and New Zealand in a pre-qualifying group with Afghanistan and Namibia and England in a pre-qualifying group with Holland, Canada and the West Indies etc and no more automatic qualification except for the host country and the holders.

  • ElectronSmoke on March 3, 2011, 21:08 GMT

    And again - an article meant to buttress the support for associate teams ends up with fanatics going on and on about if 'prima donnas' hint was about India?? Whether India and Pakistan should be disallowed since they lost to associates? Whether Bangladesh is better than them and so forth. Get a life! it's far more serious - the Irish and the Dutch with sufficient exposure and facilities can mix it with the big boys. They deserve that chance, and they have earned it with their performance . It's already sad that once a fine couple of competitive teams - Zimbabwe and Kenya - are now on terminal decline due to non cricketing reasons. SL had a good structure, imagine what'd happen if Bangladesh was demoted when they were getting hammered by all until 2007?? or what would inspire Afghanistan to rise through 4 levels of associate competitions

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on March 4, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    Great suggestions MEETY. The solution is much simpler than icc imply.

  • pj3000 on March 4, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    @ Meety - you're on fire! Quick query re 5...sounds grand on paper, but would you allow 'marquee' Test series exemptions from the division rankings system? My concern would be should Aus and England, for example, be in different divisions at a particular point in time, what happens at the Ashes? Also re 6, how would you see the 16 teams you propose qualifying? Do Test teams + Zim get automatic entry, or should they play in WC qualifiers along the same lines as the Associates currently do? Shouldn't there be a fair dinkum qualifying set up ala the FIFA WC?

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    6. Do away with the T20 W/Cup. 7. Promote Champions League with the inclusion of minnows. Possibly 32 teams. 8. Lobby the Olympic committee to include cricket in T20 format, (this would replace the T20 W/Cup). I'd consider conditions, where by Test nations have to send a squad containing either uncapped players or U21s, maybe with 1 squad member who is experienced. Being the Olympics & time being of the essence I would say that a 64 team knock-out be the go. No round-robbin matches - you lose, you're out. I'd also pay myself a million dollars a week for the privilage of the ICC using my magnificent mind! Also I'd order surgery on Billy Bowdens finger so he can straighten it out, broker peace in the Middle-East, AND move the Ashes to their rightful home in OZ, AND sack Hilditch from the Board of Selectors!!!!

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    (cont) - The McIntyre system more or less gives the possibility of a 2nd chance to a team beaten in the FIRST round of the finals. The top 8 MUST be ranked for this to work. The QTR Finals would be 1 v 8, 2 v 7 etc. The highest 2 ranked losers play the lowest ranked winners for the right to play the highest ranked winners in a semi final. 5. Tests would be split up into 3 groupings. Group A (highest 4 ranked sides), would compete home & away over FIVE test series. Group B (next 3 ranked sides), would play each other over 5 Test series, & play Group A teams over THREE tests @ home & TWO Tests away. GROUP C would include the bottom ranked Test nations (inc Ireland). They would play each other over 3 test series home & away. They would also play TWO Test series @ home & 1 Test away against GROUP B teams. I think thi would preserve the integrity of statistics & at the same time expand the game. Other nations like Kenya,Netherlands etc would play "un-official tests v GROUP C teams. (TBC)!!

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    If the world revolved around me - this is what I would have the ICC do! 1. Turn all bi-lateral competitions into tri-series events including 1 Associate. This means that games involving associates could be played at grounds that not normally get international matches - eg Newcastle in Australia. 2. Give Ireland Test status in about 2 yrs, backed by resources to set up a domestic 1st class system, 3. Re-instate Zims Test status, (conditional on "clean" bookkeepping). 4. Hold a 16 team WORLD cup, with 4 groups of 4. The top 16 teams based on RANKINGS compete. The way the groupings would work is that Associates would get to play at LEAST one game against a side of comparable skill. EVERY match has context as r/rates, bonus points etc count for placings in the final 8 (top 2 sides from each pool). If a superpower fails to advance - tough! The final 8 would work under what in Oz is referred to the McIntyre system. (TBC!!!!!!!!!!)

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 3:00 GMT

    @ AndyZaltzmannsHair - very good question! The first question is easier to answer than the 2nd!!!!!! @WCdan59 - interesting thoughts re: PNG. I think they could be a lot better at cricket then people may thinnk, they have a very popular hybrid version of cricket they play up there, which may be no less effective than Pakistani Tape Ball??? @ElectronSmoke - I disagree re: Zimbabwe, they appear to have turned a corner, & WILL improve over time. One reason I hold that to be true, is the standard of fielding has improved, another reason is they have a 1st class competiton that is currently better than Bangladesh & on a par with NZ & WI. I don't think they are in terminal decline. Kenya has been one of the biggest dissapointments I have seen (beyond the test world). Most of that was/is political. I could see big advantages for Kenya & Zim if they merged their domestic competitions, (maybe include Namibia too). Africa has plenty of potential.

  • jrm1186 on March 4, 2011, 1:48 GMT

    @ Sailav, dude Rakesh Sharma is right. Ireland are far better than Bangladesh even though they lost to them in this WC. Bangladesh has been playing cricket for more than 10 years and yet to win a major series (including better countries like Ind, Srilanka, Pak, Aus, SA) and yet to reach the semis of any WC. Bangladesh is not like these associate nations who play cricket mostly in WC only. Bangla cricket team plays regular cricket throughout the year and still they're yet 2 make a mark. Even after 10 yrs of playing cricket, every victory of Bangladesh is called "HISTORIC" coz they're never expected to win against better teams coz they've never been considered a better team. All u guys scream about is you WC victory against India in 2007, grow up guys it's been 4 yrs now.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on March 4, 2011, 1:46 GMT

    @Sailav. Dude, did u even read my post properly? I NEVER said Ire are better than Bang now. What is clear to see is that Ire now and even in 2007 are better than Bang was in 2000 when they got test status. It is also good to hope Bangladesh will do well in this tourney but I can't see them reaching the semis to be honest. Its good to be a fan of your team but a little realism is always needed. Also have some respect for W.I., when full strength (which they clearly aren't), they are indeed a better side than Bang. It is ironic how you get so passionate, misreading my post thinking that I said Ire are better than Bang but yet still want to quote a flawed ranking system which has Bang ranked above W.I. Bang can beat this under-strength W.I. in the subcontinent but a fully fit and firing W.I....I doubt they would beat them in a 5 match series.

  • Patrick_Clarke on March 3, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    If the ICC go through with their plans to remove Associate Members from future World Cups it will be an absolute scandal and further proof that it is an organisation not fit for purpose. It would no longer be a real World Cup, just another drab, uninspiring collection of boring matches just like most ODIs are now anyway. If the World Cup is to be reduced to 10 teams let's have every country go through a qualification competition as happens in all other serious sports including rugby, tennis and soccer. Let's have Australia and New Zealand in a pre-qualifying group with Afghanistan and Namibia and England in a pre-qualifying group with Holland, Canada and the West Indies etc and no more automatic qualification except for the host country and the holders.

  • ElectronSmoke on March 3, 2011, 21:08 GMT

    And again - an article meant to buttress the support for associate teams ends up with fanatics going on and on about if 'prima donnas' hint was about India?? Whether India and Pakistan should be disallowed since they lost to associates? Whether Bangladesh is better than them and so forth. Get a life! it's far more serious - the Irish and the Dutch with sufficient exposure and facilities can mix it with the big boys. They deserve that chance, and they have earned it with their performance . It's already sad that once a fine couple of competitive teams - Zimbabwe and Kenya - are now on terminal decline due to non cricketing reasons. SL had a good structure, imagine what'd happen if Bangladesh was demoted when they were getting hammered by all until 2007?? or what would inspire Afghanistan to rise through 4 levels of associate competitions

  • RohanMarkJay on March 3, 2011, 19:59 GMT

    I wholeheartedly agree with Dilip here. Ireland is clearly one of the better Associate cricket nations out there. A brilliant win, I would like to see the ICC give a Ireland a chance, in the 1990s another associate nation Kenya was showing similar promise, but they never got the test status they deserved. I hope that won't happen with Ireland. What makes Irish sides entertaining to watch for me is, no matter what sport they play wether it was Football. 1988 European championships vs England and QF Italia 1990 or the giant killing of Italy in the 1994 world cup or in Rugby against Australia in the1991 rugby world cup. In each instance Irish sportsman didn't respect reputations and they fight extremely hard never giving up giving absolutely everything making sure the opposition didn't have it easy just because they were considered "minnows". Now granted Cricket is nowhere near as popular in Ireland as Soccer or Rugby, but they always had a small die hard cricket community that love it.

  • Arun14 on March 3, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    Oh please !! Don't attach more significance to this match than necessary... it doesn't belong on the same plane as the Jets' win against the Colts cos Ireland's win wont strike the same low for the minnows that the Superbowl win did for AFC. AFC were a genuinely competetive leage whereas the minnows with the exception of Ireland in this edition and Kenya in a couple of previous editions, haven't showed that they belong with the big boys. This probably belongs in the same league as USA's upset of England in a World Cup Football game back in the 50s which meant quite bit for the game in the US. That's all.

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on March 3, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    @ nymphsatyr Yeah dear agreed. Ireland can humiliate India as they did to England. Both, Indian and England's bowling is the poorest among the test playing nations. So go ahead Ireland, U can do it. We pray for U!!!

  • drice on March 3, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    I will say that how can you leave associates out after this. Forget the upset, forget one of the top five world cup innings of all time (would be #1 if he didn't run himself out at the cusp of victory), this qualifies as possibly the greatest comeback in a world cup game. Seriously at 123/5 at 25 overs chasing 327, most wouldn't give any of the test playing nations a chance, but O'Brien jr. goes crazy and the rest as they say is history. Also note the Irish now hold the world cup records for fastest century, highest 6th wicket partnership, highest successful run chase. 'Nuff said

  • nezz on March 3, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    Some users should be banned to comment. They talk nonsense,come just to finger others and to be happy ! Productive discussion is encouraged!A a Bangladeshi I have plenty of praise for Ireland,I support them, not envy them for any success !!! You say the globalization of cricket in one hand, on the other hand you treat this game as a father's property? Make your heart large enough@To the closest neighbour.

  • SebV on March 3, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    Surely after this game, Ireland rank higher than New Zealand and West Indies. I don't think anyone would disagree that had either of those teams were up against the same total, England would have EASILY WON the game by a fair distance.

  • just_Test_lover on March 3, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    lets make the world cup 20 teams 4 pools of 5 ( 2 elite, 3 associate), then the top 2 teams go into a Quater final pool where they play a round robin to make semi's

    Top 8 teams automatically quallify for next world cup! WC is a time to spread the game and include new countries!

  • cricsom5667 on March 3, 2011, 11:25 GMT

    Another good article Dileep ! fully agree with you that we nurture teams like Ireland. If BCCI wants, it can atleast get some India A's & B's playing against Irish teams on a regular basis - would be good diplomacy. Long term proliferation of cricket is in BCCI's interest as barring a India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka/Bangladesh, the other test playing nations have lot of other sporting heroes. So a greater engagement would only enhance BCCI's prospects commercially and stature in the cricketing world. The Associates should be given a chance - but only thing is that the matches need to be compressed into a more compact schedule so that the TV viewing public has more alternatives and the tournament does not taper off into a colourless affair. Offcourse there will always be some losers - a compact schedule will mean substantial no. of empty stadiums for unimportant matches being held on weekdays. The marquee matches have to be on weekends to get the crowds in the stadium.

  • Sailav on March 3, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    @ Rakesh_Sharma & _NEUTRAL_Fan How Can u say that Ireland is better than Bangladesh. In head to head Bangladesh have won 5 matches and Ireland won just 2. And Except the last wc game Bangladesh have beaten them by big margains of 9 Wickets, 83 runs, 123 runs & 6 wickets respectively in every encounter. FYI Bangladesh is ranked 8th (67 rating points) even ahead of the West Indies & Ireland is ranked 10th ( 39 rating points). So, Watch out for the rest of the world cup

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on March 3, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    @cric-procrastinator. How on earth will associates eventually come up to par if you don't allow the best of them to play against top opposition. Bang have improved alot largely because they have a core of players who play alot vs the better test nations. It also opens doors for some associate players to impress and get county, IPL and Big Bash contracts, thus increasing their exposure to better cricket structures.

  • Emancipator007 on March 3, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    2. ICC itself should ensure that all top Test nations invite Afghanistan, Kenya, Netherlands, and Ireland for atleast 3- match bilateral series every year. How do you expect them to get highly competitive and stronger by just playing fellow minnows all-year around? Get Kumble, Steve Waugh and Michael Holding (all tough taskmasters) on an ICC sub-committee to oversee such a program and enforce it for all the top Test playing nations. The irony is the England, Australia and India were at the ICC meeting which arbitrarily decided to have only 10 teams for the next World Cup. Irony Ha! Wanna bet that the Chinese take up the game with such zeal that they would make India, OZ and Eng see red with regular victories in no time on the big stage. ICC needs such a comeuppance. By the way there is no comparison with the other Irish wins as this win signifies the greatest high-scoring chase in World Cup history.An unparalleled unique win.

  • Emancipator007 on March 3, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    1. Dileep, it would also behoove you to point out the case of the Kenyans who are more naturally talented but just going thru a bad phase now. Kenya reached the 2003 World Cup semis by beating Test nations! Steve Tikolo, the greatest non-Test country batsman has been lost forever. Just like it is the BCCI's responsibility to hand-hold Bangladesh cricket and making them stronger, it should be South Africa's responsibility to develop Kenya and Zim cricket. England's domestic set-up atleast does allow Irish and Scottish players to get better. And folks, stop with all the Bangla bashing as they are a much improved team with the world's best and most consistent all-rounder Shakib and Laraesque Tamim playing for them currently (yes Tamim scored 2 of the most incandescent Test 100s seen in England for a long time last year). I predict Bangla will win a T20 World Cup soon. I want ICC to force BCCI to invite Bang for the long-awaited home Test series in India. CONTD.

  • pradeep_dealwis on March 3, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    "Against a team of prima donnas or those that feel success is their entitlement, they will always have a chance. " You talking about India?

  • pj3000 on March 3, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    @nymphsatyr: agreed, the format of the WC tournament needs addressing, but not at the expense of excluding the Associates from the process. If you want to make the WC finals a true spectacle, you could set up a proper WC qualifying structure. For example, the WC tournament could be eight teams playing in a full round robin/semis/final tournament held ever four years...provided the previous two years saw 16 teams (the 8 Test teams + Zim + 7 Associates) playing in home and away qualifiers, battling it out for the eight available spots in the WC finals tournament. This sort of arrangement would mean the Associates would get to play quality teams constantly, plus have a genuine fighting chance making the WC finals tournament on merit ie) they'd have to beat Test playing nations to make the finals. An added bonus of the two years of WC qualifiers would be the relevance and context it would bring to the plethora of ODIs played around the world each year.

  • nymphsatyr on March 3, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    @popcorn: Bangladesh and Zimbabwe get automatic qualification so that they can kick India out of the tournament (Zimbabwe did in 1999 and Bangladesh did in 2007)

  • nymphsatyr on March 3, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    I agree with Cricket-Buff, the current world cup format is boring and designed to make sure india does not go out early as they did in 2007 world cup. except for the Ireland -England match every one knows who is going through. In a World cup what is the point of playing so many insignificant games when teams know loosing won't cost them a berth in quarterfinals. along with 10 teams we should have 2 associates and then follow the 92 world cup format where each match will count.

  • cricket2011 on March 3, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    Welldone Ireland, Welldone !

  • popcorn on March 3, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    If the ICC is hell -bent on limiting the next World Cup to 10 nations,let Bangla Desh, Zimbabwe, Netherlands and Ireland play a League Competition to choose the Number 9 and 10 spots. Can't see how Bangla Desh and Zimbawe get automatic inclusion.

  • pj3000 on March 3, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    Good point Rakesh_Sharma re Zimbabwe. Just when they were getting a genuinely competitive team together in the early 2000s (Neil Johnson, Murray Goodwin, Heath Streak and the Flower brothers), politics has sent their game back to the stone age for the best part of a decade. A tragedy. I'd love to see more Associates granted Test status. The fact is no team starts Test cricket as the finished article: it takes years of getting belted by established teams before a nation comes good. It took Sri Lanka around 12 years to become competitive. Bangladesh will come good: just give them time. But teams like Ireland and Kenya (despite their current woeful form) deserve the same opportunity to improve through regularly playing the top nations of the world in Tests.

  • pj3000 on March 3, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Fantastic read! I truly hope that the next WC doesn't push ahead with plans to exclude the Associates. As I understand it, WC wins as Associates by Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh against Test nations served to secure their elevation to Test status. If Associates don't have the chance to achieve WC wins, what other avenue would be created for their progress to Test status? Following SL, Zim and Bangladesh's elevation to Test status from WC wins, it does beg the question why Kenya didn't get Test status post 2003 WC and Ireland post 2007. In any event, the Associates bring a magic dimension to WC cricket. As much as we love to see the top sides go against each other, we also get the chance to witness almighty upsets like last night. The Ireland v England game was every bit as titanic and enthralling as the India v England game.

  • tfjones1978 on March 3, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    10 Team 2015 world cup is okay, but ODI cricket needs the follow: 4 year 16 team competition with top 8 teams qualify for world cup and teams 9-12 play against teams 17-20 for final 2 spots. This will force full members to play against 8 minnows over 4 year basis (say 3 home, 3 away against each). Test cricket need to look at a grouping system where teams play teams above/below them so many place (eg: 10th plays 7th to 14th).

  • kasyapm on March 3, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    Great article! The associate teams should be playing the test nations atleast once a year. Instead of meaningless repeated ODIs (like the ones between IND-SL), Ind or SL can have a match with Ireland/Netherlands or some associate nation. If the boards are concerned that they might not make enough money if they play minnow (which the BCCI and a few other boards shouldn't be as they are anyway making enough money), they can have matches in the associate nations itself. Tour them, show the young kids over there the greats of the game..It would be a great boost for the associates. We might not see immediate results, but there would be definite long-term benefits. There is no point in just alienating the minnows from the WC and asking them to be 'better' than what they are..Provide them the platform! The ICC should intervene and plan for these tours (as the member boards don't seem to interested).

  • santoshjohnsamuel on March 3, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    Just as RHF123 mentioned -- Outstanding article. Pleasure reading Premachandran.

  • RashidSurya on March 3, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    Bangladesh is far better team than Ireland. But Ireland is improving rapidly. And people should be aware to make statement like: Ireland is far better side than Bangladesh while they lost to Bangladesh in the last 4 games, and 1 in this WC. Adios!!

  • agniupadhyay on March 3, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    A finely crafted piece, this, Dileep. Rich in information and profund in analytical insights. Looking forward to more such pieces, which unravel the democratic aspects of sports rather than playing to the commercial, pro-establishment gallery. Regards!

  • shaikh66 on March 3, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    Sorry, I meant Peter Borren's post match conference.

  • Hanz018 on March 3, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    wow wow wow, Congratulations Ireland. I feel like giving the whole team a salute for their achievement. we shall not be understimating their hard work & spirit by telling this achievement an upset. you will agree with me if you are patient enough to observe them with positive mind set. They know their limits & they dont try to overdo it. All they try to follow is accuracy & consistency. ICC shall consider again to resize the worldcup into a new format. at least allow best two non test playing nations to participate in worldcup!! Thanks

  • WCdan59 on March 3, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    arjunan100 is spot on. ive had the priveledge of speaking to the Papua New Guinean (and umpiring a makeshift national team) cricket captain when they were touring around Australia, and he spoke of his teams desire to make the world cup. They came second in WCL 3 and have been promoted to WCL 2 and are all homegrown players.

    Associates need to dream for cricket to grow. The ICC may miss the boat as an enormous potential growth area China, have voiced a strong interest to make the CWC in 2020...

  • AusRob on March 3, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    Congrats to the Irish on a well-deserved and timely victory. I'd prefer to see the World Cup expanded to 16 rather than reduced to 10. Ireland and Afghanistan both deserve to be there in their own right and providing extra spots also provides an opportunity for emerging nations to have a real goal to aspire to. The only undefeated nation at the last Football World Cup was New Zealand and they are not normally ranked among the elite of the sport. Give the new guys a fighting chance and we may see more results like yesterday's...

  • ruserious on March 3, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    we are still missing the entire point about associate teams. I dont deny the fact that there would be a few upsets in the world cup, however vast majority of these games tend to be a thrashing. Netherlands had a close game against England then got spanked by a low ranked West Indies. Ireland had already lost to a low ranked Bangladesh. We need to help associate nations grow by mandating the test teams to play against them on a regular basis throughout the year instead of throwing them in the world cup hoping for a few upsets. These upsets just highlight weak test teams of the year (in this case just how much england sucks). Lets organize some triangular series involving associate teams.

  • Farzan_Sohel on March 3, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    @Rakesh Sharma: Stats show Bangladesh played 7 ODIs against Ireland and the result is 5-2. Don't give excuse of venue as a good team is a good team irrespective of venue. BD defeated Aus, SA, WI, India, England in neutral venues or away venues. If BD's defeat to Ireland in 2007 WC was not an upset so wasn't India's defeat to Bangladesh in the same tournament (BD boys literally threw India out of the WC).

    BD boys proved more than anyone else in the cricketing world and are now a much better team than NZ, WI, ZIM, Ireland

  • agm_ on March 3, 2011, 5:10 GMT

    Two things need to be done:

    1. To make Associate teams more competitive more matches between them and major teams need to happen on a regular basis, i.e. in between World Cups. One can warm-up for a tour of England by playing Holland and Ireland, for example. ICC needs to mandate more games. Maybe domestic leagues (like IPL and Big Bash) can have one Associate player in their squads. It's all about more exposure.

    2. To make World Cups more entertaining, need to have multiple games on a single day. It's not a great idea to follow India v BD with 5 potentially lop-sided games in 4 days. It's a potential momentum killer. Sure one could have an upset (NED nearly toppled ENG) but organisers need to play the odds. Having one 'evenly matched' game and one involving a 'minnow' (at least on paper) on the same day, can ensure a more entertaining overall tournament.

  • Percy_Fender on March 3, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    It was a great win by any standards. Ireland have really set the cat amongst the pigeons. The sad part, or so it seems, is that such memorable daybreaks come but once in a way. And yet there is no denying that there lies in the so called ssociate nations a wealth of hidden talent, little known because of the fashionabilty of the clique of cricketing nations. Which is why, I believe that the right way to go --- and I say this only at the present point in time--- is to have just one team of the combined associate nations taking part in these big tournaments. That should suffice to get the entire lot of Associate nations the recognition they deserve.They can be truly competitive if they have for instance, fast bowlers from Afghanistan, big hitters and crafty ones from Ireland and the Sobers like performers from Canada or Netherlands. Yes it is workable. I say this because no matter how well Canada or Netherland perform in the Cup, the are not going to be remembered as a team yet.

  • muski on March 3, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    Like most cricket lovers feel, I think, the first step where all the countries that play cricket are represented, should be the T20 World Cup. Let all these counties like Afghanistan, UAE, Dutch, US ( maybe) etc prove their mettle. Good performance on that stage should be a automatic qualification to the next 50 over world cup. The point we are all missing is that the 50 over game is fading. We certainly dont want to fast track the demise of this format. The ICC is right in not risking games like what NZ-Kenya clash. No one is against any particular country. For that matter will FIFA grant India a place among the 32 for the next world cup. Even though Football following is not on same lines as cricket, it will generate interest among people which will be more than the total population of some of the participating counties. Its like a guy going to a casino and trying a hand at Blackjack at which he is a tyro.It will ruin the chances of the other expert gamblers sitting on the table.

  • RussDegnan on March 3, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    @cric-procrastinator, you are wrong on two counts. Firstly, there is no evidence that eventually teams will come up to some arbitrary standard. In most sports, the good teams stay good, because they have the resources to do so, the rest fluctuate from good to bad and back, depending on the players they have. Secondly, do you want a competitive tournament or a high quality tournament? If the latter, you'd be hard-pressed to make a case for more than 6 teams, on present form; if the former, then you need to remember that competitiveness depends on who you play. A 20 team tournament would have a lot of competitive games between the associates, and some major mismatches, before the knockout phase sorted the top teams out. A 10 team tournament will also be mixed, except the full members play more often with less riding on each game, and the weak teams will play twice as many games against the strong. And it will dash the hopes and aspirations of the 95 associate and affiliate members.

  • sdad1992 on March 3, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    good article. i always think it should be a contest between bangladesh and ireland for that 4th place. just watch who is gonna fill that

  • shaikh66 on March 3, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    If the ICC truly wants the game to grow it has no choice but to include at least some of the associate members in its Future Tours Program so that they are better prepared for tournaments such as the WC. Porterfield's remarks at the post match conference should be taken seriously and money hungry boards should be made to play at least 2 series with associate members every year.

  • Ray24 on March 3, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    Bangladesh isn't a quality test side yet. But then neither are Zimbabwe, New Zealand. And we can keep argiung on whom to include and whom not to include. Ireland deserve more chances and if they are good, they'll qualify for the next world cup. Including too many teams makes the sport boring to watch. There can be other ways, like a 3 match bilateral series that everytest side has to play against a minnow once every year. And the minnow play 2 -3 different sides a year. This was we will ensure these teams get quality opposition more frequently and the cricket isn't also very boring.

  • suharshan on March 3, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    Great article! As a Sri Lankan I can understand the statement you are trying to make. Hope the ICC will feel for these associate nations

  • GullyBully on March 3, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    ICC can permit non-test-playing countries to partake in the World Cup in a selective/controlled way, by admitting the top 2 (say) teams from a parallel tournament held exclusively among the associate teams shortly before the world cup. Or perhaps such an intra-associate competition could be made an early stage of the World Cup, that gates and selects top associates to play with the regular teams.

  • imtiaz82 on March 3, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    @ Rakesh_Sharma. How exactly is Ireland "clearly" a better side than Bangladesh? Bangladesh just beat them few days back on top of that Bangladesh whitewashed Ireland 3-0 only couple of years back. Bangladesh has also shown much more consitancy, by beating full strength Newzealand team 4-0 and beating England in England just last year. Moreover, Bangladesh has a solid foundation (including stadiums and first class and school cricket, which has huge player base). On top of this millions of fans are a clear impetus for the sports.

    You clearly have no idea about cricket and passing your blind judgement based on India's defeat i 2007.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on March 3, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Why are you comparing Ghana Football team to Ireland Cricket team? Ghana have a top team, and have been the best African side for a number of years now. They in no way, shape or form, resemble what the Irish team is and have achieved. Ghana play top quality football and achieve consistent results against top world teams. As much as I support Irish cricket, there's still a long way to go for them. But they should be given every opportunity to stake a claim as a top cricketing nation.

  • RHF123 on March 3, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Outstanding article. The comparison with the Jets ground-breaking victory is spot on. Nice to read someone this well-read.

  • ygkd on March 3, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    I don't normallly take notice of photos of cricketers' wives and girlfriends, but have a guernsey at the pic of the Irish female followers. They're three real people who look well-grounded, just like the blokes they follow. That's why success stories like theirs aren't just good for cricket - they make the game. If it is just for the same old teams churning out the same old playing styles for the same old results it is no longer interesting. There is a world of diversity out there and the sooner cricket truly embraces it the better. And if that means my country of Australia never again rules the game (at least in my lifetime) so what? Bring it on!

  • randikaayya on March 3, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan I'm a die hard fan of so called associate nations. Although 14 maybe too many for the world cup length wise that is the only perceivable way of expanding the game world wide. Why not have 2 matches on the same day, maybe little less TV earnings but a better tournament. If the ICC were about the development of the game they really should not be taking elitist stances.

    Then again if you look at the three members who took the call on associates for 2015, they were ENGLISH, AUSSIE and INDIAN. Maybe expansion is not the forefront of their minds as much as earnings would be. I say Sri Lanka should tour Ireland and Netherlands again like they did after 2007 and this time play an unofficial 5 day game as well!

  • Chris_Howard on March 3, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    The World Cup would be boring with the same old teams we see year in year out. We need the Associates. And they need more games scheduled against Full nations every year, instead of every four. No wonder they're still Associates.

  • Farhan-Sg on March 3, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    Agree 100% - also, the no one would be complaining about associate teams and a long world cup if there were more matches each day. I mean seriously, there are THREE countries hosting, you can have at least three games a day. Unfortunately the ICC is run by bottom-line. Cricket and fans be damned.

  • jrm1186 on March 3, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    By limiting the number of cricket teams, ICC is just making the ODI cricket boring and more predictable. There won't be any upsets anymore!!! That's sad. Even a WC 2003 semifinalist Kenya is yet to play a test. Ireland have already defeated teams like Pakistan and England in the world cups. If they don't deserve a chance, then I don't think any team does especially the team like Bangladesh who's been playing cricket for more than 10 years now and is yet to win a major tournament. This is a partiality of ICC. Even after 10 years of playing REGULAR cricket, every victory of Bangladesh is called "HISTORIC" which is I think a shame to their cricket team coz now they really should show some character and win at least a triangular series against better teams like India. Pakistan, Srilanka, Australia, South Africa!!! Banglas have never ever been close enough to win any major series!!

  • TheMissingAllrounder on March 3, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    I agree entirely Dileep. Another point worth making is that England has stolen players such as Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan in recent years because it can offer them the chance of test cricket. It's hypocrisy to say to Ireland, you're not good enough to play at the top level but we'll take your best players so they can play at the top level with us.

  • arjunan100 on March 3, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    Great article & well said concerning the 2015 and other World Cups... If Associate nation players, ESPECIALLY the kids we are trying to get interested in the game, can't dream of playing at the highest level then the game will never take off in the Associate countries...

  • PSSidhu on March 3, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    Great game. Even better than the win for Ireland in 2007. Also, thankfully, nobody died this time. Touch wood.

  • Dhivakaran on March 3, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    ICC should have a qualification tournament for the last 5 spots of the ICC ranked teams. The top 5 can get an automatic entry into the WC, others should battle it out between themselves(the associates and the last 5 teams in the ICC rankings)

  • CricketConnectsDotCom on March 3, 2011, 2:38 GMT

    Brilliantly written. On the one hand we have an IPL whose aim was to take cricket to every country inhabited by human beings. On the other hand, there is an ICC that wants to make World Cup the exclusive preserve of an elite group.

    Cricket administration, the world over - including India - needs visionaries who should aim to see cricket being played and followed by more numbers than the dollars in their bank accounts.

    And so long as the money keeps flowing in, why would the cricket administrators care!

  • Apolloniac on March 3, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    Love the article. I think the gas pants in Dubai need to get their heads out of the sand and do something that will help cricket in the long run - like giving a real team like Ireland the recognition it deserves. I don't have much hope though ... cricket admin has been singularly uncreative and can only manage rule changes every six days. Adding members to the elite club is not something their peevish brains can really fathom...

  • drinks.break on March 3, 2011, 1:46 GMT

    Further to the 3 conference suggestion: With 8 teams in the WC finals, you have 2 groups of 4 for a round robin stage, and then just semi finals and final. 15 games in total. The round robin can be completed in 9 days (each team plays 3 times), then 1 week for semifinals and final. The whole competition takes 2.5 weeks. Also, the minnow games in the regional conferences become much more important, because if a test nation loses to a minnow, there is a good chance they won't go to the world cup.

  • sajjodaalman on March 3, 2011, 1:45 GMT

    i think ireland and afghanistan should be invested in. these are 2 teams that look as if they could become test nations soon, because of their rapid progress. they both also have alot of natural talent, despite the poor infrastructure. they also show alot of courage on the field, and do not give up

  • yoogi on March 3, 2011, 1:45 GMT

    There is certainly a need to re-look at full member or associate status. Lets have A rated teams and B rated teams and put them in diffrent categories of full membership. The countries of same continent and same rank should play each other more in FTP. So England will be obligated to play Ireland and Netherlands just as much as they do with India and Australia. India has to do the same for Afghan and Bangladesh. SA to Zimbabwaye and Kenya, so everyone gets a fair chance to play.

    For round robin world cup games, you can follow something like ATP championship in tennis. Top 7 ranked teams and a wild card entrant can play a round robin tournament. But world cup should be expanded to 16 countries. Lets welcome UAE and Afgan. More viewership and long live cricket.

  • calvin_n on March 3, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    This can be done. Top 8 ranked sides automatically qualify. The other 2 and the top 6 associates battle it out in a qualifier. The top 2 from here would join the other 8 at the next world cup.

  • WCdan59 on March 3, 2011, 1:39 GMT

    @ashok16, you are wrong mate. The world cup is a WORLD cup. I understand limiting the teams somewhat for a better quality tournament, I think 12 is a good number. Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Ireland are all capable of being competitive, and a further nation should get qualification for performing well in qualifiers. I had the privelidge of speaking to the Papua New Guinean cricket captain, and umpiring a game involving their team. He said what drove them to play cricket was to make the world cup, and this is from a team ranked 23. Consequently, the performed very well in WCL 3 and made the final, and have been promoted to play the bigger associate sides in what was going to be a CWC 2015 qualification tournament. Take away that dream from them, and they wont play. Simple. Don't be one eyed, its not all about money.

  • drinks.break on March 3, 2011, 1:30 GMT

    In the soccer world cup, the teams involved are not the top 32 ranked teams in the world. This is because of the regional qualifying system, which ensures that minnows can mix it with the big fish, without the tournament getting too big. Why don't they do something similar, but on a smaller scale, for cricket. Eg, have 3 regions: Sub-continent (Ind, SL, Pak, Bang, Afghanistan), Southern (Aus, NZ, SA, Zim, Kenya), Western (Eng, Ire, WI, Neth). The bottom two teams in each region miss out on the WC finals, meaning 8 teams qualify on merit, not just ranking, and the associates get international exposure. Of course, this will never happen, because it opens up the possibility that, say, India or Eng won't make it, and the TV revenues would then plummet. Money before cricket!

  • David_Neibig on March 3, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    I think the article makes complete sense to everyone other than the ICC. I think if the world cup does go the way of a 10-team tournament (I don't have an issue with 10 teams, I just don't want it to automatically be all the Test teams), the sensible approach in my mind would be:

    1) Take ICC ODI Rankings of test teams, 18 months prior to the world cup. The top 8 get an automatic place. 2) The associates and lowest 2 test teams, enter into a qualifying competition 3) Best two teams from that play at the world cup

    If the qualifiers are in groups obviously needs to be that the 2 test teams in this system aren't automatically put in different groups, but groups are allocated by a fair draw for groupings.

  • Deepkar on March 3, 2011, 1:20 GMT

    Why not do like this play 12 teams top 6 icc ranking teams will play world cup and other 6 will have to play for qualification 1st may be then bangladesh and west indies like teams will have more confidance that they earned chance to play world cup and teams like canada, keniya will be replased by more exciting teams like ireland, nedarland, afganisthan etc.

  • Legionnaire on March 3, 2011, 1:06 GMT

    This is where IPL is the lifeline of cricket. After this innings Kevin O'Brien would draw tremendous sum in the next auction, giving hope and encouragement to many other players in Ireland and other minnows to make a rich livelihood through developing their cricketing talent.

  • Rakesh_Sharma on March 3, 2011, 1:02 GMT

    There has to be in total 12 teams for World cup. With two groups A and B. Than the round robin league must decide the two semi-finalists. The concept of quarter finals does not exactly work for cricket. It is ok to have quarter finals when there are atleast more than 20 strong teams as in world cup Football. Having two groups of 6 each and teams playing to win SF bearth will make each and every game important right from beginning. So it is more like format of 1992( which had 9 teams) but just split into two groups . MOST IMPORTANT atleast 2 to three games must be played each day so that the WC is finished within 3 weeks and player and spectators are anot drained. This way it will be fast each match important and fast and exciting WC. !983 WC had 4 matches per day.

  • Caveman. on March 3, 2011, 1:02 GMT

    No need to go back 42 years to the Jets game. Pakistan under Wasim, in 1999 were playing good cricket (and eventually made it to the finals). Bangladesh knocked them over. And got awarded Test status as a result. I hope the Irish get test status soon as well. Otherwise the Eoin Morgans of Ireland will wind up in a England shirt, while Ireland as a team will not progress much forward.

  • ashok16 on March 3, 2011, 0:45 GMT

    you have made a strong case. The problem is not the number of associates but the number of teams. 10 is a good number to limit the cricket world cup too. The aim of the tournament is to produce a good tournament not to save world cricket. Like world cup soccer we should come up a qualifying scheme wherein an associate that deserves a spot will get one even if at the expense of one of the regular team.

  • jargan83 on March 3, 2011, 0:37 GMT

    England are on the way up in Test Cricket but their One Day side is terrible. I agree with Robster1 - If Ireland were on the sub-continent Ireland would probably already be a full member of the ICC

  • WCdan59 on March 3, 2011, 0:32 GMT

    i have been saying this all along. Taking away the minnows and repetitive ashes series will be the death of cricket, we need to expand!! Thank goodness for an upset here - had the netherlands pulled off what was theirs we'd have a similar outcry - kevin o'brien may just have saved the expansion of cricket. without the world cup, these nations have NOTHING to aspire to...how one-eyed can you be? pardon my rambiling.

    it is so unfair to call out for scrapping these nations when they don't win in world cup games. Firstly, they aren't meant to, they are up against it immensely. Secondly, these are the only times they play full members...if you were to isolate Bangladesh's world cup games and judge them on that there's NO WAY they would be a test nation...GIVE THEM A CHANCE!! Dont kill cricket ICC...open your eyes...

  • Rakesh_Sharma on March 3, 2011, 0:24 GMT

    Ireland has to be in next WC. Ireland is clearly a better side than Bangladesh. Why is Bangladesh fast tracked to Test. Even after 10 years of thrashing experience Ireland will defeat them on neutral venue. Bangladesh just managed to make their First WC in 1999 and given Test status just because a Pakistani side who were already assured Semifinal berth in 1999 collapsed in dubious fashion. It was within few months they got Test status. Posters feel Zimbabwe is in league of Bangladesh. It is not. Zimbabwe has always been competitive. The problem they have since last 6 years is due to political instability and player boycott. Ireland is exception. Home bred players. The WC must have 12 teams which will mean just one associate in next WC considering that IRELAND will be a Full member. Hope Afghanistan which looks very passionate( passionate following for GAME IN Afghanistan) becomes the 12th . Sorry to be harsh on Dutch.Dutch has mainly imports like Canada(Boring Team).

  • Cricket-Buff on March 3, 2011, 0:17 GMT

    We should have 12 teams instead of 14. I prefer the format of 92 World cup. Every team playing every other team before the top 4 make it to the semis.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on March 2, 2011, 23:57 GMT

    Absolutely well written!! Too much politics in cricket and it is holding back the growth of the sport. ICC didn't care to step in when politics were ruining Zim cricket. They never gave Kenya a chance when their golden generation were still young but yet still they rushed in Bangladesh and watch them get hammered for nearly 10 yrs. Now they want to alienate Ireland?! A team which even 4 yrs ago were CLEARLY better than Bangladesh or Kenya were before they started talking about test status. They continue to lose players with full blown Irish accents, enticed by a career for Eng and ICC seem not too bothered. Well played Ire and I wish you more victories in this WC.

  • Sammy_Ind on March 2, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    What I like most about this article is it's global nature, it was composed of sports from around the globe. I am glad that someone has actullay mentioned SuperBowl in an Indian article.It put perspective of different games at different times for the comparison. Yes Kevin Sheddy in Italia'90 was a household name in Ireland. Also I would like to mention that 10 team is too short for the world cup, we should have 12 teams. Nine test playing nations (I am not sure if Zimbabwe is still a test playing nation?) and then 3 from some qualifying tournament. And I think Zimbabwe and Kenya should have to prove their mettle in that qualifying tournament before they can punch a ticket to the World Cup.

  • WaveyDavey on March 2, 2011, 23:51 GMT

    England were pushed close by Canada and the Netherlands. England often seem to raise their level in important games, ease off a little in expected 'easy' games whilst drawing good performances from one or two of the "minnow's" players.

    These surprises are the best thing about the first month of this tournament and all of the associates have the capability to nick a one-off win, it would be a real shame if we lose them.

  • Looch on March 2, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    Great article Dileep, the last paragraph should be read by every member of the ICC.

  • Meety on March 2, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    @mkarki2 - this is the Associate performance I think everyone was hoping for. Good article Dileep, the ICC have got to do some serious think-tanking for the next WC!!!!!!

  • cric009 on March 2, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    @cric-procrastinator - i compltly agree wat u say. I tried to say this in different ways in this board earlier. Side B of this WC is having some competion to get into QF. Whereas Side A teams are already decided for QF b4 they even playing a single game. There shud b limitations of total teams in WC..

  • Larawasbetta on March 2, 2011, 23:28 GMT

    Nicely written Dileep, moments like these are what brings magic to the World Cup. And i agree there does need to be room for the so-called minnows in this tournament. However there are simply too many games and it goes on far too long. How do you do both?

  • Thyaga_Cricket on March 2, 2011, 23:26 GMT

    Good article. Yes, it is good to have associate teams in the World Cup - but i think 6 is still too many ... perhaps the best 2 - one in each group should do it. But boy! - what an innings today.

  • Robster1 on March 2, 2011, 23:13 GMT

    If Ireland were from the sub continent, would it come as a great surprise if India now pushed for their inclusion at test level ?

  • Superselektor on March 2, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    When Applachian State beat Michigan at Michigan in college football, it was considered as one of the biggest upsets in US sporting history. Ireland beating England ranks right up there, although on a global sporting scale.

  • Solomaverick on March 2, 2011, 23:11 GMT

    The ICC are becoming too autocratic and are going to kill the sport's growth. Dropping the Associates is reckless, trimming the number may be a better solution. So Zimbabwe is maintained at the expense of Ireland and Netherlands - you're kidding right? This current WC could have done without Kenya and Canada. Two Groups of 6 played in a similar format, top 2 of each group qualify for semis. If the teams haven't worked themselves out by then, how will quarter finals help? We need another Packer moment - any chance the BCCI will overpower the ICC and take over? Fraught with it's own problems, but may be a breath of fresh air??

  • Rahulbose on March 2, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    Lets not forget the player poaching going on in Cricket. Had Dirk Nannes been playing for Netherlands not many would have bet Eng chasing down 290. What if Eoin Morgan was still playing for Ireland? Maybe they would have won the Bangladesh game.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on March 2, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    The question is, is this England team as good as you're trying to make them out to be? They did after all come into the tournament on the back end of a 6-1 thrashing in Australia. And then that begs the question, just how good are the Indians then? We will see...

  • Waewick on March 2, 2011, 22:46 GMT

    Lets face it, Ireland and to a lesser extent the Netherlands have already achieved more than Zimbabwe and Bangaldesh had when they were given full ODI and Test playing status, heck you could argue that the Irish are nearly as successful as Bangladesh on the big stage (and probably more so than Zimbabwe)

    If the ICC was interested in developing cricket outside TV revenues and 20/20 cups they would be fast tracking Ireland and the Netherlands and providing them a system to retain talented players and enhance their local competitions.

    Wouldn't it be great in ten years to have more than 2 or 3 teams that can realistically win the WC like it has been for the last 20 or even better minnow teams that have improved.

  • eddsnake on March 2, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    Great article Dileep. If the ICC don't at least let 2 associates into a 12 team 2015 World Cup (2 groups of 6) then they will be the most disgraceful international governing body in all of World Sport.

    The Irish should also now be groomed for test status in 2 or 3 years' time. They're a hell of a lot better than Bangladesh were in 2000 and on a par with Zimbabwe in 1992. With 7 county players and another 6 being contracted to Cricket Ireland they already have an experienced group of professionals, and have a 15,000 capacity ground in Dublin under construction. With 2 or 3 years of matches at home and away against the top test countries 'A' teams, and more ODIs against the big boys, they will be ready. Impending test status would also help Ireland keep the Rankins, Dockrells, Stirlings etc. who might otherwise try and qualify for England a la Joyce and Morgan. Don't forget that Hamish Marshall qualifies for Ireland later this year too. Hope that they make the quarters.

  • SRT_GENIUS on March 2, 2011, 22:32 GMT

    Excellent article. Agree 100%. There is a solution - a lop sided format, where the lower ranked teams (bottom 8) have to play more matches where as higher ranked teams (say top 4) get a few "freebies". We already have a ranking system which is somewhat accurate. This way irelands and kenyas can fight it out against Bangladeshes, Zimbabwes and currently-in-shambles-team to have a real chance of making it to the next round. How do you exactly do it ? there are several ways - (1) pre-qual round-robin round where the top 6 teams don't play at all. Or, (2) divide the tournament in two unequal halves of 5 & 7. top 2 team from each make it to SF (or top 4 makes QF). I have some more thoughts realted to monetization which can't be captured here.

  • mkarki2 on March 2, 2011, 22:29 GMT

    When Australians win its nothing new, South Africa don't win when it matters and when it doesn't only the team cares, same with West Indies and New Zealand (although they win a lot less) when England win a few of their supporters, the team and the English commentators rejoice, when the subcontinent teams win their fans are overjoyed, when minnows win everyone other than the opponent's fans rejoice.

  • cric-procrastinator on March 2, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    You can't have your cake and eat it too. The tragedy of this world cup is you only have to win 3 matches in a row and you will win the world cup i.e. win quarter final, semi final and final. The problem is qualifying for the quarterfinal is not hard at all; New Zealand will qualify for the quarterfinal even after losing to aus, srilanka and Pakistan because there is basically no competition for the fourth spot. the quarter final semi final and final route is justified if the teams which qualified for the quarter final come through some rigorous matches and win, but that will not happen with associates like Canada, Kenya, Netherlands ...and even Bangladesh. Sure they might win a match here and there but its not enough. Eventually I agree the associates will come upto par but the rest of the world should not be robed of a well fought world cup which can only be achieved by restricting it to the top 8 and the 9th ranked test playing country should play with associates to determine 9&10 po

  • Trevor_G on March 2, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    Well said Dileep. As a South African and Proteas' fan, I hope that CSA and the SA players support the continued inclusion of the Associate teams. Otherwise, we will be faced with a snotty 'gentleman's club' of test playing nations, and international cricket will wither on the vine. I am glad that for at least one day, Ireland entered the club uninvited!

  • deadelvis on March 2, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    Great article Dileep. Cricket needs to draw nations like Iraland more firmly into the fold rather than senselessly spurn both the opportunities for magic such as Ireland delivered here and deny the expansion of this amazing sport into new corners of the globe. Ireland have 15 professional players, massive character and are earning their right to remain. The World Cup won't be what the name suggests without them and the other associates - and I'm one England fan celebrating their success despite my disbelief at our own failings here!

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  • deadelvis on March 2, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    Great article Dileep. Cricket needs to draw nations like Iraland more firmly into the fold rather than senselessly spurn both the opportunities for magic such as Ireland delivered here and deny the expansion of this amazing sport into new corners of the globe. Ireland have 15 professional players, massive character and are earning their right to remain. The World Cup won't be what the name suggests without them and the other associates - and I'm one England fan celebrating their success despite my disbelief at our own failings here!

  • Trevor_G on March 2, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    Well said Dileep. As a South African and Proteas' fan, I hope that CSA and the SA players support the continued inclusion of the Associate teams. Otherwise, we will be faced with a snotty 'gentleman's club' of test playing nations, and international cricket will wither on the vine. I am glad that for at least one day, Ireland entered the club uninvited!

  • cric-procrastinator on March 2, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    You can't have your cake and eat it too. The tragedy of this world cup is you only have to win 3 matches in a row and you will win the world cup i.e. win quarter final, semi final and final. The problem is qualifying for the quarterfinal is not hard at all; New Zealand will qualify for the quarterfinal even after losing to aus, srilanka and Pakistan because there is basically no competition for the fourth spot. the quarter final semi final and final route is justified if the teams which qualified for the quarter final come through some rigorous matches and win, but that will not happen with associates like Canada, Kenya, Netherlands ...and even Bangladesh. Sure they might win a match here and there but its not enough. Eventually I agree the associates will come upto par but the rest of the world should not be robed of a well fought world cup which can only be achieved by restricting it to the top 8 and the 9th ranked test playing country should play with associates to determine 9&10 po

  • mkarki2 on March 2, 2011, 22:29 GMT

    When Australians win its nothing new, South Africa don't win when it matters and when it doesn't only the team cares, same with West Indies and New Zealand (although they win a lot less) when England win a few of their supporters, the team and the English commentators rejoice, when the subcontinent teams win their fans are overjoyed, when minnows win everyone other than the opponent's fans rejoice.

  • SRT_GENIUS on March 2, 2011, 22:32 GMT

    Excellent article. Agree 100%. There is a solution - a lop sided format, where the lower ranked teams (bottom 8) have to play more matches where as higher ranked teams (say top 4) get a few "freebies". We already have a ranking system which is somewhat accurate. This way irelands and kenyas can fight it out against Bangladeshes, Zimbabwes and currently-in-shambles-team to have a real chance of making it to the next round. How do you exactly do it ? there are several ways - (1) pre-qual round-robin round where the top 6 teams don't play at all. Or, (2) divide the tournament in two unequal halves of 5 & 7. top 2 team from each make it to SF (or top 4 makes QF). I have some more thoughts realted to monetization which can't be captured here.

  • eddsnake on March 2, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    Great article Dileep. If the ICC don't at least let 2 associates into a 12 team 2015 World Cup (2 groups of 6) then they will be the most disgraceful international governing body in all of World Sport.

    The Irish should also now be groomed for test status in 2 or 3 years' time. They're a hell of a lot better than Bangladesh were in 2000 and on a par with Zimbabwe in 1992. With 7 county players and another 6 being contracted to Cricket Ireland they already have an experienced group of professionals, and have a 15,000 capacity ground in Dublin under construction. With 2 or 3 years of matches at home and away against the top test countries 'A' teams, and more ODIs against the big boys, they will be ready. Impending test status would also help Ireland keep the Rankins, Dockrells, Stirlings etc. who might otherwise try and qualify for England a la Joyce and Morgan. Don't forget that Hamish Marshall qualifies for Ireland later this year too. Hope that they make the quarters.

  • Waewick on March 2, 2011, 22:46 GMT

    Lets face it, Ireland and to a lesser extent the Netherlands have already achieved more than Zimbabwe and Bangaldesh had when they were given full ODI and Test playing status, heck you could argue that the Irish are nearly as successful as Bangladesh on the big stage (and probably more so than Zimbabwe)

    If the ICC was interested in developing cricket outside TV revenues and 20/20 cups they would be fast tracking Ireland and the Netherlands and providing them a system to retain talented players and enhance their local competitions.

    Wouldn't it be great in ten years to have more than 2 or 3 teams that can realistically win the WC like it has been for the last 20 or even better minnow teams that have improved.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on March 2, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    The question is, is this England team as good as you're trying to make them out to be? They did after all come into the tournament on the back end of a 6-1 thrashing in Australia. And then that begs the question, just how good are the Indians then? We will see...

  • Rahulbose on March 2, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    Lets not forget the player poaching going on in Cricket. Had Dirk Nannes been playing for Netherlands not many would have bet Eng chasing down 290. What if Eoin Morgan was still playing for Ireland? Maybe they would have won the Bangladesh game.

  • Solomaverick on March 2, 2011, 23:11 GMT

    The ICC are becoming too autocratic and are going to kill the sport's growth. Dropping the Associates is reckless, trimming the number may be a better solution. So Zimbabwe is maintained at the expense of Ireland and Netherlands - you're kidding right? This current WC could have done without Kenya and Canada. Two Groups of 6 played in a similar format, top 2 of each group qualify for semis. If the teams haven't worked themselves out by then, how will quarter finals help? We need another Packer moment - any chance the BCCI will overpower the ICC and take over? Fraught with it's own problems, but may be a breath of fresh air??