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Keeping the world in the World Cup

The ICC can retain the prestige of its biggest tournament, and of its weakest members, by a simple elimination round

Sambit Bal

March 5, 2011

Comments: 137 | Text size: A | A

John Mooney and Trent Johnston are overjoyed, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
The Associates need to be given a fair shot at competing in a global tournament © AFP

Writing about the fate of the Associate members in the next World Cup, Sharda Ugra ended her piece with what can be read as a lament. "One thing, though, is clear. Cricket's World Cup is never going to be the same again." Taken literally, though, she was merely stating what's been true since 1979: the first two World Cups were identical but since then no two tournaments have been the same.

No other global tournament, much less a World Cup, can lay claim to such persistent tinkering. But it might be simplistic to lay all the blame at the doors of the administrators. True, they can be accused of knee-jerk responses and a certain lack of steadfastness and clarity, but, to a large degree, the ever-changing nature of the World Cup is a reflection of the churning the game has undergone in the last thirty years and the peculiar - and in many ways perilous - construct of the cricket economy.

In principle, the format of the last World Cup was perfect. It accommodated 16 teams, which meant slots for Kenya, Bermuda, Canada, Holland, Ireland, and Scotland, but there were four groups of four and the preliminary rounds comprised only 24 matches and spanned 12 days. So it was effectively a tournament of two halves; the Super Eights was meant to be the serious part, to be followed by semi-finals and the final. It could be said that the administrators had learnt from the mistakes of the 1999 and 2003 when, despite having fewer teams, it took an eternity to eliminate the lesser teams.

But what was a good idea in theory went horribly wrong in practice with Bangladesh and Ireland knocking out India and Pakistan in the first round, and condemning the Super Eights to a series of mismatches - and, far more significantly, knocking the bottom out of the financial model which was based on the assumption of India playing a minimum of nine matches. And so, the current abomination was born, designed solely to keep the game's breadwinner in the competition for as long as possible. But this also meant the first round, featuring mismatch after mismatch, would go on over a month.

And so the ICC, as if wise to its folly in advance, announced the change for the next World Cup even before the current one began. And even though the format hasn't been announced yet, it is more than likely that 2015 will be quite like 1992, although with one more team. In 1992, nine teams - the then Test teams plus Zimbabwe - played each other once and the top four teams qualified for the semi-finals. Many regard it as the most evenly and keenly contested World Cup: Zimbabwe, who were granted Test status later that year, were no pushovers and the format allowed teams to recover from early reversals, as Pakistan, the champions, did. There were 39 matches, and it all ended in just over a month.

Inevitably, the ICC's decision has split opinion. As Graeme Swann, whose candour is as refreshing as his drifting and floating off spin, said poignantly before the tournament, the ICC's decision has taken the world out of the World Cup. Mahela Jayawardene, whose country steadily graduated to the top league after playing two World Cups as a non-Test playing nation, has added weight to the argument that denying the Associates their biggest stage will rob them of a major incentive to carry on playing and will be a huge setback to the spreading of the game. Allowing them to participate in the World Twenty20 isn't adequate compensation because the shortest form of the game is not the ideal means to develop true cricket skills.

The change need not be so drastic as to shut out those who can't match the might, either on the playing field or at the cash counter, of the elite nations.

Further, with the IPL and Champions League cornering a healthy chunk of the cricket calendar and most cricket boards making revenue their prime rationale for playing the game, even the tokenism of indulging the Associates with the odd ODI series has almost vanished. Ireland played only 11 ODIs against active Test nations after making it to Super Eights in the 2007 World Cup, while Kenya, who were at one point an intermittent participant in the limited-overs scene, have managed a mere two.

The other viewpoint, equally persuasive, is that the game's premier tournament should not be burdened, and consequently weakened, by the task of globalising the game. The presence of a huge number of weak teams leads to unequal and predictable match-ups, robbing the tournament of friction, intensity, competitiveness and spectator interest. Cricket doesn't yet have the depth of football, and against the argument that even the football World Cup features weak teams is the fact that the length of the 50-over game amplifies the inequality of the contest.

Thank heavens for Ireland, who have injected uncertainty and life into Group B by their unbelievably magnificent upset of England; other Associates, barring the Netherlands in one innings, have however been uniformly miserable with the bat so far, and with Zimbabwe and even Bangladesh joining them it's mainly been, up to now, a weekend tournament. The most compelling aspect of this is a need for change.

However, the change need not be so drastic as to shut out those who can't match the might, either on the playing field or at the cash counter, of the elite nations. If there is willingness to consider it, a middle-ground exists to accommodate the Associates without diluting the World Cup or hurting the commercial interests of the broadcasters. This can be achieved simply making the first round of the World Cup effectively a qualifying tournament for the Top Ten.

Here's how it will work. The ICC is yet to decide how many teams will automatically qualify; this should be set at six. Which would mean four of the bottom-ranked teams among the ten Full Members - using this World Cup as an illustration it would mean New Zealand, West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - would join the top four among the Associates in a qualifier, the first round of the World Cup. They could probably be split into two groups, with the top two from each group going into the second round - the Top Ten.

This will add to the tournament's length but these first-round matches can be played in a cluster of two or three a day and be finished within a week. It is now routine to play a few practice games before the tournament, and the top six teams can play their practice games concurrently.

This will give all the Associates the same number of matches they played in the 2007 World Cup; teams like Ireland will have a genuine chance to go to the next round; the contest in the second round will be far more even; the broadcasters will have a few more matches to televise; and for the viewers, even the first-round matches will carry meaning and context.

The World Cup can retain its eminence without losing the world.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (March 9, 2011, 7:30 GMT)

That is an absolutely brilliant idea. In a way that will then make some meaning to the otherwise meaningless bilateral series too. As all those results will play as a "world cup" qualifier for the test playing nations while only the top 6 in the rankings automatically qualifies to the second round. The the bottom 4 has to play with the minnows to qulify to the second round. Good thought - Sounds much like the relegation zone in English Premier League!

Posted by frazell on (March 8, 2011, 17:37 GMT)

my idea is to have the group stage identical to 2007. Then top team in each group would play bottom from another group and 2nd plays third from another group. (last16) then 1/4's semis and final. This would have 24 gruop games (2 a day) 12 days then 15 KO games, last 16 2 a day, from there 1 a day. with rest day or 2 between stages world cup lasts a month. This means that group games have incentive of an easier last 16 game, but poor starters can still recover and associate nations still have a chance due to KO games.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2011, 15:56 GMT)

So, apart from all of this brouhaha, what is wrong with an associate nation springing an upset, as Zimbabwe did in 1983, or Ireland in 2011, or, oops, we can't have this, Kenya reaching the semi finals, or a big overweight bloke taking THE CLASSIC CATCH of the last world cup? Let them compete if we want it to be a world game, exposure to best practices ensures improvement. Australian football (soccer) moved to the Asian conference to ensure just this in the world game. Cricket will die without more world exposure, regardless of the sub continental influence.

Posted by Biggus on (March 8, 2011, 15:14 GMT)

@Vinod-Surely all you can safely say from the empty stands for the games that do not include a home team is that the home crowd isn't prepared to fork out money to see a non home team game. That's not quite the case in Australia. You certainly won't get as big a crowd but the game will still be well attended. India may have fallen head over heels for T20 but it does not follow that the rest of the world has. Down here 50 over games are still hugely popular and T20 is still derisively known as hit and giggle. We love our test matches and accept the 50 over format as a legitimate filler, but no serious cricket buff would choose T20 over any of the aforementioned formats. T20 is seen as something to pull the kids in and the people who are just waiting for the football season to start. I've always thought of T20 as cricket for those who don't like cricket, and I can't see 25 or 30 over games taking over here.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2011, 13:21 GMT)

Changing the ODI format is key to retaining both popular teams for longer as well as playing the minnows not become uninteresting. "the 50 over game amplifies the inequalities" is quite right and I am for a best of three sets of 15 over innings instead. Lets an upset in one inning drag the game to 3 sets, gives more ad breaks, helps assess a minnow better, blends the innings with the shorter game, allows for creativities like a super sub, power play patches, more stats to flaunt, more even sharing of the pitch conditions... the list is endless. Thinking it as a resemblance to baseball shouldn't deter us from keeping the money, attention and fairness in a game that is indeed growing despite our fears.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2011, 8:55 GMT)

I actually like the idea of dividing the world cup into 2 parts......8 teams playing a qualifying round, after being divided into 2 groups...but I would want only the top 2 teams making to the 2nd round. 12 games in round 1. All play all in round 2. 28 games in round 2. Semi finals and finals. Total of 43 games and most will be rather interesting.

Posted by Vinod on (March 8, 2011, 3:01 GMT)

Looking at the empty stands for most of the matches in this World Cup except the matches of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, I can safely say that ODI cricket is nearing its end. People have other things to do rather than spending 8 hours watching a game. Either make the next world cup into 25 or 30 overs match or just make the T20 as the World Cup format. The key is to make sure that the match shouldn't go beyond 4 hours.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2011, 2:55 GMT)

I agree but with one objection. The qualifying rounds shouldn't happen just before the WC but rather atleast a year before the WC so that the qualifying teams can get enough time to prepare. Otherwise this will make the WC boring as the first round (qualifying round) will still have weak teams and hence poor audience attention.

Posted by pk_cric_rox on (March 8, 2011, 0:25 GMT)

world cup format is not going to do any good to associate nations anyway.playing once in four years against top teams isnt good enough.if u want associates to get better u gotta give them more games n more frequently so they can rectify their mistakes and adapt changes twice a year rather then once in four years.instead of playing bi-lateral ODI series, make them tri-angular or quad-rangular tournament, with 3rd n 4th teams being associates.if ICC monitors n distributes such tournaments evenly i believe each associate country will get 6 to 8 games each year n few close contests can pull more cricketers in. watching ur team get humiliated by bigger teams only disappoints u and as a youngster u only feel that u can never get to that level , atleast not in ur life time.give them a sniff of victory atleast couple of times every year. n i think tri-angular series is more exciting than bi-lateral even for bigger teams supporters

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 22:56 GMT)

A surprisingly bad article from Sambit Bal. You have good intentions, but the arguments should be better thought of. The associates currently qualify to the world cup and you want an additional qualification round for entry to the main world cup rounds. A couple of issues - the associated want to play the world cup not just because they want a world audience but also because they want to test themselves against the best in the world. If they are anyway playing against the worst of the test playing countries, what is the point. Secondly, why would this second set of qualifying games be anymore interesting to watch or have a better following than the first? So, the associates do not gain any additional viewership. What is, oops god forbid, India or Pakistan do not qualify automatically? Would the ICC automatically change the rules again to ensure that they do not by some chance get knocked out early again?

Posted by swamistyle on (March 7, 2011, 21:55 GMT)

We still need the associate nations in the WC if we want to develop cricket in those countries. The ICC has a genuine opportunity to make cricket a real world game if it can be more aggressive. They should have persisted with the same format as 07 with 16 teams in 4 groups of 4 but with 1 small change; a shorter super 8 stage. After the preliminary round is over the top 2 sides of each group would progress thru to the Super 8 as before but they should not have all the 8 sides playing each other. Instead, u rank the top 4 sides of each of the groups as 1 & the 4 sides that were 2nd would be ranked 2. Then have all the 1s play all the 2s only (but not each other). Then the top 4 go to the semis. This would mean all the 1s have an easier path to the semis than the 2s, giving incentive for teams to finish on top of their groups instead of just qualifying. The 2s have a tougher journey but can still get to the semis by beating the 1s, which is fair. And you wont have repeat matches.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 16:48 GMT)

Frankly, this isn't rocket science. All it requires is a simple tweak. Go back to the 2007 World Cup with its 16 team format, comprising 4 groups A, B, C and D of 4 teams. Instead of having only 2 teams making it to the next round (Super 8 as was planned for 2007), make it 3 teams from each group going onto the next round(Super Six). So the top 3 from A and B will form Super Six group E. Similarly the top 3 from C and D will form Super Six group F. Each team in Group E will play the 3 teams they haven't played previously. Same format for Group F. The top two teams from E and F will play the semis--Winner of E vs. Runner up of F and Winner of F vs. Runner up of E. The winners of the semis play the final. Total number of games = 45. India is guaranteed atleast 6 matches(assuming they don't come out 4th in the first round, which is entirely possible given our talents). Even the minnows get decent exposure. The tournament is over in a month. Everyone wins.

Posted by howizzat on (March 7, 2011, 16:40 GMT)

contd.... and then the usual semis and the finals. Now plan something for the associates too. One way is to accomodate is by expanding T-20. But I suggest in addition to this to hold the alternate WC in which 'A' teams of strong nations can play with the associates. The asso's want quality cricket and this can provide it in quantities. This can be held in the year preceeding the WC, say in 2014. There can be some guidelines formulated regarding the compositions 'A' teams. And make it a point that only the top 8 of the ODI league can send 'A' team. This will also help the top teams to test their bench strength. Further why to scrap C'Trophy? It can be modified as a grand slam event where the TOP 5 ODI LEAGUE TEAMS can play one another twice to decide the real ODI Champion. This can be played in the succeeding year of the WC, say 2016. And I stick to my point, if ODI match would have been leaner by 20 overs i.e. 40 overs a side with lesser restrictions it would have been fantastic!!

Posted by howizzat on (March 7, 2011, 16:04 GMT)

WC for top ten is a good idea. But at the same time associates should be given their due. Afterall globalisation of the game is equally important. ICC is definitely falling short on popularisng the game with the associate nations. Matches within the associates are hardly been talked about. Competition in intra-associate games is definitely missing. People give example of Srilanka. But even teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Ireland are nowhere near the so called yester years Srilanka. At the best they have reached a level to beat other associate teams convincingly and consistantly. An odd win cannot bracket you in the top league. So the best way is to give bye to the top six teams in the upcoming ODI league in the first round of the WC2015 and next Eight teams to fight for the next 4 positions in round one. The main round shall have two groups of 5 teams each and the top THREE from each will make the SUPER SIX round. Super six shall have two groups of 3 teams each and then.....contd

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (March 7, 2011, 15:12 GMT)

No Qarter finals as it makes cricket tournament meaningless . QF needs 20 strong teams. Split into two groups of 6 nations. Round robin leaugue in each group. Top 2 from each for semi Finals or top 3 for super six before semifinal.IRELAND be made Full member. After this like earlier only winner of Associate trophy,no top 4 or 6 Associates.There must be 12 teams. Most important play 3 to 4 games per day. Finish WC in 3 weeks. Each and every day will be important.Television rights must be secondary.Format and games schedule first.

Posted by Biggus on (March 7, 2011, 14:13 GMT)

@binu-You must be joking mate! No team should get a free ride. If they are not good enough to qualify in their own right they should not be there. That 's why we bother playing the games-to find out who is the best. So you're suggesting that the host nation should qualify automatically....that's just madness. Just for one moment consider this. What is the host nation to do while all the others who have to prove that they can play are playing qualifiers? Are they sitting aroung just watching? If so then they enter the serious part of the contest without having had to risk injury and tiredness to players, surely also an added advantage. Or are they to play in the qualifiers even though they have already qualified? That would surely be boring and pointless. The World Cup is supposed to showcase the BEST. I'm all for having the associates there-the author reckons the organisers had the best format the last time but had to abandon it so as not to upset you know who. Now that IS silly!

Posted by cric_follower on (March 7, 2011, 13:54 GMT)

very very good idea Sambit. That is the way to go.

Posted by TheBigFatFlapjack on (March 7, 2011, 13:46 GMT)

Seriously, Sambit Bal give credit where credit is due. You nicked your title from Graeme Swann and don't have the courtesy to even credit him for that. From what it seems it looks like you have come up with "keeping the world in the world cup" yourself! Talk about plagiarising at the highest form

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 13:39 GMT)

The 1992 format for the WC has been better its allowed evry Team to play each other once and Top four sides qualify for the SF.It also give time to the team performed badly in initial stages to recover( eventaul champion Pakistan) Although, Super six format of 1999-2003 WC were also better but the point system which the teams carry from on the basis of their performance on the other team qualified were ridiclous We had saw in 1999 ZIM almost qualified for the Semi-Final without a single victory in Super six on basis of Point rule unless Waugh led AUS havent beat SA in supersix clash.Again in 2003 Kenya taken the points on basis of both the qualifier one upset victory of SRL & NZ forfeture of match which further strenghthen their Chances by beating same benficiary of the other group ZIM in Super six clash.The 1996 & 2011 format is still not better as its nullifies the best performance in group stages eg SA had 5-0 record in 1996 were knocked out by WI just in one bad game.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (March 7, 2011, 13:18 GMT)

Why not have one group of X teams. Top teams qualify for next world cup bottom teams have to go through qualification. For example 10 teams in tornament. All teams play each other and get points. Top 4 make it ito qtr, semi and final. Bottom 4 team are relegated into qualification for the next WC. You then have a battle to get into the top and a battle to avoid relegation. Almost like the Football system but with finals. I love the world cup but with the 2011 format you pretty much already know who the top 8 teams are so all these matches are really just exhibition.

Posted by Tabrez_Shah on (March 7, 2011, 13:12 GMT)

India gambhir shewag virat sachin dhoni yusuf yuvraj harbhajan ashwin munaf zaheer

Posted by I.RAGHURAM on (March 7, 2011, 11:23 GMT)

@landl47... According to u, a player of European origin can play for any other country belonging European Union without any problem since according to you an European Union citizen is entitled to work in any other European country and enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment. In other words, an European player can change teams within the European Union in case another country offers him better renumeration / contract...

Posted by sonofchennai on (March 7, 2011, 11:03 GMT)

10 teams may not be the ideal way need more exposure, which means they need to pplay more matches..the 2007 world cup had more associates but they didnt have mor matches per se....Have 16 teams and split them into 2 groups of 8 each...this wud ensure associates get as many as 7 matches which is good for them and also, the powerhouses dont get knocked out for one bad day as in 2007...this wud have 56 league matches, 2 SF and grand final..have 2 matches per day except on days involving marquee teams...the tourney can be finished in 35-40 days....

Posted by py0alb on (March 7, 2011, 10:23 GMT)

It's either a world cup, or its an exhibition tournament. Bending the rules to try and ensure that one particular team go as far as possible defies the entire point of playing the game in the first place. Can you imagine FIFA bending the rules to prevent England being knocked out of the soccer world cup? Of course not, it completely undermines the entire concept.

Thetop 3 teams this year should be awarded a place at the next world cup along with the hosts. Every other team should have to go through a qualification procedure open to every cricketing nation in the world. If it means a woeful India/England get knocked out by Afghanistan, then so be it.

Posted by andrew.henshaw on (March 7, 2011, 9:41 GMT)

Here is the Solution: 15 Teams, 3 Groups of 5 On current rankings this would look something like this A: Aus, Pak, NZ, Ireland, Canada B: India, Eng, Windies, Zim, Afghan C: SL, South Africa, Bang, Neth, Kenya

4 Group games each, top two teams go through to Super Six (30 matches) Super six stage where teams play all other teams except the team they have already played (10 matches) Semi and Final OR 2nd/3rd playoff for Final (2/3 matches) Done in 42/43 meaningful matches.

This would provide associates with an opportunity, the group stage is long enough to ensure one upset won't knock a team out and short enough to provide context to every match.

Posted by I.RAGHURAM on (March 7, 2011, 9:35 GMT)

@landl47.... I would like to know whether ECB or for that matter BCCI or ACB is a local cricket club or an organisation representing their country to select national cricket team ???? You may be right to state that each European Union citizen is entitled to work in any other European country and enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment. But mind it, English cricketers are representing their country and not a local cricket club like IPL teams. Certainly, you an have a cooling period of say 4-5 years before a player is allowed to represent country other than his birth. It was shocking to see Dirk Nannis play for both Netherlands and Australia within one year.....

Posted by Rumour on (March 7, 2011, 9:30 GMT)

For me this is the solutuion: 4 groups of 4, top 2 of every group through to 2 groups of 4, top 2 of every group to Semis Finals

Posted by I.RAGHURAM on (March 7, 2011, 9:07 GMT)

To make a success of qualifying tournament, a level playing field should be created between the full members and the associates playing the qualifiers. The associates should be given enough opportunity to play against big teams all year around. Otherwise, chances of any associate team qualifying for the World Cup would be very less. Alternatively, no qualifying tournament is required. Bottom two teams from the full members should get eliminated and the top two teams from the associates should qualify for the world cup. This would also give the associates a chance to play with teams who have experience of playing against top cricketing nations. WHAT DO U THINK ICC ADMINISTRATORS ???

Posted by binu on (March 7, 2011, 8:06 GMT)

Actually, I don't understand why ICC and all other are talking about a 10 team cup. You can have even a 16-team cup. Just split it into two groups and play the semi-finals directly with the top four. Every match (barring the bottommost teams) will be crucial.

Posted by binu on (March 7, 2011, 8:04 GMT)

I sent a similar to Cricinfo's inbox. The key opinion-makers (like Sambit) again forgets another aspect: that of a participating host nation. What if New zealand gets knocked out in the qualifiers? My proposal is this: Five teams will qualify directly to the competition based on the rankings. The hosts qualify directly by default. It means that Australia and New Zealand qualify directly along with the top-ranked three other teams in 2015.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 7:56 GMT)

Ya I saw this happening in the 2006 ICC champions trophy in INDIA. So ya this could be the best plan in place to have all the world cup gams interesting just like the IPL .

When IPL can have more than 80 games and be worth watching still. why cant be the WC/.

Posted by Jaggadaaku on (March 7, 2011, 7:29 GMT)

It is no matter India are chasing 100 runs or 300 runs against Canada or South Africa in second innings, India never win comfortably. This is the fact. If MS Dhoni wouldn't have got out, India and all Indian cricket fans sure would be in tense until the last ball/over. They have very strong batting line up, let me say one of the strongest batting line up; however, they got in pressure so early, no matter they are facing Canada, Kenya, Australia, or South Africa.

Posted by Jaggadaaku on (March 7, 2011, 7:29 GMT)

It is no matter India are chasing 100 runs or 300 runs against Canada or South Africa in second innings, India never win comfortably. This is the fact. If MS Dhoni wouldn't have got out, India and all Indian cricket fans sure would be in tense until the last ball/over. They have very strong batting line up, let me say one of the strongest batting line up; however, they got in pressure so early, no matter they are facing Canada, Kenya, Australia, or South Africa.

Posted by D.V.C. on (March 7, 2011, 6:57 GMT)

It's a good solution. Maybe not the exact format Sambit has come up with, but something similar. Tennis seeds top players in its Grand Slams. There is no reason cricket can't seed it's top teams. Really, this is pretty much the exact thing the ICC wants to do, except that the qualifying tournament is played at the start of the 'World Cup Finals.'

Posted by cricket4shafiq on (March 7, 2011, 6:47 GMT)

I am amazed at all this non sense discussion.

Simply keep all 12 or14 teams in the cup, make two groups of 6 or 7 each. And take the top 2 from each group in the semi final. Full Stop.

Posted by andrew.henshaw on (March 7, 2011, 6:46 GMT)

Here is the Solution: 15 Teams, 3 Groups of 5 On current rankings this would look something like this A: Aus, Pak, NZ, Ireland, Canada B: India, Eng, Windies, Zim, Afghan C: SL, South Africa, Bang, Neth, Kenya

4 Group games each, top two teams go through to Super Six (30 matches) Super six stage where teams play all other teams except the team they have already played (10 matches) Semi and Final OR 2nd/3rd playoff for Final (2/3 matches) Done in 42/43 meaningful matches.

This would provide associates with an opportunity, the group stage is long enough to ensure one upset won't knock a team out and short enough to provide context to every match.

Posted by JPT78 on (March 7, 2011, 6:44 GMT)

The ICC WC should follow the FIFA WC Format. The Winner of the previous edition and the Host country/ ies should automatically qualify. While the rest of the countries should go through a pre qualifier( The world ODI rankings should not be considered ....) . The WC should be a tournament of 16 teams ( 4 groups ) with 8 qualifying for the QF's then 4 for the SF's and then the finals. ICC should focus on globalising the sport , revenues would come. It shouldn't be region centric..............!!!

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

Agree with Kris Hansen. Have 14 teams as now, but schedule 2 mathces per day in the early stage of the tournament and complete it as quickly as possible and make sure that the cup does not last more than a month.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 5:25 GMT)

Its not bad to consider Champions trophy as a qualifying tournament and give minnows a chance there 7 top teams plus one host qualify. The teams that done qualify, tough luck. Better luck next time. This will give everyone a fair go and we wont have one and half month long tournaments.

Posted by landl47 on (March 7, 2011, 5:19 GMT)

@Zahidsaltin: how exactly does the ICC forbid England from accepting Irish players who wish to play for them? Not only would it be impossible to draft such a rule without all sorts of other consequences (for example, Ireland would not itself be able to field overseas players, which it does regularly including in this WC, and Afghanistan would be decimated), but such a rule would violate the European Union laws on employment. Back before the days of central contracts, that might not have been an issue, but it is now. Each European Union citizen is entitled to work in any other European country and enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment. Back when selection for the national team was an honour, not a contractual matter, the law didn't apply, but now the England players are employed by the ECB, it's an economic activity and therefore covered. It's not going to happen.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 5:17 GMT)

I like this suggestion. I think that will really make the matches among the test playing nations more competitive to ensure they stay in the top 6 and then the remaining 4 + associates playing a qualilfying tournament maybe a couple of weeks before or again just as a part of the main tournament certainly sounds interesting.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 5:00 GMT)

I think we should have 16 teams in the world cup. Round 1 - 4 groups, 4 teams in each grp. Top 2 teams in each grp qualify for Round 2. Round 2 - 2 groups of 4 teams each. Again top 2 teams from each grp quality for round 3. Round 3 - 4 teams which play each other. Top 2 quality for finals. Finals - Best of 3. Total Matches: 45. Quality matches: 25 (instead of current 21) Have 4 games per day in round 1 and complete round 1 in 7 days flat. Then you can finish the tournament iin 28 days.

Posted by anandkr on (March 7, 2011, 4:57 GMT)

I absolutely like the format suggested by Sambit. But I dont know why ICC is so dumb to not even think about something like this.

Posted by Vasi-Koosi on (March 7, 2011, 4:20 GMT)

I agree with Sambit on the knee-jerk reaction; There is nothing wrong with the best 4 associate members playing in the world cup with the permanent members. What we need is a healthy challenge from these 4 nations. There solution rests in ensuring how these 4 can raise the bar and not how we can chop them off; I would suggest the following; Every permanent member should have two 3 week series with their A team with the associates in a year. This will contain 2x4 day matches, 3x1 day matches & 2xT20 matches. This will be reciprocated which means the associates members have 4 series a year with the next best from the permanent members. In addition, Every CLT20 team needs to spend 2 weeks in a triangular series with the associative members in a triangular format. 2 CLT20 teams along with one of the top 4 from the Assocites; This will be a 5 x 1 day matches, 3 x T20 Matches. This will ensure that over the next 2 years the World cup will have more meaning ful matches

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 3:18 GMT)

The solution here sounds great, execpt what happens if by 2015 India have had a bad run (a few stars are set to retire) & they slip to 7th. Oh the shame of it... & a chance to get bailed out before it starts would be too much.

I like this world cups model they just need to have more games per day, you could even have more teams. at least 2 games per day (one day game & one night game) sometimes 3 where you hide the mismatches like Sri Lanka vs Kenya...

Posted by Meety on (March 7, 2011, 1:31 GMT)

@Sambit Bal - I agree that the format proposed by you is the way to go IF a 10-team format is what the ICC stick with. That being said I have a real problem with the "design" of the 2011 tournament ensuring that the BIG BOYS stay in later in the tournament. Whether that is a good MONEY decision or not, I think it takes away from the integrity of the Cup. Is the Champion's Trophy going to be scrapped? Is playing a qualifier on the Eve of the Cup going to be much of a motivation for Minnows to retain players from other sports? I think the ICC have done a GREAT JOB when it comes to the pathways for a nation to go from Division 7 to Div 2 & Associate status, but they drop the ball when it comes to advancing the Associates. Yes Canada have not improved over 30yrs, but what about Afghanistans amazing improvement in 8 years? One thing the 92 W/C had was low interest matches (crowd-wise), were played regionally.

Posted by VisBal on (March 7, 2011, 1:30 GMT)

It is only meaningful to bring more of the world into the World Cup if the rest of the world is brought up to speed. Currently, the Associates only have the Intercontinental Cup (First Class) and the ICC Cup (ODI). You may notice that the teams that do better at one also dominate the other competition. So, maybe, the way forward is to have the A teams (or under-19 teams) of the Test nations playing the finalists of the Intercontinental Cup in a tournament of some description. This will definitely help develop the skills for playing long(er) matches and innings, as well as the strategic thinking and discipline required. This will help in the development of the Associates and the junior players in Test nations. Ultimately, the quality of Test cricket will also go up because the young players will grow mentally. By playing against good quality opposition, the Associates will also improve and can hope to become Full Members.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (March 7, 2011, 1:12 GMT)

Look at todays match between India and Ireland. I think whole of the India was intens and were never sure of a win until yousef made it look so easy at the end. Had Ireland scored 30-40 more runs(which they are very much capable of), it could have been anybody's game. Now think if they had Morgan in their ranks too!! I am sure Zim, BD, Ireland and Afghanistan have stregnth to upset any team on their day. A WC with 12 teams will be good Idea. 2 groups of 6 , then super 8 where teams from same group do not play and cary their points from first round, semifinals and final. I know SAMBIT and ICC won't like it because they need a guaranty for India to play first round and super 8 too. But then it's not a WC but something else. Only thing then to solve this is that other nations take care of India just as SA sacrified todays game to England only to keep them in the compitition.

Posted by sxg01d on (March 7, 2011, 1:02 GMT)

Here's I would make the decision on how to structure the next World Cup. The first decision is the number of teams. From this World Cup, 14 seems too many and 10 too little since it might leave out an Ireland. So, 12 seems like the magic number. Now how to divide 12 teams into groups? One solution is 2 groups of 6 followed by a Super Sixes stage, followed by semis and finals. I don't like this because half or more of the teams in a Group or Super Sixes stage qualify for the next stage. Also, the World Cup has become too long -- 41 games in 2003/1999, and 49 in the 2011.

My proposal is to have 3 groups of 4 teams each. The winner of each group advances to the semi-finals. The best 2 runners-up play a "Wild Card" game (like in the NFL) to qualify for the semi-finals. This format ensures that everyone plays to win their group as opposed to being in the top 50 percentile. The number of games reduces to 22! Should be able to conclude a World Cup in a month as opposed to two.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (March 7, 2011, 0:58 GMT)

SOME VERY FUNNY SUGGESTIONS INCLUDING THAT FROM SAMBIT. I have no comments for those which are derived from Golf or football as obviously these people don't know much about the variables of cricket and are only motivated by there love for another sport. I do not agree to the writer's idea of putting teams like WI and NZ through a qualifier together with assosiate nations. These two nations have a long history of cricket at the highest level and you can't put them at any possible risk. Would you do that to india if she suddenly suffers in future and ranks 7. No you won't and no one will dare to because it's all about money. I justifyably demand that at least the journalists should be fair when they give suggestions. I suggest 12 teams for 2015 WC. I think Ireland has proved to be competetive and I am sure Afghanistan is going to be the other team which in 4 years time will not be less competitive than Ireland. ICC should forbid England from taking Ireland players.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 0:22 GMT)

one drawback here is that there is not much advantage for 2nd ranked team over 3rd. so you can tweak this and make 2 of the best 2nd placed teams qualify directly for quarters. say a2 and b2 were better placed in terms of points/nrr than c2 and d2. or if groups a and b had 3 test nations then a2 and b2 directly qualify. then a1,b1,c1,d1,a2,b2 move to quarters. m25:a3-c3 play one playoff, m26:b3-d3 play another playoff. m27:winner25 v/s d2 and m28:winner26 v/s c2. winners of 27,28 go to quarters along with a1,b1,c1,d1,a2,b2

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 0:17 GMT)

@Willowman: good suggestion..i would make a single change, round 2 can be scrapped and you can directly have pre-quarterfinals where there is face-off b/w a2-b3, a3-b2, c2-d3, and d2-c3. a1,b1,c1,d1 directly qualify for quarters. essentially it is the same format suggested by you minus the round 2. so if you finish 4th in the group, you are out. however, if you finish 3rd, you have a 2nd chance.

Posted by slugworth on (March 6, 2011, 23:58 GMT)

This is laughable does FIFA make special allwonces for Bazil, Italy or Germany in the world cup NO!! they're are treated like any other team that qualifies, Italy went from WC holders to being kicked out in the first round of the next world cup. Im not sure who has to grow bigger balls the ICC or the Indian cricket team.

Posted by allanc on (March 6, 2011, 22:14 GMT)

The format should develop the game, reward good performance and penalise poor performance. It should not drag on forever once all the big teams are playing.

Sambit's first phase of matches develops associates as they have games versus the weaker major teams. It also penalises the weaker major teams by forcing them to compete with the associates. Hence, this gets a thumbs up.

Depending on results of the first phase, Sambit's second phase could consist soley of the major teams playing each other. In this case, the development of associates is not advanced. (It is advanced if associates get through.) I suggest more development would take place if 12 teams were allowed in the second phase as the best of the associates would get through. There are any number of formats from this point with 2, 3 or even 4 groups before knock out. 2 groups of 6 playing to produce 4 semi finalists would force the cream to come to the top.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 21:54 GMT)

I actually like Sambit's format. As we have seen so far even some of the test playing nations are struggling to make a full impact in this WC, notably NZ and BAN (I still consider IRE thrashing on ENG an anomally which we've seen happen in the last 4 WC with KEN beating WI in 96,BAN beating PAK in 99, KEN beating SL in 03, BAN beating IND in 07 and IRE beating PAK in 07. Nevertheless IRE are a vastly improved side). With the format Sambit has come up with the bottom 4 test sides can prove their worth while it will give 4 associate sides the opportunity to show what they are made of. And like he said have 3 matches a day and it will be over within a week while the top 6 test sides get some well deserved warm up games. Ideally the format should not be too short that a team would not be eliminated by 1 loss but not too long that they need to continually keep winning just to be in the tournament.

Posted by brighton82 on (March 6, 2011, 21:44 GMT)

the major problem is that the pools are too large. no other tourny has 7 teams in a pool because it makes it so drawn out. i understand wcs are a commerical ventures for the icc and they need to 'guarantee' ind makes it through to the ko stages but it make so many game meanigless. the 92 format is ideal as a specticle as all full members can beat another on their day and nothing can ever be taken for granted. the problem with this format is that the associates are ignored but this could be avoided if the associates regularly played test playing nations. associates could be included in every bilateral odi series v weaker test playing nation (ie nz, zim, wi, ban, pak) and could have regular series v the stronger teams 'a' team. this would actually allow the associates to grow and would give their star players opportunities to get contracts in the many t20 leagues which would increase media coverage in the assoicate nations building wider fan bases and actually allowing the game to grow.

Posted by timmytimmytimmytimmy on (March 6, 2011, 21:12 GMT)

yeah, great suggestion, has to be a middle ground. the world likes the association tems. we just dont like it when thereĀ“s a ton of mismatches.

then the top 10 could all play each other for the top 4 into semis. far better

Posted by sifter132 on (March 6, 2011, 20:59 GMT)'s a different idea at least, but you'll have the same problem as 2007 - where you might be carrying a weak team into the longer stage of the tournament based on one bad day by a good team - or one flukey performance from a bad team. The only difference is that instead of that strong team being India it might 'only' be NZ or WI. I still think the 1999 version is best. 12 teams all got a fair shot and there was an excellent super 6s section staged without forfeits due to security and without any bad teams being carried - Zimbabwe DESERVED to make the 6s that year. The real issue is the ICC are scared of too many weak games mainly because of TV, but I say just make sure whenever the minnows play there are 2 games a day. Then if the minnow team really implodes there is another game to watch.

Posted by Willowman on (March 6, 2011, 20:43 GMT)

16 teams. Round 1: 4 groups of 4 -A, B, C, D (24 games) Round 2: Matches 25-28: 25 -A3 v B4, 26 -B3 v C4, 27 -C3 v D4, 28 -D3 v A4 Round 3: Matches 29-32: 29 -C2 v W25, 30 -D2 v W26, 31 -A2 v W27, 32 -B2 v W28 QF: Matches 33-36: 33 -D1 v W29, 34 -A1 v W30, 35 -B1 v W31, 36 -C1 v W32 SF: Matches 37-38: 37 -W33 v W34, 38 -W35 v W36 F: Match 39: W37 v W38

Result: An intense tournament where literally every game counts

Posted by Adityak on (March 6, 2011, 20:32 GMT)

Good suggestion Sambit .. I believe that the "all play all" format like the '92 WC is the most fair ... i agree it could get lengthy .. in tht spirit, the 2007 world cup with its super eights wasnt a bad idea .. as regards associates, a qualifying tournament should be played say a month prior to the world cup with format suggested by you .. all said and done, the ICC really needs to ensure that the associates get much more chances to play test playing nations .. its really unfair for the associates to get such less practice against test playing sides .. short tournaments involving 2 associates and 2 test playing sides should be held regularly ... I know it wont make sense financially .. but this is about cricket and ICC need to be reminded of its responsibility ... ha but why am i even wasting time suggesting this .. with you-know-who in power, I am sure "benefit of associates" and "cricketing sense" are distant dreams .

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 20:28 GMT)

Good thoughts Sambit. Exactly, this is what I also had in my mind. Teams playing qualifiers when the top 6 play warmups-it'l take 1 week, opening ceremony, and then u'll have 10 teams plang each other once, then semi- and i suggest best of 3 finals.But, i feel it'l be top 7 teams directly qualifying instead of top 6 as u dont want to take the risk of one of the financial powerhouses ending up at 7th spot.

Posted by velicoraptor on (March 6, 2011, 19:28 GMT)

An even better system would be to work out some kind of a handicap like they have in golf. This should work for the contests between the top 4 (or 6) teams and the rest. So what you are playing for then is not just against your opponent but also playing to justify your standing. For example, if India which are the second highest ranked ODI side in the ICC ranking defeat an associate like Ireland by only five wickets, does it do justice to their status? I think not. I am sure a statistical model can be found out to even the odds against the associates.

So it could well be that while Ireland make 208 in 50 overs (considering they were all out), India has to make the runs in 40 overs with 4 or 5 wickets remaining.

Now that would make the game interesting.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 19:20 GMT)

I think 99 and 03 WCs had the most balanced format...12 teams in 2 groups of 6 each and then top 3 from each group make up Super 6. This would limit the no of weaker teams while allowing them exposure to top level cricket and also make the matches more meaningful as top sides cannot afford to take it easy in first round and also carrying points onto Super Six provided incentive to take every match seriously.

Posted by addiemanav on (March 6, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

its a gud idea that sambit has proposed!i hav a little 6 ranked teams till a cut-off date,qualify..for ex,in this cup,top 6 will be:1)aus,2)ind,3)sa,4)sl,5)eng,6)pak..these will play against each other plus another 2(instead of 4 as proposed by sambit)!!on the other hand 7th ranked wi and 8th ranked nz will be joined by zim,bangldsh,ireland(*ireland shud be given permanent odi status) and one more team(winner of the association tournament-holland,kenya,canada or whatever)!!split the teams in 2 gps(7th,9th,11th) and (8th,10th,12th)out of these teams(7th-12th),only teams topping this table 2 will reach final round of the wc...this means only 6games in total for these teams to qualify(as sambit said,these games can be played alongside practice games and completed in a week)!!then once the top 8 teams r ready,everyone plays each other..that means we hav,28 more games!!the top 4 reach semis and final!!thus we hav 6(qualifiers)+28(league)+3(knockout)=37 games in a month or so!

Posted by clytus on (March 6, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

I think Sambit's prescribed format is a welcomed one, however, I think the current one used is also good and allows the non-test playing nations enough games against top opponents. However, I would tweak it slightly to give even more meaning between games involving the test nations (currently these teams can afford to lose games against all other three test teams in group and still qualify once the smaller teams are defeated). I recommend the top three(3) teams qualify from each group, with the group winners remaining on a bye for the first knockout round. The remaining four teams (two from each group) play in the first knockout round, with the winners facing the group winners (who were on a bye) in the semis. Think of the great meaning and fight that will be displayed in the round robin round especially when the test seeded teams play their games against each other (key players wont b rested either). Also, the amt. of games currently played by the minors will not be compromised.

Posted by nastle on (March 6, 2011, 19:11 GMT)

This is a very good suggestion.

The football and rugby world cups have horrendous mismatches, but noone complains, because the weak teams are glad to be there, to have the experience, and are really competing with the other teams around their level. Ideally the cricket world cup should be open and fair. If the bigger teams want to progress, they should have to play better. But this will never happen because of the muddled motives of the ICC. Everyone is complaining about mismatches, but the real problem is that Associate teams sometimes win, and this upsets the proper order. They say they want to develop associate cricket, while at the same time trying to keep the test nations on top to preserve TV income.

Posted by cricket702 on (March 6, 2011, 18:41 GMT)

In my opinion, if you really want to make cricket a global sport, you do need to give chance to more nations, like football does. I suggest: 1. Only the host gets automatically qualified to the World Cup 2. The rest non-hosts Test playing nations need to play qualifiers with the associates. 3. First of all, the associates and affiliates play pre-qualifiers as they do currently and the best 21 teams are placed together with the 9 Test teams 4. Altogether 30 teams compete in 5 groups x 6 teams in home and away basis in World Cup Qualifiers. Thus, each team plays 10 games, 5 home and 5 away. What this means is, you'll see big nations such as India, Australia play their away games in countries like Italy, Argentina, Bermuda. This would do a world of good to the minnows. 5. The top 3 teams from the 5 groups proceed to the World Cup. Together with the hosts;16 teams play in the same format as 2007 World Cup. ..Nepal, Argentina, Italy playing their away game at MCG, Lord's, MCG, Newlands:)

Posted by bysodus on (March 6, 2011, 18:32 GMT)

Extremely stupid idea. forcing some of the test-playing nations to do a qualifier is only boredom and rankings are not perfect science when there are only 9 test playing nations, which in a given week/month can come out on tops to any other test-playing team. Teams like Canada made up of expats don't make sense at all. There is no denying the correlation between performance of associates in T20 to ODI. let me them be consistent in T20 and they can be promoted to ODI world cup then. Why doesnt ICC have a regular program of A teams of Test playing nations playing the associates ??

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 18:19 GMT)

Very nice analysis and solution. Sambit you rock!

Posted by Anneeq on (March 6, 2011, 18:05 GMT)

The ICC have no proper plan to globalise 50 over cricket. How can u have a world cup with just 10 teams? How can it be a fair world cup when u guarantee the richest teams go through? Its simple 16 teams 4 groups and STICK WITH IT!! I think its a very good idea for the top 6 teams to automatically qualify and for the associates to play against the lower 4 teams to qualify for the remaining 10 places. It gives the associates good exposure. And for God's sake get rid of the blummin Champions Trophy!! Thats a useless tournament that takes attention away from what should be the real prize which is the world cup.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 17:46 GMT)

jesus Ireland have overtaken both bangladesh and zim they deserve test status and should be dead certs for the world cup.they show time and again, in fact every match this world cup of what they are capable of. Once they are handed test status then they can build a first class structure retain morgan and really go places that bangladesh hvent ever been. and also they would gain the experience of hamish marshall as well!!!!

Posted by eatsometofu on (March 6, 2011, 17:45 GMT)

I think the ICC won't make the first round qualifiers like Sambit Bal describes as part of the World Cup. I think there will be a Cricket World Cup qualifier like before that involved associates but this time they will include the bottom 2, 3 or 4 of the test playing countries with the first division of the World Cricket League. The qualifier will probably take place according to the current schedule of the World Cricket league well before the World Cup.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 17:43 GMT)

actually sir i thinkwe want the worldin theworld cup why dont we do like this a 16 team tournament.. 10 test playing nationS qualify automatically and the remaining six nations qualify from the 27 associate playing nations..... i hope u noe that the associate nations include many soccer powerhouses like spain italy germany argentina..and many other so let the 6 emerge out off these 27 nations then arranging these 16 nation in 4 groups like euro and copa america finish the group in 12 days at 2 matches a day then 8 teams remain then do like the euro by allowing them to play quarter finals and semi finals then final and then the trophy in their will finish in 20 to 30 days including will be venly contested and different teams will take part....u r the editor of this great cricket make the game like football we have to think like football..u can recommend my humble suggestion to the ICC...IT WILL INCLUDE THE WORLD AND FINANCIAL POWER IN ITSELF

Posted by dalok on (March 6, 2011, 17:33 GMT)

Sambit, there was nothing wrong with the 2007 format. I say that even though i am an india fan. What was the guarantee that the match would not have been one side if the indian and pakistani team of 2008 had qualified for super 8. Stick with sixteen teams and let some poor teams get out in first stage and let some deserving team make it to next round. I totally disagree with giving byes to the test playing nations. Let them earn their place. The only thing that their status should buy them is seeding in first round.

Posted by 9ST9 on (March 6, 2011, 17:31 GMT)

This concept is not exactly new either - remember the champions trophy in 2006? It had 10 teams - filtered down to 8 by a qualifying round. The teams that finished at the bottom in the 2004 series - SL WI Zim and BD had to face a 4 team qualifying round. SL and WI qualified and WI went on to become the runners up. But the question remains - what if a big ticket team somehow fails to go through? The best solution lies somewhere between 2007 and 2011. A FIFA style world cup would be really cool. 16 teams -> 4 groups of 4 like in 2007 followed by quarter and semi finals and a final AND a 3rd place playoff. 32 games 1 month. Even the minnow games become important as u HAVE to win it. I think reduction of games a team plays makes each game that more valuable. Each of the 32 games will be really vital and would mean increased interest among the viewers as well.

Posted by m_ilind on (March 6, 2011, 17:28 GMT)

I think the Associates add a different buzz to the tournament, since invariably one of them starts performing...which is what this tournament is all about! they can create uncertainties, change net run rates etc. that can impact the bigger nations. Also, as history has shown it's a great way to reach full member status for Associates, as happened to Sri Lanka, and Zim, unfortunately not for Ban! Tournament length can always be shortened, as it's more of an admin affair. Otherwise, a league rr like 1992 is best if only full members are involved!

Posted by Pingissimus on (March 6, 2011, 17:13 GMT)

Simple enough. 16 teams. 4 groups. We see the top teams play each other through the year ad nauseam. This is the one time we get to see them together in a competition. If a top team goes out early - that is good. Cricket fans live for moments like that to argue over. The current format and the one proposed in the article are simply dumb - we have to wait 40 matches for the tension to begin. Please. Think about it.

Posted by inswing on (March 6, 2011, 17:12 GMT)

Sambit Bal's idea is excellent. Allow many countries to participate without diluting the tournament too much. The only issue I see is that countries like NZ an WI will be upset at the ignominy of having to play with associates to qualify. But if it is announced several years in advance that teams #7&8 will have to do this, they won't have much reason to complain. The associates do need the exposure. Increasing the number of competitive cricket countries is the best thing for cricket in the long run.

Posted by zeus_kris on (March 6, 2011, 16:57 GMT)

Well said Samit. This is a good suggestion.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 16:54 GMT)

very very wise idea.........

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 15:53 GMT)

Ireland certainly deserve to be there ahead of a pathetic Bangladesh side... thats just for starters.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 15:51 GMT)

I like Sambit's suggestion. It adds an element of uncertainty, retains associates and presents the possibility of unexpected second round matches.

If we really want the associates to improve though they need to play plenty of cricket of the highest levels possible not just once every 4 years. To this end I'd suggest that in domestic competitions of test countries (including IPL and the big bash), players from non-test nations should not be covered by any foreigner restriction. At present, whilst the thought of say Ten Doeschate or O'Brien wreaking havoc in the IPL is attractive, it won't happen because there is no incentive to drop a bonafides international like Hayden or Gilchrist to do so. If they didn't count towards your 4 or 2 or however many foreigners for the purpose of the tournament there might be.

Posted by not_that_andrewhall on (March 6, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

I object to the sentiment that financial expediency means India must be guaranteed a large number of games. A World Cup ought to be relatively immune from such constraints. It should be a tournament where every nation gets an even chance to have their time in the sun, and the tournament is all the richer and more meaningful for it. Why does Indian cricket, or in fact, the ICC, actually NEED to earn so much money? If money is earned, it's surely for the betterment of the game anyway. And there is no way to better the game than to ensure as many people as possible around the world can enjoy it. If Indian cricket wants to earn money - above all else - India ought to just come up with meaningless one-day tournaments of their own primarily for TV and leave the World Cup alone.

Posted by sysubrceq0 on (March 6, 2011, 14:28 GMT)

@vikram201088 - the format is good ... one big drawback is.... all Elite group like to play bad to fall in plate group... so they can win against Minnows and qualify for semifinals directly..... (NZ, BAN,WI) has good chance.. even they not deserve to play in semifinals based on wins with minnows...

better is play the plate group first select a winner and place them in elite group with 8 teams - 1992 format will workout best

Posted by VisBal on (March 6, 2011, 13:13 GMT)

As noted by many, the host should automatically qualify for the World Cup when a qualification is instituted. But the number of hosts should at most be two, to prevent the overloading of the 'free tickets'.

The only way the game can grow is to bring more teams to Test status. That can only happen when Associates are allowed to get promoted. Clear guidelines have to be put in place for this.More importantly, sufficient support by way of match experience should be given to the top Associates so that they become more competitive and consistent.

Posted by 9ST9 on (March 6, 2011, 13:02 GMT)

Ok so far so good. But what happens if India end up in the last 4? Will the ICC think this is a good plan. India may rule the roost now. But some time ago in the early 2000's India was at the lower half of the ratings. If such a case comes up these 'Brilliant' plans may yet not be too brilliant. Maybe the ICC should have a rule that allows India to automatically qualify for the finals.

Posted by breno104 on (March 6, 2011, 12:45 GMT)

I like 12 teams ala the 1999 world cup. Have the 9 test nations automatically qualify, and have the top three associates qualify through the ICC trophy. This will include Zimbabwe. The 99 WC nearly had it right. This is how I would tinker with it. Keep the group stage the same, but instead of only carrying points into super six won off other qualifiers, keep all points earned. This would make every match meaningful, and eliminate a hocus-pocus result ie: pak v bang 99 WC. Continue with original super six format, but instead of having semi finals, I would have a top three. First placed team straight into final, 2nd v 3rd in an qualifying final. It's fair, and keeps associates involved.where would WC be without kenyas upset of WI in 96? Zarawani facing up to Donald without a helmet in 96? John davison for canada in 03? Obriens innings this tournament?

Posted by Red_Bull on (March 6, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

But what was a good idea in theory went horribly wrong in practice with Bangladesh and Ireland knocking out India and Pakistan in the first round ----------------------------------------------------

Why is that 'horribly wrong'? Virtually everyone in the cricketing world bar Indians and the ICC accountants thought it was brilliant that the over-hyped Indians were sent packing at the first hurdle. They wernt good enough so they were eliminated.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 11:46 GMT)

Sambit's idea certainly has merit, though personally I think it could go for a slight change:

16 teams compete in the first round, where the 10 test playing nations and 6 best associates play each other based on ODI rankings e.g. The #1 ODI team in the world plays the 6th placed associate, the #2 ODI team plays the 5 based associate, etc. with the eight winning teams going into one group and playing everyone once (like 1992). Of course, you'd expect the number 1 team (e.g. India/SA) to beat the 6th associate team (e.g. Bermuda), but the games with the top associate teams would certainly add spice to the qualifying. The, the top four from the group qualify for the semi-finals.

Easy as that!

Posted by MijanurRahman on (March 6, 2011, 10:33 GMT)

It is highly discriminating to keep the path for automatic qualifier. Why not involve all the teams in such a qualifying round? Possibly you may wonder, well, Pakistan and sometimes England or even India may not accidentally qualify. ICC is growing very elitist. They are being unjust to the newer/weaker/minnow/inconsistent but ever present smaller teams ONLY to forgive the occasional, often frequent, mistakes of the so called bigger teams. ICC need to act as the genuine promoter of the game.

Posted by thearianrobben on (March 6, 2011, 10:26 GMT)

The way people are saying top 6 or 7 teams is ridiculous. Is there actually any difference between West Indies and England? England just got beaten by Ireland. and nobody is forgetting the 2007 world cup. I don't think anybody should automatically qualify for the world cup except may be the current champion.

Posted by vikram201088 on (March 6, 2011, 8:43 GMT)

I have better format...pls take a look and comment

Top 7 teams from ICC odi rankings should directly qualify for the elite group of the world cup.Rest of 7 teams liike wi, bang and associate nation plays in the plate group of the world cup.There should two matches per day ,one from elite group(day) and other from plate group(day night).Top 3 from elite group makes directly to the semifinals.In plate group top 2 teams plays in the best of three finals and winners takes on 4th placed team in the elite group for a place in the semifinals.Three should be best of three final for the elite group as well if more precaution is needed.In this format teams like ireland will have big opprtunity of playing in the semifinals but to get there they also need to be very consistent.Also dead series will have importance since all the teams will try to win every single match to get up in icc rankings.No match will be a dead rubber.Only loss of this format is may to wi but that shows their real position

Posted by Horn.OK.Please on (March 6, 2011, 8:20 GMT)

Looking at the way IPL has made lesser-known cricketers heroes, I think the best way forward is to include associate nations as part of the domestic structure of larger test playing nations. For example, you can have Nepal (Bangladesh may now be a larger team) into the Ranji structure of India. Same way, you can include Afghanistan into Pakistan's, Ireland into England,etc.

That way, you have these teams playing against strong teams, their success will rub off the popularity in the home country (Nepal winning the Indian Ranji?), and will help to slowly improve the standards, and the popularity of the game.

Posted by sunilbasnet on (March 6, 2011, 7:41 GMT)

When india will be never able to win the world cup the format of world cup will be like this... There will be only 5 teams in world cup, And in Final both finalist have to play 5 matches to each other, and the one who will win the most of matches will be the winner of world cup and may sachin dream will come true....

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 7:36 GMT)

We can have a qualifying round with as many associate countries participating as you want. Maybe 10 or 12. Like in the World Cup. It can be a round robin format too.

Then we select two associate teams for the main event. Just two. Not six as in the current format.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 7:30 GMT)

Nope too risky this idea. Ireland beat England and nearly Bangladesh. Canada scared the life out of Pakistan and Netherlands scored 290 plus against England. The best thing the ICC can do is to kill off cricket in the associate countries completely and this process can be accelerated by; 1. Continuing to make sure that the full members avoid playing the associates in ODI's thus depriving them of big game experience. 2.Continuing to deprive the associates a place on the future tours program. Thus denying them a chance to host big time cricket at home that might draw sponsors, TV deals and profit. 3.Encourage England to take from the associates - Dockrell, O'Brien, Rankin and Kervezee must be selected by England now. 4. With playing numbers likely to exceed 2 million in the associate/affiliate countries by 2019, we need to short-circuit this growth by taking away their incentive to play - remove them from all future world cups. 5.Continue to give the full members 80% of ICC funding.

Posted by popcorn on (March 6, 2011, 6:22 GMT)

Stupid of Sambit Bal to relegate New Zealand and West indies to the qualifying group. They have been mighty in the past, they've had their ups and downs, and should get automatic selection. They have proven on a single day in the current World Cup how ruthlessly they have demolished Zimbabwe and Bangla Desh. so the Qualifying Group should consiste of the Associate Nations + Zimbabwe and Bangla Desh in a Round Robin League Format. The top Two will qualify for the 10 Team World Cup. This is fair. No one will complain, neither the Associate Nations, nor the Member Countries.

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

the 1992 world cup format was the best, it gives a fair chance to all thats it

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 6:19 GMT)

icc must consider this format for cwc will be like the davis cup and help associates to qualify into the wc by playin against the bottom four. also the bottom 4 would be under the pressure of playing for their wc spot. matches can be played in two legs - home game and away game so that cricket can be popularized in the associate countries. The same can be done for the 20-20 wc where the no of countries will be much more than 50 over format.

Posted by _Prashant_ on (March 6, 2011, 5:54 GMT)

Sambit, while _usually_ you do a good analysis, I am surprised by the shallowness of your suggestion regarding the scheduling. Come to think of it, your suggestion implies that a week back, you have no idea who is going to play whom since qualifiers are conjoined with main event.

While ICC does take ridiculous decisions at times, it is still not advisable for someone as erudite as you to simply criticize them without looking into the merit of their move. ICC has specifically mentioned that there would be 7 or 8 _fixed_ teams decided by ranking and qualifiers for the rest, which is almost same as what you have suggested by fixing it to 6.

The difference is, ICC qualifiers will be done well in advance, so that if NZ qualifies, NZ fans, and fans are one we all swear need to be facilitated, will know their team is playing these many matches on these dates, at these locations in the main event which is absolutely impossible to achieve if your suggestion is to be implemented. _Ludicrous_!

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 5:43 GMT)

The 2007 WC format was perfect except for one thing - The Super 8. Even if India and Pakistan had qualified, it took too long. They should have just had QFs instead of it. 31 matches to pick a winner among 16 teams, very reasonable.

Posted by tickbarraclock on (March 6, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

I largely agree with the idea and was starting to think something along the same lines myself, with a couple of tweaks around qualification. One issue that would need to be overcome is that the next edition of the World Cup is due to be hosted by New Zealand as well as Australia - it would not make financial sense to have the tournament here in NZ if the Black Caps were not able to play. Although there is a lot of time between now and then, and team fortunes will no doubt change, a decision would need to be made about whether automatic qualification for the host nations (as in football) would be acceptable. I also would suggest that the qualification aspect of the tournament could be held some months in advance - jamming another 3-4 matches on top of a guaranteed 9 per team over a shortened window sounds a little tough.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 5:35 GMT)

love the top 6 idea, especially if all the other smaller nations get their chance to prove themselves

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 5:22 GMT)

Qualifying rounds also happened in 2006 champions trophy(the infamous sharad pawar podium one).I remember because I bought a color TV for that tourney.But that tournament was forgotten bcz India's performance was pathetic. But the point is West Indies and even a team like Sri Lanka had to qualify for the main stage with other teams like Zim and Bangladesh

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

well Sambat long duration of tournament can be solved by playing at least 3 matches daily in the first rounds and also by reducing the number of rest days in between matches.

However the major drawback in one day game rules must be changed urgently to make it more logical intersting and exciting

Like bowlers being restricted to 10 overs each maximum in 50 overs,batsmen must also be restricted to maximum 10 overs each and 10 overs can be divided into two parts of 5 overs to be divided by captain's need.

This rule will prevent all batsmen dominated games and that too by first three batsmen only like Sachin,Ganguli,Ponting,Sangakar,Amla Hayden,In changed rule in full 50 overs there will be atleast 6 players will bat

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 5:20 GMT)

This world cup's format is good enough. Should be repeated again next time. If test teams cannot qualify then tough luck. However, india or England could have trouble qualifying if any of their matches is rained out. According to the rules if two teams have equal points the team with more wins would go through to the second round.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 5:17 GMT)

How do you know that india or pakistan will be ranked among the top 6 by the time the qualifiers start. I remember, nz were ranked second before this worldcup when they came to tour srilanka and now see where they are. It's oneday cricket and this can happen to any team. Are you prepared to even consider the risk of india getting eliminated in the qualifiers by the likes of ireland, zimbabwe, indies or bangladesh. Don't say it won't happen. Cricket is funny game... you know this too.

Posted by gothetaniwha on (March 6, 2011, 5:16 GMT)

Why should England get a walk up start at next WC in 2015 when it looks like they are going to be knocked out before QF . Surely they should have to pre qualify to make next cup . Why pick on NZ , WI ,PAK all the time .The top eight from this cup should qualify for next cup .If that means Ireland gets through so be it , they deserve to be there next time .then there should be pre -tournament to get the other 2 qualifiers .

Posted by prakz on (March 6, 2011, 5:13 GMT)

I agree with sambit.. but ICC can also consider the format of FIFA. Which actually conducts qualifiers for all the teams except the final winners. Though this much complexity is not required in terms of Cricket but ICC can adapt some of the qualities of WC qualifiers from FIFA like conducting qualifiers, n selecting no.of teams based on the popularity of the game in that continent. For eg: Asia it is very popular game so ASIA can have 5 berths (India,SL,PAK, Bang, xxxx), similarly with africa with 3 slots etc.. this will not only include the world in the worldcup but also this will set a bigger stage n bring global image to the game. I feel this format will help the budding nations like Ireland, Scotland, China, Netherlands, Kenya non test playings nations to develop their game n also can be recognised as winners of the qualifiers

Posted by akshay4india on (March 6, 2011, 5:11 GMT)

If I could also add my 2 cents. They could adopt a different format entirely. Assuming there are 10 teams in the tournament, they could put 1 associate in each group (2 groups). Every team plays every other team and then the top 3/5 teams in the group go through. Then a super sixes would occur, where they are randomly assorted into 2 groups. Then they play each team in their group, when the top 2 go into semi finals.

Posted by wicked.wizard on (March 6, 2011, 4:58 GMT)

Remember your debate on time out with harsha about ad's on tv and your remark that cricinfo is also a commercial entity but doesn't mean it shows so many ad's. visits to the cricinfo website show that even cricinfo may have buckled under pressure of commercialism during the worldcup, given number of banner ad's and even background's changing

Posted by CrouchingTigerHiddenDragon on (March 6, 2011, 4:36 GMT)

Here we go again. Always scared to be bitten by the associates. A champion should be able to withstand both the tough and easy situations. ICC cut down the world cup attending countries from 16 to 14 because, Inida and Pakistan in the last world cup group stages? This is too much childish in my sense. Shouldn't India and Pakistan be penalized for showing a lack-lusting performance. Why the Axe on the associates? If that is the goal then let it be a private championship of the Test playing countries or the so called top 6 cowards. And talking about business, the passion of cricket is there but the ICC doesn't know how to use it. Where are the souvenirs of the 2011 World Cup? I believe the people involve in the marketing of cricket for ICC are the poorest equipped ones. And please don't make cricket only for India, Australia and England. Let's make cricket global. Thank you.

Posted by Vinod on (March 6, 2011, 4:36 GMT)

That is if a team has to play 4 matches with every team, e.g., India should play these 4 matches (2 home and 2 away basis) against each team over the 2 year period. After the 2 years, top 8 teams should be allowed to qualify automatically to the World Cup. For the remaining 2 spots, a qualifying tournament should be held with round robin league basis. And the top 2 teams can qualify. The format also should allow promotion of 2 spots for ICC Associate teams based on the 2nd tier Associate league. In this ICC league format, the concern of Associate teams not getting enough matches with stronger teams during the period between the World Cups will also be addressed.

Posted by Vinod on (March 6, 2011, 4:35 GMT)

Nice Article Sambit Bal. I feel that your proposal is worth pursuing. However the ICC ranking which you are suggesting to use to select the top 6 teams is somewhat concerning. The teams which play more matches and win more are poised to be better ranked. So I would suggest that ICC should abolish the entire ICC Future Tours programme and instead should think of a ICC One-Day Cricket league where all the test playing nations and teams with one-day status - should play each other over the period of 2 years (the league can start in the 2nd year after the world cup, meaning for the 2015 World Cup qualifier, the league can start in 2012 and can go till 2014). In this league ICC must make sure that all the teams (10 test playing nations + top 6 Associate teams with ODI status or teams which are supposed to qualify from Associate league) should play equal number of matches against each other.

Posted by 64W..HotShot on (March 6, 2011, 4:33 GMT)

Brilliant!!! But unfortunately for you it would go unheeded, after all, who are you to speak to Mafias like the ICC and FIFA and get a result.. These 'know it alls' only care about money in their pockets, decisions are not made in the interest of the game but what would be the most lucritive $$$.. they understand nothing about striking a balance..

Thats why I want Ireland to beat India, maybe India would invite them back after the IPL for a 'reverenge' series and they'll get some cricket under their belts.. Give Holland and Ireland 5 yrs of consitent cricket and they'll be WC contenders.

..... Holland has been critized for not having a strike bowler who can go for the jugular, ask AUS where is Nannes!! England and AUS are like parasites to Cricket.. I reserve my thoughts about India!! mostly because I feel that writing it would cause my post to be edited

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 4:12 GMT)

That's a brilliant format. I was thinking something along the lines of just reducing it to 12 teams, 2 groups of 6. Top 3 teams from each group progress to knockout stages(6 teams total), with the top team of each group getting automatic entry into the semis, and the 2nd and 3rd place teams playing a one off playoff match to qualify for the semis (a similar format to what will be used in the IPL later this year). But your idea has one advantage to it, being the fact that the other teams can play their warm ups while the associates sort out qualification.

Posted by KP_84 on (March 6, 2011, 3:49 GMT)

Yes, I think a qualifying process involving some of the top teams would be great for drawing attention to the ICC World Cup Qualifiers. Soccer's FIFA World Cup Qualifiers are followed by fans around the world. When this event was last held (in South Africa in 2009) the average cricket fan wouldn't have known about it. Full Member nations would bring TV coverage and more media coverage to this event. And also, why not play the qualifiers in a home-and-away format as they do in soccer?

Posted by Jerryant on (March 6, 2011, 3:43 GMT)

totally agree Sambit!you rock!

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 3:40 GMT)

one thing that is overlooked here is the fact that the associates provide fodder for bigger teams when net run rate comes into play. jokes aside, i think if just the test teams are to participate, the '92 format should be adopted. if there is room for the associates, adopt the 2007 model, or one with an elimination round. dont bother about india or pakistan being knocked out. if these teams are good, they progress. or they go home. tweaking the format just to accommodate india or pakistan defeats the very purpose of sport.

Posted by intcamd on (March 6, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

This argument will not work if India was not in the top 6. Then, they would be in the bottom 3 or 4, and then have to fight it out with the associates, to make it to the top 10. And if they don't, then we will have a repeat of 2007.

The issue is not so much that a particular format is flawed, but that 60% or more of the money comes from India, which is dominant on the cash side of the equation but not on the playing side (not to the same degree anyway), and the ICC has to go thru all kinds of contortions to make sure its golden goose stays alive for as long as possible. Short of giving India an automatic seef into the semis, any other format will have its pros and cons.

Posted by nehamit on (March 6, 2011, 3:27 GMT)

Making a mountain out of mole. Dhoni's home was never attacked in 2007. People are not that insensitive. It was a 'plot of land', given to Dhoni by Govt., which was not having any significant structure on it, which was ransacked. But Journalist always want to make a issue out of it, even after 4 years. That too, by imaginatively relating a thing which happened elsewhere. No matter, Samit Bal and likes would be very happy to ave something similar happening, so that they are not bereft of materials to write.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2011, 3:03 GMT)

Somebody get this article to the ICC. Get it noticed!

Posted by VisBal on (March 6, 2011, 2:24 GMT)

There is a simpler way to determine who makes it to the World Cup. The bets example we have no is football. Let ALL Associates play (not just the top-tier) along with the Full members in a region-wise competition starting maybe 3 years before the actual WC and spread over as much time as is felt necessary. For example, let the ACC decide the format for the Asian teams, the African board can determine their format, etc. The catch is, each zone/region only has as many berths as there are Test teams from that zone. This way, the actual World Cup competition will feature the best teams, while all member nations have a chance to get there. This will also increase the exposure of the Associates by having them play more matches against top quality opposition. So when an Associate does qualify, they deserve to be there and are not just to make up the numbers.

Posted by ShahriarKhan on (March 6, 2011, 2:18 GMT)

Asking four of the ODI countries to play in an eliminator for WC 2015 would be like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. A maximum of 2 will be involved. The Australian World Cup is under commercial pressure already as it is played out of subcontinental and English and South African prime-time, so even less risks will be taken by the broadcasters.

Irrespective of World Cups, the Associates - and Afghanistan - need to be given ODIs against the top 8 between now and 2015. That would be truly extending the hand of comradeship and non-exclusiveness.

Posted by sundarsoumya on (March 6, 2011, 2:06 GMT)

Nice Article Sambit. I think The number of Associates can be kept at 2 instead of creating a qualifying tournament like the tennis grand slams. Then divide the 12 teams in two 1st round groups, where teams of each group can play against each other once. based on that 2 teams from each group will play semifinals. If infrastructure permits 3 matches can be played every day. So even a day break is provided the first round will be over in 2 weeks. the tournament will be over in 3 weeks. Anyway nobody watches each and every game in a tournament. Well I believe after their consistent performance for last few years Ireland should be provided with test status, especially if bangladesh and zimbabwe can be considered as test teams. In that way Ireland will not lose players like Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan to England. In that case the number of Associate nation's participation will go down to 1. But the world cup will be somewhat evenly contested without taking the world out of WC

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (March 6, 2011, 1:46 GMT)

@Sailav. I don't see Sambit saying Ire are better than Bang. Where on earth do you see that? Bang, though, like Associate nations are not favorite to come out of their group and even their win vs Ire, a team that they should be looking to dominate was scratchy and that too in conditions that the Irish are not accustomed to considering that ICC haven't let them play more than 11 games vs full nations in the past 4 yrs. Furthermore, Ire are not in the same class as Canada, Kenya and Holland but Sambit expects all those who know the game to realise that without him spelling it out no? Bottom line is Bangladesh have been disappointing and their progress whilst eminent is much too little. The better your history, the more "off days" you are allowed. Despite what you may think, Bang are not permitted as many off days as some of the other nations. The rest of the cricket world wants to see their old habits die and that debacle was proof that their old habits may still be lingering.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (March 6, 2011, 0:20 GMT)

Quarter final is a totally unfit concept in Cricket. QF is ok if there are 20 strong teams. There has to be just two top teams from each group for Semifinals. So all matches will be important and meaningful. Play 2 to 4 matches per day and finish Wc in 3 weeks. There has to be IRELAND. Make it a full member. Include only one associate as it use to be earlier. IRELAND is winner of associate trophy. We do not need top 4 associates. At the most top 2 teams. Once Ireland is the Full member allow only the Winner of associates.

Posted by goldensilence on (March 6, 2011, 0:01 GMT)

Sambit - Do your opinions reach Haroon Logat and concerned at ICC? I would be interested to know if you present these directly to them instead of leaving such ideas only on Cricinfo.

This is certainly a great idea for the format of next world cup.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (March 5, 2011, 23:57 GMT)

Between WC2007 and WC 2011, Bangladesh has played more than 100 ODI against strong team and see their record, dismal. Ireland has played just around 4 - 5 ODI against Full members keeping aside matches against Bangladesh in Bangladesh and Zim. Look at their performance. They almost defeated B'desh in ther home conditions . Even Ireland's performance in WC2007 was examplary. Ireland must be included in FTP immediately so that they play almost same amount of matches.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (March 5, 2011, 23:37 GMT)

If top six is a criteria just remember, India was definitely not in top 6 in 1983, Pakistan was not in top 6 in 1992. Infact Pakistan just squeezed through in semifinal due to an abandoned match which England would have won hands down. SriLanka was not even in top 7 before 1996. So this suggestion is totally wrong. You cannot have qualifying tournament taking Full members and associates together. Full members has extensive experience of playing strong teams , than this tournament will be a trick for associates to shut their mouth. @Sailav , whatever very very rare upsets Bangladesh has created is after playing so many matches( 10 years ) ,gaining extensive experience and rare slip by major teams. Same Exposure for Ireland, their performance with the same team will be much much better. Separate IRELAND from the Associate basket. IRELAND should not be punished for the bad performance of other associates. Ireland has home grown players unlike immigrants Net'lands and Canada.

Posted by TamilIndian on (March 5, 2011, 22:33 GMT)

Sambit for ICC president!

Posted by Sailav on (March 5, 2011, 22:10 GMT)

Nice article Sambit.I always support associate nations especially Ireland. I would love to see them as the next test nation.But Sambit, why r u placing Bangladesh with Zimbabwe.Ireland and Netherlands. It was a bad day for Bangladesh. This things do happen in cricket. Pakistan was all out for 42 against West indies in an ODI,India was all out for 75 against New zealand last year in Srilanka triangular, the same team which was white washed by Bangladesh. U r hailing Ireland above Bangladesh. Ireland deafeted England last week but Bangladesh also deafeated England in England last year. Bangladesh defeated Ireland in this wc and in head to head Bangladesh is ahead by wining 5 out of the 7 matches against Ireland. I have nothing against Ireland. I do like Ireland as a cricket team. But just putting the facts right

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (March 5, 2011, 21:33 GMT)

Do not club Ireland with other Associates. Ireland's performance in World cup till date is much better than that of Bangladesh. BAngladesh has been unfairly elevated and allowe to be part of Future tour program. Whatever level Banladesh is at today( Whic unfortunately is very bad) is due to the experience of thrashing against big boys. They have won only few games against second string WI and Zimbabwe with tailor made pitches(uncricket type).NZ side which tored was verybad as well. After playing 100s of matches against strong teams they have hardly won a 3 to 4 matches. Any win of Bangladesh is a real upset. Ireland is in a different class . By the way having a qualifying tournament with Full and Associate together will be a big mismatch as Full members get experience of playing strong team throughout the year and gain valuable experieance.It will be very obvious that such tournament will be a waste itself as Full members only will qualify. There has to be atleast one extra spot.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2011, 21:30 GMT)

Yes. This is the way to go. Good article, Mr. Bal.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (March 5, 2011, 21:29 GMT)

The prob with the suggestion is that any team who makes it out of the qualifiers may be able to quote "fatigue" as an excuse for poor performances later. This MAY or may not be a valid excuse. To fix that, one could probably have the qualifiers several weeks before the actual tourney. This WC would have been a whole lot smoother of course if 1. THEY PLAYED MORE THAN 1 MATCH A DAY. and 2. If poor Ire (and other associates) got at least a chance to play more than 11 measly games vs full member nations in the PAST 4 YRS!! How on earth can ICC claim to have Ire and other associates best interest at heart if they don't let the guys play cricket matches! Just imagine how much better they would be with that added experience.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2011, 21:28 GMT)

also the ranking of the associates must be done as right now there is no clear rankng among associate nation

Posted by   on (March 5, 2011, 21:14 GMT)

The suggestion holds weight but requires some more thinking over. That's because it is based on the assumption that one among the top six will win eventually. Given the power-wielding by the BCCI, it is very likely that we will start hearing complaints about lack of momentum, etc. The reason that cricket doesn't have the depth of football and there are concerns about burdening the game's premier tournament is that the ICC has failed to globalise the game, one of its primary functions. This itself needs to be the focal point of discussions instead of how cricket should react to this failure. As an example, it is easy to blame the administration in Kenya for its current failure but for a significant period of time Kenya was a better team than Bangladesh, one that had the Test status. ICC has continued to make mistakes. It's time the game stopped suffering because of it.

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Sambit BalClose
Sambit Bal Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.

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