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UK editor, ESPNcricinfo

The best World Cup of all time

But the ICC's decision to chop out the Associates - especially Ireland, who were integral to the excitement - is both baffling and tragic

Andrew Miller

April 5, 2011

Comments: 224 | Text size: A | A

The Indian team celebrates with the Cup that counts, India v Sri Lanka, final, World Cup 2011, Mumbai, April 2, 2011
This was India's year, and they earned their win in style. But this World Cup was a spectacular success and would have been had they won the final or not © AFP
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Four years ago in the Caribbean, it was said that the ICC got the World Cup it deserved. The 2007 tournament was a bloated, corporate, soulless sell-out of an event, infused with a noxious blend of controversy and apathy that turned the self-proclaimed Carnival of Cricket into a six-week wake. In Asia in 2011, however, the ICC got the World Cup that it needed, and that is not the same thing whatsoever.

By the standards set in 2007, not to mention those in South Africa in 2003 and England in 1999, the 2011 tournament was a resounding triumph. In fact, an impromptu survey of approximately 1.2 billion people might well conclude that it was the best World Cup of all time. Admittedly some non-Indian observers might suggest those findings had been skewed a touch, but try telling that to the jubilant masses who spilled out of the Wankhede Stadium and onto Mumbai's Marine Drive on Saturday evening, or to anyone who shared the scenes of delirium in every street of every city, town and village of the world's second-most populous nation.

The funny thing is, those 1.2 billion people are almost certainly right, but not necessarily for the reasons they might assume. Of the 10 World Cups to have taken place since 1975, none has come close to matching the narrative and drama of the tournament just completed - not even 1992, which is commonly cited as the pundits' pick to date. The greatest triumph of this edition lay not in the final outcome but in the journey that was required to reach that crowning moment, for the excellence of the entertainment was not simply an illusion glimpsed in the moment of India's victory. This would have been a World Cup to savour, irrespective of whether Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni had managed to turn the tide of the final in their country's favour.

All of which makes Monday's mood-darkening decision in Mumbai so incredibly hard to countenance. The decision to slam the door shut on cricket's Associate nations - in particular Ireland, whose role in the narrative was so fundamental - and revert to a ten-team formula in 2015, makes a mockery of the spectacle we have just been privileged to witness.

Ratnakar Shetty, the tournament director, admitted as much on the eve of the opening ceremony, when he let slip that the group-stage elimination of both India and Pakistan had torpedoed the entire event in 2007. Every available precaution was taken to ensure against a repeat of such a financial disaster, but when England tested the rejigged format to its absolute limits by threatening a group-stage exit at the hands of Ireland and Bangladesh, the doubts crept in. At the time England's struggles appeared to vindicate the tweaks that had been made, but at boardroom level it became clear that changing the locks alone wouldn't be enough to guard against future intrusions. It was time to roll out the razor wire.

The fact that the ICC reached their decision a mere two days after the tournament's conclusion suggests that there was never a decision to be reached in the first place. It was simply a matter of announcing the fait accompli

The decision has been shocking both for its timing and its finality. A sop has been offered for 2019, but by then Associate cricket will have been stagnant for a generation. Even George Dockrell will be in his late twenties and in all probability an England regular - why would or should he squander the prime of his career waiting? - while John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien and all the other heroes of Bangalore will have long since retired. And the fact that the ICC reached their decision a mere two days after the tournament's conclusion suggests that there was never a decision to be reached in the first place. It was simply a matter of announcing the fait accompli.

The wider concern is the lack of concern. The public's initial reaction has been gratifyingly furious, but if ever there was a good day for the ICC to bury bad news, it is the Monday after India have won the World Cup, just as the IPL hype machine is beginning to grind into action. If enough righteous indignation is to be summoned to force the board into a change of heart, then a sizeable proportion of the 1.2 billion are going to have to speak out as well. But with some justification, they are a bit preoccupied right now.

The tone of this article was never intended to be so downbeat. A remarkable event took place in Mumbai on Saturday, and quite rightly, the celebrations throughout India will resonate for weeks and months to come. Dhoni's decisive six in the final could yet become the most replayed shot in cricket's long history, while no one who claims to love the game can take anything other than delight in the decisive role that Sachin Tendulkar played in his sixth and (presumably?) farewell campaign. Moreover, the best team in the tournament emerged with the spoils, and while everyone loves an upset now and again, it's right that class should prevail in the end.

Kevin O'Brien landed some huge sixes to keep Ireland fighting, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
Kevin O'Brien's astounding century was a performance the like of which we may never again be privileged to witness © Getty Images

But regardless of all that, the World Cup's postscript is one that ought to freeze the blood of all sports fans, irrespective of how much they've loved or loathed the campaign that preceded it. The most common complaint - particularly from those frequent flyers who took part in the six-week game of subcontinental hopscotch - was that the event was at least a fortnight too long, although that issue is one that is stipulated by the ICC's long-standing broadcasting deal with ESPN Star Sports, and hence a ten-team all-play-all format in 2015 will not lead to a significant reduction of matches or days on the road.

What it will lead to is the loss of one of the key reasons behind the success of 2011. Ireland's victory over England, powered by O'Brien's astounding century, was a performance the like of which we may never again be privileged to witness - it was so unexpected, yet so majestic, that when the deal had been done, and Ireland really had chased 328 to beat England, having at one stage been 111 for 5, it seemed churlish to demean it as an upset. Not even Australia in their pomp could have won a game with more confidence.

The knock-on effect was to electrify the permutations in Group B, where Bangladesh's fluctuations created a six-way tussle for four places. Though they wilted at the last against South Africa, their own story was a vital subplot in itself. It started with the youthful vigour they provided at the opening ceremony - a concept that tends to look laboured at sporting events where there's no Olympic flame to provide a focal point - and continued via the West Indies debacle and the subsequent stoning of the team bus, through to their own crowning moment against England. And all along the way, they - like the musically fuelled Sri Lankans - kept contributing the thrill of packed stadiums, a factor that had been so miserably absent throughout the previous World Cup.

But in the end the whole narrative reverts back to India, and quite rightly so, because this was their year, and they earned it the hard way, soaking up the pressures and the doubts, as well as 28 years of World Cup failure. That they won the final in such style was magnificent, but their journey to that Sri Lanka showdown was every bit as gripping. Along the way they faced up to each of their major rivals, and there was not a dull contest among them. England battled to a tie, South Africa secured a thrilling run-chase, before Australia were dethroned and Pakistan denied in consecutive knock-out encounters.

And then the party that kicked off on Saturday night was something to behold. If the purpose of sport is to fulfill a utilitarian brief of conferring the greatest pleasure for the greatest number, then the 2011 World Cup hit the spot like no other event in history. Sadly, however, there is so much more to it than that. Any sports fan with a moral compass, even one whose every wish has been granted this past week, will recognise that the tournament's true conclusion was signed and sealed not in the Wankhede Stadium, but in a Mumbai board-room, two days after the main event.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Dr.Qwert on (April 9, 2011, 10:23 GMT)

the tournament didn't work, once again it was misformatted. the 2 pretournament favourites played in the quarter finals having lost 1 game each (India vs Australia) & to get through the group stages was pretty much a formality to 7 of the 8 nations leaving just bangladesh & West Indies to battle it out. the tournament up until the quarters was almost irrelevant & left 2 of the quarters to be decided by 10 wickets. the semis were decent games but never really had anyone doubting who was going to win. there were 3 matches (from 2 months of cricket) for the tournament worth revisiting, India vs England, England vs Ireland & India vs Sri Lanka. personally i'd call the tournament a fail. Stephen Wardle, totally agree!

Posted by memoriesofthepast on (April 9, 2011, 9:41 GMT)

Was the trophy handed over to captain Dhoni, the original one or fake one?

Posted by memoriesofthepast on (April 9, 2011, 6:58 GMT)

Underdogs, tied matches, close finishes, miracles, chokes and upsets are a must for the 50 over WC tournament to remain popular compared to the 20 over version. Bangladesh, Ireland, England, South AFrica, New Zealand brought interest and excitation in watching WC 2011. Underdogs India won 1983 WC. In that WC, Zimbabwe had reduced India to 5 down for 17 after which Kapil had to make 175 to rescue India from jaws of defeat. In finals WI could not make even 183 runs vs India. Then underdogs Aus won 1987 WC. Then underdogs Pak won 1992 WC. Ireland and Bangladesh should be playing in WC2015. One of the intention of hosting WC should be to spread this game of cricket globally and what ICC has decided for WC 2015 will confine the 50 over game and make it boring.

Posted by   on (April 8, 2011, 23:39 GMT)

It may have been 'The best World Cup of all time' - as Andrew Miller asserts, but it was certainly followed up by one of the most disastrous decisions ever made by the ICC. Restricting the next World Cup to only the 10 'international cricket playing nations' is bound to kill off the game in those countries that are excluded. This ranks alongside the ICC's earlier decision to reverse the result of the fourth Pakistan/England match in 2006 - which as we all know was forfeited by Pakistan. On that occasion it was clear that the ICC had been strongly influenced by elements within the Pakistan cricketing hierarchy, who couldn't accept what the rules of cricket state. (Rule 21.3.(a).ii "A match shall be lost by a side which in the opinion of the umpires refuses to play..."). Thankfully the outcome of that regrettable fiasco was that the original result was re-instated... when the MCC reminded the ICC that they had written the rules..! Lets hope the ICC change their minds again...

Posted by systemdisco on (April 8, 2011, 13:56 GMT)

We should start a grass roots campaign to keep the 'minnows' involved in the next world cup so that our favourite game remains truly worldwide. The only institution that could really do it is cricinfo. With an editorial team comprising untold persuasive powers over those that matter - true lovers of the game - I fell that they could take this, the best World Cup of All Time, and convert it into the best series of all time, nay, a Worldwide one...

Posted by Denzel_Smith on (April 8, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

Ireland deserves to sure has the capacity to beat any other team in the world......IRELAND, I am with you....

Posted by   on (April 8, 2011, 13:02 GMT)

That is what happens when you create mess by beating so-called top teams!!!!

ICC can still salvage the situation, just ask the 7,8, 9,10 ranked to prove their mettle in a knock out tournament (7 games, SF'sts makes the WC cut) with top four Associate countries.

Posted by Sabwani on (April 8, 2011, 7:32 GMT)

Oh ya it was. India won in home crowd, earning lot of revenue for ICC. However semi was almost an asia cup. Seems like none of the other team able to survive on solely batting track. Waiting for 2015, how India can defend its title in Aus n New. Some of the remarkable performance brought spark, predictiblity of upsets was at the peak. Shane warne, I cant understand how ppl knew the result before start of the match n specially fairy tale was presented by Haroon Logart even before qualification of India in semis.

Posted by samedwards on (April 7, 2011, 22:32 GMT)

@neil99,the no. of games wont change due to the commitment given to espnstar by icc,& also,since u r talking of one upset,some upsets have changed the game of cricket.Sri lanka's win over India in 1979 & India's win over windies in 1983 increased the sport's fanbase in south asia,resulting in the cricket powerhouse of today.Simlarly,Ireland's win over England has caught everyone's attention in ireland & people have started paying attention to the game.Dont u think that's a good aspect?

Posted by hatrick26 on (April 7, 2011, 8:32 GMT)

I am not sure 1992 WC was good. Many teams were screwed by the "Rain Rule" when they were batting second. Obvious e.g - "22 runs in 1 ball" anyone?SA in Semis and India against Australia. The format was good but then it was good because it only had 9 teams and everyone could play against each other. Now there are 14 teams so that is not possible. The format had to be changed but this WC atleast had 14 teams which was good for those clamoring for Associates participation. For those sore losers who crib about batting pitches this WC, it was far from it. There were average batting scores inspite of Batting PP that was not available in previous WCs. One cannot really help if Oz/Windies/others cannot play quality spin. This is the first time a host nation won on its soil. SA did not do any thing when they hosted in 2003 and what makes some think that SA was the best team. May be on paper but they find ways to lose when pressure comes calling.

Posted by   on (April 7, 2011, 3:40 GMT)

They wouldn't have to drop these teams if they got the format right.. It would work if it was 16 teams in 4 groups of 4, playing each other once. That's a tops of 12 games at group stage. Top team in each group goes into semi's (4 teams), winner of semi's plays the final.. simple, and a maximum of 15 games for the whole world cup.. it's not rocket science.

Posted by slakkoju on (April 7, 2011, 1:39 GMT)

In my opinion 12 teams should compete in 2015, 9 test playing nations, zimbabwe and two associates. So less mismatches and 2 group format, finish in 20 to25 days. But for t20 it should be 16 teams to spread out cricket to non cricket playing nations.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 22:53 GMT)

I wonder what outcry there would be if the football world cup made the same decision. Imagine no Cameroon, Nigeria, or even Ireland. This is a decision fuelled entirely by greed, and shows the ICC in it's true light.

For many years the ICC was run by England and Australia t suit themselves, now India is doing the same.

Posted by NZ_Cricket_supporter on (April 6, 2011, 22:48 GMT)

Not being allowed to TRY and qualify for a WC is just so terrible a decision. Come on ICC, at least give the associates a chance to qualify. Do Zimbabwe and Bangladesh deserve a spot on the next WC based on there world rankings and how they played in this tournament just finished? I would say no.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 22:47 GMT)

Why not keep the format exactly the same since it was a resounding success?@Ram Jagendran-im not sure what cricket you were watching or referring to in your "one month of boring cricket"-doubt it was the world cup lest you are too critical

Posted by donda on (April 6, 2011, 19:02 GMT)

I like the Idea of playing 10 teams in WC. There should be qualification round for all teams in the world and select even based on rankings. Last 3 should play top 3 from associates to get last 3 positions. 10 team is best idea as 1992 wc was best format ever.

Posted by NP_NY on (April 6, 2011, 18:01 GMT)

@ctjay911: Spot on! Can't agree with you more. Bangladesh has won three tests in all these years - one against Zim in 2005 and two in 2009 against a WI team that did not have any of it's top players. Agreed, all teams start of as minnows, but how much time do they deserve to be given?! If Ireland is properly supported by ICC they can not only be a good ODI side, they can compete at the test level as well.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 17:02 GMT)

Because India Won. If Sri Lanka Won it will not be I am Sure

Posted by remnant on (April 6, 2011, 16:10 GMT)

This world cup had little quality players other than the Indian team with most nations struggling with gaping holes in their squads, or other over the hill players; shadows of their former selves. This is too soon after the WC however the long view would only reiterate this point. Among world cups I rate 83, 92, 96 & 99 as better than this as they truly saw the outsider come and win the trophy and not the one with the biggest muscles.

I am also finding it a bit amusing to see western writers virtually bending over backwards while praising Asian success. this could be another such instance, but not good for credibility.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (April 6, 2011, 15:12 GMT)

TELL ME SOMETHING THAT I DON'T GET. How can a nation which is granted ODi status by ICC is not entitled to qualify for a ODi World cup organised by ICC. Am i missing something. Does it give sense.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (April 6, 2011, 14:59 GMT)

How the hell is BAngladesh suitable for Tests. If just passion for sport a basis for automatic entry in World cup than India , Bangladesh should get automatic entry in Football FIFA WC. India has more football crazy fans than probably full europe.Even I follow football during WC.WestBaengal, Punjab, Kerala, NE, all major cities in India goes ballistic ,more than cricket during Football world cup. This despite India not being in the Football WC. So just passion is not an answer. How come media does not mention BAngladesh among minnows. BAngladeshhas hardly won.Few victories are basically upsets. The pitches in BAngladesh are stitched for BAngladesh .This pitches are not even spinning tracks.They are lifeless dead bounce pitches suitable for typical BAngladeshi bowlers. Infact this is one of the reason why South Africa was knocked out. Just a win against NZ on such disgusting pitches against a brand new NZ team is not an answer.

Posted by kunduk on (April 6, 2011, 13:48 GMT)

Is this a sport ? Is this a business? As an Indian living in the US all I can suggest is that the minnows file a lawsuit against the ICC and ask for damages plus legal cost of the whole exercise.

Posted by Baljinder on (April 6, 2011, 12:28 GMT)

I think it is a shame to have a Cricket world cup without every cricket playing country in the world having the oppurtunity to participate in it. You might as well call it the 'Elite Cup'. I do agree it does not lead to good entrainment having som many one sided games. Perhaps have the test playing nations + 2 or 3 slots for non tset playing countries which they can qualify for.

Posted by Adam_Michaels on (April 6, 2011, 12:25 GMT)

Boycott the 2015 World Cup. Don't go to the games, don't watch it, don't talk about it. Advertising revenue is the only language the ICC understand.

Without the Associate nations it isn't a proper World Cup anyway. As an England fan it was awful to get beaten by Ireland, but it was also one of the best games of the tournament. Top sides getting knocked out by so-called minnows is part of the drama. We need more cricket-playing countries, not less. This is just wrong in so many ways.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 12:02 GMT)

This is ridiculous decision considering the fact that cricket is such a money spinner and when we have lot more countries playing good cricket, we will have more interesting contest for audience...ICC should consider these nations regularly for games with top nations or atleast bring them to domestic format in strong test playing nations..we need more top quality nations in cricket..otherwise already over worked cricketers will be injury prone and this will shorten many careers.. If there are more test playing sides everyone will have optimum schedule of games... not one test playing side will be stressed by their duration...ICC should focus on sustaining cricket the game by focusing on long term measures to develop cricket in associate nations rather than going on short term money oriented tightly packed FTP's for the players....

Posted by Tasrrr on (April 6, 2011, 11:38 GMT)

The ICC has to ONE of the big jokes in world sport admin going around. Now there not much reason for associate members to carry on, no goal to strive for. Sport is about the competition, the uncertainty of the outcome. Could've had the top 8 with a playoff (warmup) for rankings 9-12 for the remaining 2 spots. As Ireland wont be at the next world cup England are just going to be another West Indies type side, with the best that Ireland & the british isles can offer (with a few south africans thrown in).

Posted by Nervewrecker on (April 6, 2011, 11:13 GMT)

Its obvious that every single person in this world who follows cricket wants Ireland back in the World Cup, except Lorgat and Pawar. So, what's the fuss all about. Show Lorgat and Pawar the door, and bring back Ireland.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 11:07 GMT)

I agree with ctjay911, Bangladesh are not worthy of the Test Status.

Posted by Subu on (April 6, 2011, 10:15 GMT)

ICC could have taken the Cue from Football or Hockey world cups . The intent to limit the teams to 10 is fine but the actual teams should not be the current top 10 teams. They should only allow the TOP Six from the Previous World Cup/ Champions trophy qualify for the Next WC and have the remaining four slots be fought b/w the remaining Cricket playing nations a year before the WC. That would atleast provide justification to the rankings and an opportunity and motivation for some of these associate nations. What they need is constant exposure against Big teams. In fact , during late 90's , there used to be tri-i series involving two big teams and One minnow to provide constant exposure in spite of low interest/competition. With ICC not sponsoring the development of Cricket in these countries, they shud atleast provide a Fair chance for these country and having their inclusion after 2019 is a real backward step. Guess that's what happens if Non Cricketers heads ICC for a long time.

Posted by Agapornis on (April 6, 2011, 10:09 GMT)

I would say the best world cup was 1999 except for the system of carrying points over. We could easily have 15 teams in the 2015 world cup without having to prolong the tournament beyond a month. 3 groups of 5 teams each with the top two of each group going into a super six where they play 4 teams from the other two groups without any carry over of points.

This way the minnows would get a decent 4 matches each and the first round would have 30 matches , super six would have 12 and then the 3 or 4 knockout matches. Can be comfortably be completed in about 35 days.

Posted by marcs on (April 6, 2011, 9:20 GMT)

Associates are worthy of a world cup spot (atleast 2 which can be decided through an elimination round). But I believe, ICC would have eliminated them to revert back to the format used in 1992. Very unfortunate.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 8:55 GMT)

Cricket: England try to gag Irish fury over exclusion By David Townsend EXCLUSIVE IRISH INDEPENDENT Wednesday April 06E 2011

Not content with voting to bar Ireland from the 2015 World Cup, the England cricket authorities yesterday attempted to gag Irish players from talking about their shameful decision. In the wake of Monday's vote by full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) - including England - to restrict the next World Cup to the 10 Test-playing countries, several Ireland squad members reacted angrily.

Posted by cricket2011 on (April 6, 2011, 8:41 GMT)

Posted by pj3000 on (April 6, 2011, 8:31 GMT)

What's the point of having a WC if the organisers feel they have to orchestrate it in such as manner as to keep any particular team(s) in for as long as possible? That sounds boring, not the unexpected twists and turns the Associates have given us eg) Kenya in '03, Ireland in '07 etc. Many of the best parts of WC folklore have been provided by Associates - SL's win over India in '79, Zim over Aus in '83, Ken over WI in '96, BD over Pak in '99, Ire over Eng in '11...not to mention moments like John Davison's ton for Canada in '03. What the WC needs is two years of Full Member/Associate qualifiers ahead of the WC finals tournament every four years. That means more regular exposure to the top teams for the Associates, raised stakes in ODIs generally and a dramatic narrative for all teams on the path to the WC finals tournament. It also removes the sense of self-entitlement to appear in WC finals that the Full Members seem to have. No one country is bigger than the game.

Posted by neil99 on (April 6, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

I completely disagree with aspects this article. One swallow doesn't make a summer and similarly one upset doesn't make a World Cup and if the decision to axe associates galvanises and consolidated the tournament so be it, and all for the better. Like flagship tournaments in football (WCup and Euro Champs) the format is over bloated with too many meaningless games against poor and weak teams. One could point to game such as, which clearly outweight the Ireland match were associate members were embarrassingly poor. Once again the top teams provided the most thrilling games and so for the sake of Ireland we have to put up with Kenya, Canada and the Netherlands who were generally poor. The question you should ask, and you miss entirely, is that the 9th and 10th places in the 10 team format should possibly be fought out between Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and the associate members. Further, lets hope this does lead to a leaner tournament in terms of games and overall duration.

Posted by ArifurKhadem on (April 6, 2011, 8:11 GMT)

Dear Editor, I think it's unfair to have overlooked my comment, especially when it's connected with FB, my friends may simply find me dumb without seeing it under this article.

I think ICC should re-consider including England and West Indies in the next World Cup unless they show some improvements. If the associates like Ireland and Netherlands get the opportunities as much as those full test playing nations, soon one of those associates will clinch the World Cup title. It will be the ICC's dumbest decision to curtail the number of teams when FIFA is thinking about welcoming more participants to their World Cup. In order for ICC to complete the competition within a month like FIFA World Cup, they need to organise two to three games a day before the knock out starts. As cricket is a lengthier version of any game, it is not unusual to see it run a bit longer. So cricket can not always be compared with football or hockey in terms of timing issue unless it's a T20 version. Arif, Sydney

Posted by MohsinBallack on (April 6, 2011, 7:53 GMT)

i am sure 1999 is the best world cup ever and the second one is 1992 this is may be in sponsors and wealth vise the biggest world cup but not in much competative matches as in 1992 and in 1999 zimbabwe won against south africa and india bangladesh won against pakistan who s forget the semi final between aussies and south africans again see the 1992 world cup new zealand and aouth africa upset 2 much zimbabwe defend 130 runs pakistan qualify for the finals as they are not good in group matches but in semis and final they looks like a wounded tiger cornered

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 7:49 GMT)

I say make the test sides qualify with only four of them going into the WC with ten minnow teams!!

Posted by Doogius on (April 6, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

@Nampally - you must work in the media - what spin. Associates have played for years, its only now they're getting pulled, why - because India was knocked out in 07 by effectively, an Associate. Crowds don't make a cricket match, the players do. Woolmers passing was unfortunate and probably marred the event. As for security, tell that to the West Indians. Weather interrrupted 2 games, but trashed a few others because of excess dew. In Oz, you couldn't watch it unless you paid for it - only Oz big games were free to air. And not one semi or final went to the last ball - full stop. I would have thought winning 3 in a row would be the crowning glory but I guess - I'm not Indian. Congrats India, you deserved the win but best ever - laughable. I'd rate it behind 2003 and 1999 any day of the week.

Posted by I.RAGHURAM on (April 6, 2011, 7:04 GMT)

"Andrew Miller has rightly said that by 2019, Associate cricket will have been stagnant for a generation & George Dockrell will be in his late twenties and in all probability an England regularwhile John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien and all the other heroes of Bangalore will have long since retired".... But England should only porch on George Doctrell... John Mooney, kevin O'Brien and others in the current Irish team and future talent are also available for porching.... WHAT BENEFIT ARE THEY GOING TO GET BY CONTINUING TO PLAY FOR IRELAND....

Posted by HLANGL on (April 6, 2011, 7:01 GMT)

Totally skipping these minor teams for the game's bigger events (WC or mini WC) is nothing but a shortsighted & unreasonable move. What ICC should have planned instead is having the 2 best teams from these minor teams, instead of having 4 of them. If you want to participate in the bigger events (be it WC or the mini WC), be among the best 2 in your level. That would give these teams a fair chance, some target to aim at. These 2 teams can then be put in the 2 separate groups, so that each group in the WC preliminary round would have only 1 of these minor teams each. Then it won't dilute the quality of the games to this extent, at the same time it would give these thriving nations a certain target to work on which would in turn increase the competition among them which is a positive. If ICC decides to turn a total blind eye towards these nations who're just thriving to belong to the highest stage, it would only show the mere ignorance & lack of strategy on their part to say the least.

Posted by cjegan on (April 6, 2011, 6:37 GMT)

Best World Cup of all time? No. From the quarter finals it was interesting but the group stages were pointless. They shouldn't of changed the format from 2007 when Bangladesh and Ireland knocked out the big boys India and Pakistan to make everyone look out for these "minnows". Group stages this year were pointless basically narrowing 9 teams to 8, and even then Bangladesh didnt have a good chance. Its a shame because before the tournament there was 5 or 6 teams who could of won but in my view it didnt live up to the hype.

Posted by LittleFinger on (April 6, 2011, 5:30 GMT)

ICC = International Council of Clowns! How can a body designed to make the game stronger act in such an imbecilic fashion to the detriment of those nations who are desperately keen to break into top-tier cricket. So I can imagine that the format that we had in the 2011 WC led to several meaningless games. So how about this; The top 6 ranked ODI nations walk into the WC. The next 4 compete with 6 more countries (top amongst whom would be Ireland) to compete for 4 spots. In the end, it can be a 10 nation WC, but at least give Ireland a chance to qualify? These ICC jokers will soon kill the goose that lays the golden egg!

Posted by Sidace on (April 6, 2011, 5:14 GMT)

A 10 team round robin format will be fun to watch. but the BEST 10 teams should play. Therefore the top seven teams: India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, England should directly qualify. West Indies, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, Kenya should play a qualifier for the rest of the 3 places.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 4:55 GMT)

Mr Anand kannan.... First of Alll People who are in history dont play cricket. Current players will. Ireland is such a good Team. It have very good Batting compared to Bdesh. They defeated England on their day. They Deserve test spot than Zim. I guess top 10 ranked teams shud play

Posted by T20man on (April 6, 2011, 4:35 GMT)

I dont have a problem with the ICC reducing the numbers of starters for the next world cup (I think that a 12 team tournament would be ideal), but locking out the Associates (by not having any qualifiers) is a total DISGRACE!! What is Ireland + upcoming countries like Afghanistan supposed to do for the next 8 years?! In effect they are being told not to bother playing 50 over cricket (so probably any longer version as well). There is no incentive for them whatsoever to keep playing it. And by the way, Ireland is already probably better right now than 1 or 2 of the 10 Test countries. What a slap in the face for them. I live in Australia, and unless this decision is reversed I wont be buying any tickets to the 2015WC.

Posted by Mark450 on (April 6, 2011, 4:34 GMT)

It might not be a bad idea to preserve the T20 tournament for inclusion of minnows, but keep the 50 over World Cup exclusively for the established nations in order to keep the tournament no loner than a month in duration, otherwise people start to become disconnected.

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

People pay hard earned money to see these matches. What happened finally eight Test playing countries ended in the Quarter Finals after one month of boring cricket. Let the other countries improve Cricket in their countries. 50 overs is not the real cricket every country should try to achieve Test Status. Sri Lanka struggled to obtain Test status.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 4:10 GMT)

Simple format. At a given date the top 15 teams in the ODI rankings are invited to the world cup, seeding level 1-5. Three groups of five teams one from each level. Top two from each group goes through to two round robin groups of three teams each. The two teams in second place play for third/fourth place. Top two play the final.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 4:09 GMT)

The 10 team format is a complete disgrace and will destroy cricket in the nations trying to build it up. ICC seems to be more content safegaurding the commercial content and sacrificing the long term interest at the altar of short term interest. What else can be expected of a body so riddled with politics and self-interest! It wont be stagnant Andrew Miller, you are being kind...ICC appears to be more concerned on how to destruct the game and its popularity.

Posted by D.V.C. on (April 6, 2011, 4:06 GMT)

@Anand: I did watch the majority of their games. The reason everyone is excited about them is that they aren't a one man show like ten Doescarte is for the Netherlands. They have a complete team. Did you not see any of Dockrell's bowling for example? They competed in every game they played in the way all the Test playing nations did. Bangladesh fell to pieces in some of their games, even NZ did against Australia. That didn't happen with Ireland, they hung in there and came back at their opponents. That's why they are a quality side.

Posted by ctjay911 on (April 6, 2011, 4:05 GMT)

I know I will be probably be hated for saying this but it has been bothering me for years so I will say it. Why in the world does BANGLADESH have a test status?? WHY?? Shouldn't there be some limit to the amount of chances that are shelled out?? I really believe their status should be revoked and ICC should take a chance with some other deserving nation. Other option is go with 12 nations for the WC, where two finalists from the associate nations (plus zim and Bangladesh) tournament will be guaranteed qualifications in the WC.

Posted by alooser on (April 6, 2011, 4:02 GMT)

Thankfully these ICC jokers were not around when Sri Lanka was thought of as minnows! If Sri Lanka was not alloowed to play back then, imagine the scenario we would be in today. We would not have had the likes of Murali, Ranatunga, De Silva, Vass et al.

Posted by ctjay911 on (April 6, 2011, 3:54 GMT)

Before 2011 WC started, I was absolutely convinced that it was a correct decision to leave out the associate nations for the next ODI world cup. Except Ireland, I don't think any other nation displayed the level of talent and future promise that is expected of a team playing at an international level and that too in a WC. Not only did the performances lacked substance but it almost seemed as if they didn't have what it takes to compete for 100 overs. Hence, I was open to the idea of going back to 1992 WC format. Besides, the associate nations has a shot at qualifying for the International 20-20 events. Also, from a financial perspective(ICC's perspective) organizing matches between/with associate nations is a guaranteed loss of potential chances to bank profits. However, having watched Ireland in this WC, I can see why it is so disheartening to leave Ireland out of the next WC. I think that they should either be given a test status or 2 nations should be allowed in the WC 2015. CONTD..

Posted by enamit on (April 6, 2011, 3:43 GMT)

i'm really v disappoint by the decision taken by ICC that in 2015 there v'll b 10 teams can you mention how v'll d cricket growth in IRELAND n NED by dis decision.i think d future of irish players are in dark ,after wat they prove in this world cup they are phenomenal side by they performance every cricket lover notice n wants them carry on but i think icc ignore .m one more point to icc why u call 2015 wc just call it champions trophy bcoz u really hurts the talent of irish players n now we are not able to see players like O'BRIEN brothers,dockrell, rankin etc by dis decision thanx icc i dnt knw how cricket will develope back to u

Posted by abhra1808 on (April 6, 2011, 3:37 GMT)

What difference is it going to make ? Zimbabwe will loose 9 matches, Bangladesh 8, West Indies probably 7. That is 24 less competitive matches (out of 45). Compare that with the associate related mathces we had this year.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 3:01 GMT)

2015 world cup needs at least the two best associates teams to grow the game i have made a possible format which makes the world cup shorter and still involves the associates

In my opinon the best world cup the next one be the worse because 10 teams play each other once semis, final longer tournament and its really a champions trophy with 10 teams

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 2:32 GMT)

This article pretty much sums up my feelings on the issue. I'm a Sri Lankan living in Canada. I have lived here for the great majority of my life. Cricket here is mainly driven by the immigrant population predominantly of Caribbean or South Asian descent, as can be seen by the composition of the team. However, as we have come to participate in World Cups every 4 years since 2003, I have started to see the ears perk of others in Canada. I've spent the greater majority of the month explaining cricket to my friends, who have never seen a match, because interest has started to take root amongst the greater populace. If it weren't for the fact that to watch the world cup on regular TV you had to dish out $200, the equivalent of 4-6 months regular programming I'm willing to bet at least a couple hundred thousand would have watched a match or two. We even had a school fund raise so that they could get a cricket field. This decision will kill any momentum the sport had in Canada by 2019.

Posted by jith619 on (April 6, 2011, 2:16 GMT)

Posted by Anand Kannan on (April 05 2011, 18:21 PM GMT) ALL THOSE WHO ARE SO JUDGMENTAL ABOUT ICC'S DECISION to have only top 10 teams for the WC2015...................................... They have a history and are not minnows. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hey Anand I pretty much agree with your statement that watching majority of the associate teams game was painful and boring. No one is questioning the ICC's decision to have 10 teams, they are questioning the teams they are allowing to play. Both Ban and Zim getting free ride to WC2015 is ridiculous after their performance this yr. i think both Ire and Ned made a good stand to be in WC2015. And as far as Zim, i know they hav had good players but thats cuz they were given the opportunity to play at the world level. Zim came to ICC in 1981 and played in 83,87 & 92. Ire has been in ICC since 93 and played their first WC in 2007 . world cup stat Zim 10-37 Ire 4-10

Posted by Boba_Fett on (April 6, 2011, 2:09 GMT)

The decision to drop the number of teams participating in the actual World Cup tournament down to ten is absolutely the correct one. Some points:

Holding one game (IRE v ENG) up as an example of why an entire tournament should be structured is laughable. What about the majority of lop-sided games that benefitted nobody?

The World Cup should be the showpiece for the game - the best of the best playing each other. With all due respect to Canada, Holland, etc, they do not fit this description.

As it is now, the World Cup tournament is far too drawn out - it must be tightened up to keep the fans and the players interested.

I would have the makeup of the ten teams involved decided by referring to the ODI rankings, or use a qualifying process (maybe have the top 6 ranked teams autmatically qualify and everyone else has to earn one of the remaing four spots?).

Posted by ArifurKhadem on (April 6, 2011, 1:48 GMT)

I think ICC should seriously re-consider including England and West Indies in the next World Cup unless they show some improvements. If the associates like Ireland and Netherlands get the opportunities as much as those full test playing nations, soon one of those associates will clinch the World Cup title. It will be the ICC's dumbest decision to curtail the number of teams when FIFA is thinking about welcoming more participants to their World Cup. In order for ICC to complete the competition within a month like FIFA World Cup, they need to organise two to three games a day before the knock out starts. As cricket is a lengthier version of any game, it is not unusual to see it run a bit longer. So cricket can not always be compared with football or hockey in terms of timing issue unless it's a T20 version. -Arif Khadem, Sydney

Posted by D.V.C. on (April 6, 2011, 1:35 GMT)

While I agree with the author that the exclusion of the Associates with no opportunity to qualify is unsporting and tragic I cannot agree that this is the best WC of all time. I found the early match-ups between the big teams to be lacking in intensity and intrigue and the knockouts to be sudden. It's really weird to have all those games to find the best 8 teams and then go to sudden death with all of them. It is a poor format, too far to the opposite extreme of the last one. Two groups of 5 with semi-finals is a better balance, but so is 2 groups of 6 with semis, or any number of other possible formats.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 0:53 GMT)

cutting the world cup down to 10 teams is a bit harsh but the fact still remains that by & large these exciting matches btwn minnows & the main teams r once in a blue moon events. yes Ireland & Netherlands gave England a run 4 there money but that was against England duh? & a side worn out after the Ashes & a drawn out ODI series away from home @ that. They never stood a chance against the West Indies & India. heck West Indies even bowled out Bangladesh for under 60 runs everybody talking about about swapping West Indies place for Ireland or Netherlands is over reacting because when the rubber meets the road no matter how 'spirited' they are they still are not as good a team & they don't have 1/4 of the legacy that West Indies has. What we should try & get the ICC to do is to increase the number to 12 teams

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 0:26 GMT)

i agree with the comment that theis was the best world cup ever. As a matter of fact I said the same thing here on cricinfo. It was really really nice, it left me with a pleasant feeeling and I am West Indian.

The 2007 world cup in the west indies was a bad example of the hegemonic forces that still promote the notion that there is big gap between the impoverished first world and the barbarous other

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 0:23 GMT)

Hang on. You are saying the 2007 WC was a disaster because India and Pakistan got knocked out by the associates... yet now its a disaster because the associates will no longer be able to knock out the full members like India and Pakistan? Or are they only meant to be there to lose. God forbid they knock India out. Make your mind up. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Personally i much prefered the super 8's stage and finals system compared to this WC's straight knock out format. More good games against the best sides, and your qualifying games actually meant something because points from your group stage carried over into the super 8's. This world cups qualifying games dragged out far too long.

Sure the locals turned up to this world cup more than 2007, but no tourists did. You were lucky to spot more than 10 people at every game that were not from the sub-continent.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 0:12 GMT)

well it is quite simple. add ireland as an odi nation instead of leaving them as an associate. As an ODI nation they would be elligible to play the world cup.

They probably aren't quite ready for tests but putting them up a level above associate nation so that they can play more 50 over and t20 cricket against the test nations could help them achieve the goal of test nation.

Posted by Meety on (April 5, 2011, 23:36 GMT)

@Anand Kannan - I do get your point, BUT, Ireland wasn't bowled out for LESS then 100 TWICE, they were competitive in EVERY match they played. Thru a bit of inexperience they lost out in a couple of crucial stages against India, Banga, & the Windies - all matches they had genuine chances of winning. It could be argued that they were the BEST fielding side in the entire CUP. It also could be argued that they performed to a more consistantly higher level thru out the Cup then the Windies, Zim & Banga - who are confirmed players in the next W/Cup because of Test Membership! If Zim played Ireland 10 matches in a row - Ireland would win 7-3, Ireland v Bangas - 5all. They deserve to have a CHANCE to be in the 2015 W/Cup!

Posted by maddy20 on (April 5, 2011, 23:32 GMT)

@Anand Kannan If you are not aware FIFA is played by 32 nations and some of the teams are just pathetic(like North Korea which got thumped 11-0 /7-0). Does that mean they don't deserve to play? The point is that if you wish to spread the sport to more countries and give them a chance to improve. Teams like Ireland, Afghanistan deserve such a chance.

Posted by FredJ000 on (April 5, 2011, 23:16 GMT)

As for Test Cricket - Why can't they leave it how it is? It's the best! All this nonsense about a test league that takes 4 years! WHAT!?

Imagine it now. It's the third day of a match which is headed for a draw that means Bangladesh will have to beat West Indies in Barbados in a year's time to stop Zimbabwe from being relegated. Every ball for 4 years is crucial! If India mess it up and can't win after a year then bang goes 3 years of their fans caring. What a joke! We'd have to listen to Sky try and hype it up constantly and it goes on for 4 years!

I am so exited about the upcoming Test matches in England this summer and that's because they are exiting in themselves. There is a wider point to each match because it forms part of a series, and these matches have an impact on the rankings. Real fans care about the actual cricket being played and for the occaision itself. This is the magic of Test cricket. Forcing it into an ugly arduous tournament will kill that too! I'm angry

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 23:13 GMT)

while i think the reduction to 10 teams is bit short sighted by crickets eletes, it is understandable that a reduction is necesary. Besides Ireland and the Netherlands no other team outside of the test arena was even competitive, that is not a good thing from cricket. I would suggest 12 teams with an eye to expand as the test playing nations expand, While forcing all teams including the top test playing teams to qualify. Such an idea would successfully reduce the length of the tournament, while still providing developing nations with much needed exposure to the top level of cricket. In saying all that as well a clear path must be carved out for test status which includes being result driven for new teams, that dosn't mean that they should win all their games, but they should be competitive in most and win occationally. Ask your self, isn't that how most teams started in the last 50 years. New Zealand sucked for 20 years, Sri Lanka for 10, these guys were the whipping boys, now look.

Posted by FredJ000 on (April 5, 2011, 23:02 GMT)

Did anybody think that Greece would win Euro 2004? No! I think the World Cup isn't really a world cup anymore if you always have the same 10 teams in it. The ICC have a job to make cricket accessable to the widest audience possible. After this highly entertaining tournament the World Cup is still as they described it "The Cup That Counts" but as of this news opinions will change. All of a sudden even the T20 world cup looks like it actually means more. Just when the ODI game had hit back at those laughable criticisms that the game was dead the very organisation that should keep it going has killed it dead. Trim the number of teams to 12 and let the rankings or some small ODI qualifying series' decide the 12. whole Dirk Nannes, Eoin Morgan. Put these two players back in their original teams and group B might have been even MORE exiting! The IPL is awful but necessary for such a large audience in India. I can put up with it if it means the real game can be supported financially.

Posted by Kalan9211 on (April 5, 2011, 22:44 GMT)

@Anand I agree no one watched assicates matches, people are just blaming icc great deciion without any reason. I dont think 2011 was best ever WC, 1992 and 1999 was much better. If all indian population watched 2011 WC it doesn;t mean it was great contest. all knock out matches were one sided and schedule was also not good. people like grounds like Australia where ther is no ticket problem. also no dew problem in Australia

Posted by xylo on (April 5, 2011, 22:34 GMT)

To me (a cricket fan first, and India fan next), this World Cup was mostly an India Cup - a tournament in which all controllable things were tailored to make India win. Not to undermine the players' caliber, but rules such as matches between India and SL to be played in India seemed mostly set up for advertising dollars alone. I have watched World Cups from 1992 and in my memory, the best World Cup was the 2003 edition - not too much of commercialism, quality matches, crowds turning up for neutral games.

Posted by MartinAmber on (April 5, 2011, 21:07 GMT)

Superb article. Quite poignant really, as thanks to the ICC it's the last World Cup I'll watch. I don't bother with the Champions Trophy, and certainly won't make an effort to watch a biennial version. I've waited all these years for a World Test Championship, yet now I fully expect the ICC to ruin that before it gets off the ground. Thank goodness there's a couple of cracking Test series to look forward to in England this summer.

Posted by statmatt on (April 5, 2011, 20:36 GMT)

I'm really angry about this decision from the ICC. Can a groundswell of opinion force them to U-turn? Especially I feel for Afghanistan, after their dream run through the WCL to almost reach they World Cup, they are now probably the second best associate team behind Ireland.

Posted by TamilIndian on (April 5, 2011, 20:21 GMT)

Why didnt they think of having a qualifying round of matches for the last two spots - 8 are based on ranking (which takes care of all the main/ financially main teams) and the last two will need to be filled in with the help of the qualifiers. What problem does it pose? - Zim are in and Ire are not - simply doesnt make sense!!

Posted by GullyBully on (April 5, 2011, 19:53 GMT)

ICC should seriously consider swapping out the spiritless West Indies with Ireland!

Posted by Nampally on (April 5, 2011, 19:21 GMT)

You are absolutely correct in calling this the best WC of all times.This WC was the first attempt to be inclusive of Associate teams. As a consequence it had a much wider participation of more nations than previous WC. Following a dismal Carribean WC in 2007 made this event even greater. The 2007 WC must have been the worst. It had very poor attendance & enthusiasm of the locals.Above all it also involved the death of the Pakistan team Manager. 2011 WC had the most enthusiastic response from the crowds in India, SL & B/Desh. The weather only interuppted 2 games. Security was excellent with no incidents. TV coverage was great which enabled the viewers from SA, Australia,North America & Europe to participate fully.To cap it all the semi finals and finals were excellent and thrilling to the last ball.With the first home team winning the WC also brought in the crowning glory to the tournament. However ICC has killed the euphoria of WC by eliminating Associates for 2015 WC- no longer a WC!

Posted by GullyBully on (April 5, 2011, 19:09 GMT)

I don't know which self-loving "Pundit" is celebrating the 1992 world cup as the best among all. The moronic ACB-supported rain rule that eliminated South Africa from that tournament is enough of a blackmark on that edition of the World Cup. To me, it's as absurd as Trevor Chappel's Greg-Chappell-authorized underarm delivery.

Posted by sandyyy on (April 5, 2011, 18:48 GMT)

why dont they play just 8 teams and start the world cup from quarterfinals. You know which teams would come to the quarterfinal.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 18:41 GMT)

I`m a Sri Lankan Living in Germany for a very long time.I miss cricket like hell here in Germany,and thanks to Internet Now I`m able to watch cricket . Whart my opinion about minnows is a very positive one from the out come of the recently concluded CWC. I can remember very well how we Sri Lankans were fighting against all odds to achieve test status for a long time before we finaly made it.This chance should be given to other nations as well who are aspiring to be good cricket playing nations just as wee did before. For that the ICC should give the opportunity to these aspiring nations and open the door for a lot of more INTERNATIONAL LEVEL EXPOSURE to these small in exposure but great in determination to achieve the high standards of cricketing.The only possible way to achieve this is by giving them more and more international fixtures and not by curbing them in participation in such events.

Posted by nlight on (April 5, 2011, 18:23 GMT)

I agree with Maruthu : the fairest way to proceed would be for the associates + zim & bd to compete for the last 2 places. How is cricket going to spread to more countries if we continue with such a rigid structure ?

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 18:21 GMT)

ALL THOSE WHO ARE SO JUDGMENTAL ABOUT ICC'S DECISION to have only top 10 teams for the WC 2015. I have questions for you guys... How many of you saw all matches that IRELAND played? Did you see 50 overs of their bowling and batting? Apart from the Kevin O'Brien 100, may be a Porterfield 50.. beating the unpredictable and ridiculous England team who are so confused about what their ability is.. what else did they achieve? everyone expected them to do bad but they didn't do bad.. doesn't mean they did GOOD.. does it? our bar was so low for these minnows that anything good from them was appreciated.. does it mean they can take on this World where world class players have been playing for decades at the highest level?? Don't let your heart think guys.. let your brains do that.. Most matches played by minnows were downright BORING.. Zim had some phenomenal players like Flower brothers who were world class.. Heath Streak, Campbell, Johnson etc.. They have a history and are not minnows..

Posted by Aniruddha_K on (April 5, 2011, 18:21 GMT)

It is a disgraceful decision as Porterfield rightly commented... And this, after a world cup which saw the so-called minnows like Ireland,Bangladesh and to a good extent Netherlands stretch the top teams and at times beat them with brilliant performances. This decision must have been made long back....But then what was the point in announcing it 2 days after the finals? The lack of concern for the game of cricket, which is played only by a handful of countries as it is, is blatant and this just puts another question mark on ICC's 'steps' to spread the game of cricket... The world cup is the only really big tournament where the Associates get a chance to fight the best teams in the world over a period of 4-5 weeks and now they've been robbed of that opportunity... Certainly, 12 teams if not 14 should have been the way to go...

Posted by krs_spidey on (April 5, 2011, 18:03 GMT)

decision to set no. of teams to 10 in 2015 wc is gud but the criteria of selecting those 10 teams is absolutely rubbish and stupid. wc shud have top 10 teams competing and if there is an associate nation in top 10 ODI teams then it shud replace a full member, like in this case ireland is definetely many notches above zimbabwe and equal to bangladesh in causing upsets and who knows in couple of years time, they r giving west indies and new zealand (no. 7 and 8 teams) also a tough time in international cricket, with ireland and bangladesh among 10 nations in wc 2015, there will be quite some upsets in league stage, these 2 might not qualify for semis coz for that they will have to win 5 6 matches in league stage (which seems highly unlikely) but they will ruin party for some other contenders for semis, that will make wc2015 more closely contested and thus gud for tournament. PLEASE ICC THINK ABOUT IT. HAVE TOP 10 ODI TEAMS IN WC2015 THAN HAVING ALL FULL MEMBER NATIONS

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 17:58 GMT)

we already have 169 members............... plz join...............!/home.php?sk=group_208211269206279

Posted by cricket_slcsupport on (April 5, 2011, 17:48 GMT)

This is considered to be the best world cup because India won it ! If the result was otherwise this would have got the same feedback as 2007. Cricket is ruled by India, this format was considerd because last world cup India went out in the first round. I believe the 1992 format was the best.

Posted by pestonji on (April 5, 2011, 17:32 GMT)

This WC further intensfies the India-centricsm of cricket. Probably the main reason for its success is that India still cares about cricket. The sport is becoming irrelevant in countries like the West Indies and is being played in increasingly politically unstable countries like Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Hardly an encoiuraging scenario. I think the ICC needs to take a global snapshot of the game stature and see how its appeal can be broadened.

Posted by frenchbutcricketer on (April 5, 2011, 17:18 GMT)

What can we expect from the ICC, we French trying to develop the sport when Ireland and the Netherlands are so openly despised?

The wider the base of the pyramid the higher the top

Posted by KingOwl on (April 5, 2011, 17:09 GMT)

If the WC is limited to 10, then let Bangladesh and Zim fight it out with the Associates for the last two spots.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 17:03 GMT)

Do join hands to fight against this gross injustice meted out to Associates. Thanks Sudip for taking the initiative.

Posted by Sportsscientist on (April 5, 2011, 16:50 GMT)

what kind of organisation is the ICC?? they are pathetic. the cannot administer the game properly. they cannot get the balance right between test cricket T20 and ODI. they have failed to organise a proper test championships. and they do not know how to make the game grow and add new members. I know I could do a better job than them, with the budget they got also. BUNCH OF JOKERS!!!!!

Posted by Copernicus on (April 5, 2011, 16:39 GMT)

So enraged I can barely type - woeful governance from the despicably corrupt ICC - haven't even bothered trying to justify it because nothing can justify it - disgusting betrayal of the sport they should be promoting - decisions recently go beyond simple incompetance or even greed - I'm genuinely suspicious that they are making a concerted effort to PREVENT the expansion of cricket - if Ireland, Afganistan or Nepal (three brightest spots for cricket in the world now) are to get anywhere it will be despite the ICC's best efforts. I've cooled off, slightly, and have noticed an overwhelming majority of fans are just as disgusted as I am, so this decision is not in the interests of anybody at all! The breathtakingly cynical timing reeks of corruption (is it paranoid to see the ICC as aiming to prevent growth?) And, even from a financial perspective it makes no sense, as increasing the number of strong cricketing nations will increase the amount of cash sloshing into their coffers!

Posted by NP_NY on (April 5, 2011, 16:35 GMT)

@Ashik Imran: There are big difference between soccer and cricket world cups. In soccer, the league tournaments are much more popular and the countries don't get to play each other often like it happens in cricket. So the FIFA rankings are not as clear-cut as the ICC cricket rankings. That's why they have to play a qualifying tournament involving all countries. There is no need for this in cricket as the countries play each other often and the ICC rankings are current. Besides it is easier to organize a qualifying tournament for soccer because the game lasts less than two hours. Can you imagine a cricket qualification tournament involving 30 countries???

Posted by cric_follower on (April 5, 2011, 16:23 GMT)

2011 was NOT the best world cup format. The next one will be with 10 teams and where everybody plays each other. Ireland richly deserve a chance to qualify. What was wrong with leaving one spot to qualification?

Posted by Vibrant_Patel on (April 5, 2011, 16:19 GMT)

Channel 9 had done this b4 too.... in 1992. Again, its not the decision made by ICC, its the pressure from broadcaster (i guess Channel 9 again) that made Aus & NZ cricket boards to press for only 10 teams... so, they can get more money in ads. during WC 2015..!!! Other Cricket boards should keep pressing for 2 more teams...!!! Just allow 8 top teams in WC 2015 & choose other 4 teams by playing WC qualifier...!!!

Posted by oze13 on (April 5, 2011, 16:08 GMT)

A disgraceful decision. What muppets are running the game? Shocking, awful, tragic, moronic, what more can you say?

Posted by NP_NY on (April 5, 2011, 16:07 GMT)

@Charindra: Cricket like any other sport is an entertainmemt and all cricketers are entertainers. It just so happens that over 50% of the sport's fans are Indians. This is unlike any other sport in the world and it is only natural that this affects the dynamics of cricket to a certain extent. While fans like you are quick to criticize India for being "bullies" (for reasons I don't fully understand), you don't want to accept the role India is playing right now in keeping the game alive. Whether one likes the IPL or not, such a league won't be as successful in any other country. And I think IPL is very important to lure the young sportsmen and fans around the world towards cricket. Also, test cricket would be dead and buried by now (except for the Ashes maybe) if Indians weren't so crazy about cricket. So, I am sorry if India's surge and success in cricket makes non-Indian fans unhappy, but that's just the way it is.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 16:02 GMT)

Well, isn't it time to form an alternative governing body of world cricket ? who ill think of cricket and not of money.................

and shouldn't there be a qualifying round where each and every team will have to play..... I am sure ICC and the cricket fans of top ranked countries will be shocked ... hahhahahha....... but if you really want a world cup u should ensure that each and every team will have to play a qualifying round....... i think ICC will soon give a decision where the lower ranked teams will have to play against the associate teams and the so called champion teams will play directly...... what a joke............actually ICC has never been a good governing body of world cricket........... if the same decision would have been taken by FIFA, AUSTRALIA might have never competed in FIFA world cup........ see, Brazil , Argentina, Germany never say that they have to be the automatic choices..... even England never says in football.... but in cricket everything is funny ..

Posted by ragomsk on (April 5, 2011, 15:59 GMT)

By reducing the next World Cup to only 10 teams and not even the top 10 as per current rankings the ICC has once again shown that it is a commercial driven organisation bent on making money and not one that cares for the development of the game. The lack of intent to develop the game is not new the ICC even threatens to go to court against some television news channel for not acknowledging proprietary rights and it does not even fund the usage of all the systems that are in existence to aid the umpires in the UDRS (read no HOTSPOT) there by rendering the whole UDRS concept ineffectual as many decisions were not reviewed effectively because having the HOTSPOT would incur more expense. What a waste of manpower!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 15:50 GMT)

I understand we want to spread cricket by giving opportunities to many other associate countries by letting them participate in ICC events. But looking from the 2011 world cup format, I think almost 50% of the matches in the first round which was played for more than 2/3rd of time (that was a month!) were not so interesting barring very few matches (Eng vs. Ire was one of them). And it was the last week of knock-out round which completely got the interest in the tournament. So, I like the idea of keeping the participation down to 10 teams for 2015 tournament which I still believe gives chance for the last 2 to 3 teams to challenge the top teams. Also I agree with @AncientAstronaut and @LillianThomson where last 4 spots could be chosen from a qualifier round instead of giving all test playing nations an automatic entry where all associate teams can get a chance to play for the world cup.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 15:45 GMT)

We already have 120 people subscribing to the group in facebook for Ireland support in 2015.

Please join to this thread , we should all be proactive and make enough noise about this. A million facebook messages is the target!

Please subscribe to the facebook page and voice your opinion to include Ireland in WC 2015.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 15:41 GMT)

I totally agree with Mr. Andrew Miller.............. if 10 teams world cup is ok, then each and every team should come through a qualifying round.. it is unfair to say some countries to play qualifying rounds and some so called high ranked teams play directly !!! is this a joke ???even INDIA or AUSTRALIA should pass the qualifying round............ if not....... all countries except these 10 should ban ICC and grow another cricket world , where cricket will win over money............ hope FIFA will never think alike ICC ......... Even Argentina , Brazil have to play the qualifying rounds.. if they thought like the ICC , Australia could never compete in the world cup football.............we r the same human being.. but the game is different........ and we r thinkin different ??? it is absolute stupidity..............

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 15:38 GMT)

Cricket as a sport will be dead by 2015, never mind 2019 thanks to decisions like this. 20 over cricket does NOTHING to promote the game, I haven't watched a single ball of it for a year now. Maybe the ICC should also look in their own backyard too, of those 10 whose backs are being scratched because they are scratching their own, New Zealand and the West Indies add virtually nothing these days, interest in the game here in Australia is waning because of inept decisions from administration, Pakistan for all their efforts on the field have massive off field issues still, Zimbabwe are a political problem, I could go on. Heaven help the game then WHEN (not if) the Indian cash cow inevitably runs dry.

Posted by mikeindex on (April 5, 2011, 15:15 GMT)

Who needs a World Cup? Why not have a chess/boxing-style World Championship instead, adapted for multi-team purposes and wiith an even more Thatcherite edge, which will surely meet with ICC and indeed IPL approval?

Every four years an auction is held at which each of the cricket-playing countries puts in their bet for World Cup participation. The two highest bidders then play each other in the World Cup Final, all others being disqualified. The final is played for the combined purse of the two successful bidders, 90% going to the winner and 10% (or 25% of their initial stake, whichever is the higher) to the loser, less a grant of 50p to each of the Associate Member budgets.


Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 15:03 GMT)

The possibility of upsets and the showcasing of formerly unknown talents (Kevin O'Brien for example) will be drastically reduced. This seems like institutionalised match-fixing (or outcome-fixing) to me.

The highest One Day International batting average is boasted by Ryan ten Doeschate of the Netherlands and this decision means that the 2011 World Cup will be the last we'll have seen of him. Kevin O'Brien scored the fastest World Cup century in history and he is due to disappear as well. It is fair to say that Cricket's omnipresence, reputation and egalitarianism are somewhat ill-omened now. The hope that these associate nations would one day excel further and become serious competitors (not to imply that they are not already) has been buried. International Cricket may just have endured its darkest day.

This doctor prescribes protest…

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 15:02 GMT)

I don't know why is everyone so worked over on Associates not getting a place in WC in 2015! All those who claim to be fighting for the development of the game should see to that the associates get bilateral series with the top nations between the 2 world cups. Playing in a WC after 4 years will more often than not result in failures like that of Zim, Kenya, Canada and Netherlands and only increase the number of useless matches. Though the WC in 2015 should feature top 10 ranked teams which will give teams like Ireland to make the cup by finishing ahead of teams like Zim.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 15:02 GMT)

Finally an article, that isn't biased against India. And yes, ICC could have allowed 12 if not 14. It is unfair that Ireland will not play. I am afraid, it might spiral down as another Kenya..

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 14:58 GMT)

Obviously money is the major concern, considering the losses in 2007 due to strong performances from Ireland and Bangladesh. Unfortunately for the ICC, Cricket is a sport. It may be an investment, but first and foremost it is a sport. If associate nations happen to find themselves in the semi-finals (as Kenya did in 2003), then that's just the way it is. The public trusts the ICC to provide entertainment and equal opportunities for all nations to produce cricketing heroes. Denying associate nations the opportunity to face off against the world's best is unethical and discriminatory.

Cricket in Ireland, Kenya, Holland, etc, will wither and die because the ICC wishes to increase revenue. This decision will leave upcoming cricketers with nothing to aspire to and will de-motivate not only them, but those currently representing their countries at what was formerly an international level (in standard). The 2015 World Cup has been robbed of half of the excitement which world events create.

Posted by NP_NY on (April 5, 2011, 14:51 GMT)

We still haven't heard what the rationale behind this decision is! If we start an online petition to the ICC to make 2015 a 12 team format, I bet we can get atleast 10 million people to sign it within the next few months!

Posted by jsrajesh on (April 5, 2011, 14:50 GMT)

If its a 10 team event with all play all format it surely will be exciting... But i feel some of the associate nations have proved their worth and deserve a chance to feature in the event... If its such a trouble extending it to a 12 team format the ICC should atleast provide a fair chance to the associate nations to qualify and be a part of those 10 teams.. let the top 8 teams automatically qualify for the 2015 world cup. The remaining 2 full nations + the associates must have some sort of qualifying round to see who can feature in the World Cup. Any team can only improve if they have constant exposure to the highest level of cricket and how can the ICC expect associate nations to improve if they cant play good teams in front of filled stadiums..

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

What is the real concern of the ICC? Long duration of the tournament or the danger of one of the Goliaths being eliminated from the knockout stage? The current move runs counter to the avowed objective of popularising cricket in the rest of the world. Surely a formula can be worked out(e.g.) the minnows may be required to play a qualifying round.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 14:42 GMT)

Surely this matter is the cynosure of all eyes in the cricketing world. William Porterfield has already denounced the decision and rightly so.

"The best team in the tournament emerged with the spoils, and while everyone loves an upset now and again, it's right that class should prevail in the end."

This is an interesting statement which may have been the intention of the ICC's decision. Axing the lesser cricketing nations eliminates the 'upset factor' and secures greater profits (ensuring that top-class teams are't eliminated unexpectedly early). The desire for greater profits is supposedly justifies the axing of associate nations from the upcoming World Cup. There are several problems with such an ideology and the most prominent is that it takes class to cause and upset. Moreover, if those of 'class' were unable to prevail, then surely their alleged class would be questionable. If a test-playing nation fails, the fault is theirs; full credit should be afforded to the causer.

Posted by AnkTheHunk on (April 5, 2011, 14:19 GMT)

A rubbish call, Ireland least of all deserved it & with that Netherlands played really well with Ryan Ten Doeschates scoring 2 centuries. The only team that didnt stand to perform was Kenya, whom reached the Semi Final 2 world cup's ago! I don't understand what the ICC is thinking Cricket is to be promoted worldwide not shut down!!! After a great win for cricket on Monday, this is a very sad day for Cricket Indeed as only Cricket is the main loser!!

Posted by rahuja on (April 5, 2011, 14:12 GMT)

Others have said it... just reiterating to add to the count of disgusted folks with ICC's decision... something tells me you can't expect more than this from Mr. Pawar.. Still it's ridiculous to see that this group didn't see the value in the drama of 3 knockout stage matches for the winner... what we need is groups of 6+6 and then Qrtrs/Semi/Final...

Posted by cake_time on (April 5, 2011, 14:12 GMT)

Bad decision, ICC - allow qualifying for cwc2015!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 14:08 GMT)

Everytime your fav. team wins the WC, You´ll call that specific WC, the best ever. Thats human (Fans) nature. I´d personally say that 1999 World Cup was far better than this one, because of its intensity. 1992 WC had a better format, where every team played against each other.

Posted by Gizza on (April 5, 2011, 14:07 GMT)

Haha, what a suprise and what a joke! The strongest critics of the World Cup are complaining that the India and Sri Lanka did too well and the pitches were bad. The pitches weren't even that flat. Oh and they were not as slow and spinning as the 60's uncovered English pitches nor the old-style SCG pitch. You know, maybe Australia, England and South Africa struggled because...they were so bad? South Africa will choke even if the quarter-final is to be held in Perth or Newlands. England are poor in ODI's (even their Test side is overrated, India's away tour will prove this) and Australia have obviously fallen from their peak, especially in key areas such as spin bowling and accurate fast bowling. Don't blame India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka's success on your team's inadequacies. Unbelievably sour grapes! Oh and the tournament's length should be reduced yes, but if you can go through 6 months of a first-class season (or most sports leagues in the world) 6 weeks should fly quickly and it has

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 14:04 GMT)

Imagine this:

-- a billion hearts beating faster than usual, for most part of April 2nd, 2011... skipping a beat on every sharp turn the game makes

-- a billion wishes coming true at the same instant with one stroke of brutal power that saw a cricket ball fly into 40,000 delirious spectators

-- a billion exhilarated shouts of joy from homes, offices, fields, streets, shops, clubs, bars, cars... if collected in a sound bomb, the noise could shatter windows of 100s of buildings

Read more -

Regards, Tanmoy

Posted by NALINWIJ on (April 5, 2011, 14:03 GMT)

This was a great world cup and India stamped their greatness by beating Australia,Pakistan and Sri lanka in succession and in comparison 1983 world cup win was a fluke. I disagree with ICC to have a 10 team tournament.I will reiterate what I think the WC format by agreeing comments @GIZZA and expanding. There should be 2 groups of 6. with the best 2 associates with one in each group. This gives 5 rounds with 6 matches each. ONLY 2 matches each round involves associates. Day/Night matches in AUS/NZ will appear at a reasonable time in subcontinent and in the morning in UK/SA.LET each round be played over 4 days and the full members only matches as Day/Night matches[prime time] and matches involving one associate during the day.IF tournament starts on Friday then preliminary rounds would be over on a wednesday. Top teams going direct to semifinals while the qualifying finals between A2v.b3 and B2vA3 played on weekend winners playing semis with A1,B1 midweek and final on sunday,TOTAL=31d.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 13:56 GMT)

1992 and 1996 world cups were way better. The cricket fever was unimaginable. The number of competitive teams was much higher. Though no denying that this WC was also very entertaining.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (April 5, 2011, 13:54 GMT)

Before the commencement of the WC 2015 there must be a round robin tournament held involving Banglad, Zim, Ireland, Netherland, Kenya and may be Afghan to select 2 countries for the WC. Ireland can potentially displace Zim or Banglad. Banglad has still not got the 'hang' of cicket; it will take test win outside Banglad; it is not easy.

Posted by mallamange on (April 5, 2011, 13:47 GMT)

Absolutely ridiculous decision and very shortsighted. We want more and more countries playing cricket... It has a potential to grow internationally . Besides that , this is not fair at all, teams like Ireland , Canada, Scotland look fwd to the WC to show their skills. Besides, I don't care what team you support, if you are a true cricket lover, the mini David Vs Goliath tussles are awesome to watch, and you find yourself rooting for the little guy.. This decision has to be receversed!! Btw I am one of the 1.2 Bn living in the US now.

Posted by FredJ000 on (April 5, 2011, 13:32 GMT)

I can't understand why they have done this. For me the decision was obvious. Cut the tournament to 12 teams. 10 full members plus 2 associate teams (probably Ireland and Afghanistan/Netherlands/Canada qualifying)

With exactly the same format but with groups of 6 not 7 teams the tournament would be 12 games shorter but still giving the weaker teams exposure and the chance to improve. By doubling up 2 or 3 more of the games (one in the morning, one later) like they did on some days in India/Sri Lanka, the whole thing would fit neatly into a month. Zimbabwe v Canada might well still happen but so what! The only problem with these games is if there are 5 or 6 of them in a tournament rather than 1 or 2.

Can anybody think of anything wrong with that format? Surely it solves every problem. Any criticisms would be appreciated, a job with the ICC would be better...

Posted by andrew.henshaw on (April 5, 2011, 13:15 GMT)

@Gizza: agreed - perfect tournament format. 12 teams, 2 groups, top 3 play knock outs. Simple.

Posted by mspalash on (April 5, 2011, 13:12 GMT)

ICC is going to make the World Cup a farce. It would be hard to swallow the fact that after played a great World Cup Ireland is barred to playing the 2015 World Cup. I also agreed with Miller that 10 teams single league format will help ICC. There will be 48 matches played in 2015. In this year it was 49. What a great reduction of matches! I urge ICC to bring back the minnows in World Cup, otherwise all the attempt to spread the cricket world wide is halted and failed miserably. I wish good sense will be prevailed and ICC revised it's decision.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 13:06 GMT)

this is not the best world cupof all time the best was 1999 coz the fierce competetion we had in that tournament was not present in this one so i disagree with the author here :D

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 13:04 GMT)

@ GIZZA hey hey wait a minute am i rite when i read that pak will b happy so that they can have afghanis in the side hahahaha wat a joke rofl cant stop laughing man

come on we are the semi finalists and the toppers of group stages so let me make you clear if u already dnt know that we are the most blessed country by nature ads far as the talent is concerned, come on in the presence of so much resources where the guys like yousaf and malik are struggling to make the team and shoaib had to b sit out coz of competetion how can u say that we need afghanis ???? hahahah its funny man

Posted by AncientAstronaut on (April 5, 2011, 13:00 GMT)

Jee, is the 2015 format so bad? I love the format, and so I don't understand why everyone's all over it. I think that it's the first time the ICC got it right in a long time. The 2011 format was awful with plenty of dead games in the first half. The tournament was successful only because the teams, especially those in group B, played well. But I also hate the fact that teams like Ireland have been blatantly ignored. The 10 test playing shouldn't be automatic selections; only the top 6 should be. There should be qualifiers for the final 4 spots to give teams like Ireland and Afghanistan a chance to play the world cup.

Posted by WhatMustTheICCThink on (April 5, 2011, 12:54 GMT)

A sickening decision by the ICC, borne out of greed for maximum TV rights for the India, the ECB and Cricket Australia, implemented by politicking Zimbabwe, offering them a return to Test cricket in return for supporting this move. I never thought I could be turned off cricket but this decision has me feeling violently sick. I loved this World Cup. I shan't be watching another.

Posted by LillianThomson on (April 5, 2011, 12:47 GMT)

I cannot believe this article.

The first month of the tournament was absurd: four weeks of cricket to eliminate Kenya, Canada, Holland, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh!

Life is too short for this sort of nonsense.

Make the World Cup two groups of five teams, with only the top two in each group getting to the semi-finals. And limit automatic qualification to the 6 top ranked one-day sides, with the rest joining the associates in qualification for the last four places.

That would currently mean that Australia, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, England and Pakistan get automatic entry, while West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have to enter a qualification tournament against Ireland, Holland, Kenya et al for the last four places.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 12:42 GMT)

Andrew Miller - biggest joke of a 'journalist' related to the sport, and this 'article' is a case in point. Utterly ho-hum tournament that dragged it feet far too long. And the associate nations are a joke too that added nothing to the tournament (unless they played England).

Still, you wouldn't expect anything resembling competence from this hack.

Posted by Kaze on (April 5, 2011, 12:35 GMT)

I can't agree with this at all. The 1996 World Cup was the best, this 2011 one was very boring. The 1996 Cup had close games and a lot of drama but most of all it had loads of quality players. This 2011 one was lacking quality. Most of the close games in this Cup were brought on by inferior Cricket rather than close cricket brought on by closely matched high quality teams. The future Cups will not be any better if the lack of quality players persists.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 12:24 GMT)

Please subscribe to the facebook page and voice your opinion to include Ireland in WC 2015.

Posted by 5wombats on (April 5, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

This is an outrage to World Cricket. The "minnows" gave a great account of themselves - as England can testify. ALL the World needs to be represented at the World Cup.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 11:55 GMT)

As an Irish cricket fan, I am hugely upset by the ludicrous decision of the ICC to stitch up the "World Cup" for 2015. But where are the voices of the chosen few? Where are the protests from the people who matter in England, India, or indeed any right thinking Cricketing powerhouse nation? Wil England stay silent on what is an obvious injustice because it gives them a greater chance to strip Ireland of it's stars? Will the rest stay silent because it is not in their interest to promote competition? Ireland as an emerging cricket nation has a small voice. Others can shout louder. Will we ever hear from them?

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 11:53 GMT)

Billy Bud Sims ......If that was really the best World Cup, then the tournament is a joke! I think it's merely proven that sub-continent conditions favour their own nations so much that other teams have almost no chance of suceeding (look at the semi-final line-ups if you don't believe me).....

Then why r u guys sending Australia to Bangladesh... Looks like you are going to give the same reason after losing to Bangladesh....

Posted by ashutosh163 on (April 5, 2011, 11:52 GMT)

I don't mind a 10-team format but the 10 teams that play should be the best teams at that point in time. This might mean automatic qualification for the top 6 or 8 teams and a small qualification tournament involving the remaining Full member nations and Associates fighting it out for the remaining 4 or 2 places. This would ensure that the Associate nations get a fair chance. In that case if Ireland are still a good side at that point in time (which I am sure they will be), they will need to beat a Full member nation like Zim or Bang or any other lower-ranked team for that matter. What this will also ensure is that only the best teams play in the tournament.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 11:45 GMT)

Best world cup ever! oh dear I hope not even though England tried their best almost single handily to make it so, the tournament goes on far too long as it could easily be all done in just over three weeks but is dragged out to make as much money as possible!

Posted by Gilys_Heroes on (April 5, 2011, 11:42 GMT)

Great article Andrew, certainly reflects my currently sour mood. My favourite matches of the tournament included two irish games actually. Bangladesh v Ireland (Where a wild Bangladesh crowd surged on a pumped up Ashraful to bowl Ireland out and redeem them for last world cup loss) and of course Ireland v England which was the game of the tournament.

The ICC (which is really the BCCI these days) has soldout the game to ensure all the moneymaking teams play alot. As Irish player Gary Wilson put it, its not a world cup anymore, just a 10 team trophy. The Associates are what keep the pool stage interesting, and therefore build the excitement for the big knockout matches.

I could care less now about the World Cup. As an Australian, i will not be buying tickets in 2015 (except maybe the final if i can afford it:) )

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 11:40 GMT)

Thank you Andrew. You article perfectly expresses the disgusting greed and cynicism behind this decision. But don't forget also the threat posed by Afghanistan. If they had been allowed to progress at their current rate they might even have been the team to knock India out of the next world cup. That might have been one of the most extraordinary and wonderful stories in the history of sport - and would have knocked the gravy train right off the rails again.

Posted by Charindra on (April 5, 2011, 11:40 GMT)

This might have been the most "celebratory" World Cup in history, but India's win takes some of the shine off it. It was easy to be happy for India in 1983, for a myriad reasons, but mostly because of the unexpected joy it brought to such a large number of people. In 2011, India is the big boss, making sure that the whole world knows it. As far as I'm concerned, the world cup was fantastic, and so was India's part in it. But the win leaves me with the same feeling I had in 2007, when Australia won. The pre-tournament favourites, winning and receiving the boasting rights and the license to continue being bullies. But yes, India did deserve to win, and Dhoni is a fantastic captain. But it would have been the perfect WC if South Africa, Pakistan or even SL won. It would have been easy to be happy for them.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 11:39 GMT)

The decision by the ICC is both baffling and unbelievably stupid. If you are going to promote cricket to countries other than the current 10 test playing nations then shouldn't you be doing everything to give these associate nations, opportunity and motivation to develop further?

I agree that a change in format after the debacle of 2007 when India and Pakistan were knocked out in the group stages was needed, however if after those changes a recognized test playing team like England manages to get themselves knocked out of the tournament at the group stage, bad luck and make sure you play better next time.

If you keep trying to protect these established nations from going out in straight sets at the hands of associate teams, then you may as well just keep the world cup to 10 teams. Oh wait that's right they've done that for the 2015 WC. Well done ICC you just shot yourselves in the foot.

Posted by JulianDawson on (April 5, 2011, 11:38 GMT)

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Miller's sentiments. How can the ICC claim to be supporting the grassroots of cricket with one hand, and then with the other remove any incentive for associates to play on the greatest stage. We have just had the greatest world cup ever, despite the naysayers, and the vital ingredient that made it so has been removed. About time cricket was run by the MCC cricket committee - in other words by ex-players rather than bureaucrats.

Posted by DeGumhaKe on (April 5, 2011, 11:35 GMT)

I agree with Andrew. The associate teams should be included in the 2015 world cup giving them more exposure to world cricket with top teams and making them more competent. As with this world cup the world has noticed some very competent players playing especially for Ireland , Netherlands, Canada. These good players such as Baidwan, ten Doeschate, Kevin O'Brien, J Mooney, etc will be encouraged and nurtured for the good of the cricket in their respective well as making future world cups more interesting and competitive... I agree some of the teams were not competent as expected , but by not including the associate teams in the next world cup, are we trying to protect the top teams from being beaten ever again by the so called associate teams ?? Hope fully ICC will listen to the fans around the world and revert their decision... Else, this will be one of the darkest days for world cricket and world sport ...

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 11:32 GMT)

We, all the fans around the world, should protest the decision through a complete boycott of all the upcoming ODIs & Tests ... then ICC will start feeling the pain when 90% tickets go unsold ... matches held in almost empty stadiums ... and soon all sponsors will be their ex-gf. so, let the WAR begin ...

Posted by sonofchennai on (April 5, 2011, 11:24 GMT)

why is the ICC so sick??????????? what they achieve by this decision...

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 11:20 GMT)

Finally an article, that isn't biased against India. And yes, ICC could have allowed 12 if not 14. It is unfair that Ireland will not play. I am afraid, it might spiral down as another Kenya..

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 11:02 GMT)

Sign up people, and do your bit for WORLD cricket!!

Posted by cricket2011 on (April 5, 2011, 10:59 GMT)

If India win, is it a best world cup ?

Posted by vivrichards82 on (April 5, 2011, 10:52 GMT)

one of the best world cups of our times!! many close matches..non-stop drama brought the best out of all the great cricketers..too bad its over!!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 10:49 GMT)

This is an incredibly stupid, unfair and unjustified decision. As Andrew has said, everyone likes an upset now and then, and seeing Ireland get up over England was a fantastic moment in the tournament, and something I'm sure many people would like to see more of. But it's not likely to happen now is it? The ICC should stop trying to money spin (Leave that to the IPL) and focus on the spirit of the game.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 10:47 GMT)

I think the 92 WC was better bc of format and Pak displayed the best example of a rocky type fight in cricket. This was the worst WC..The team that wins 3 matches in a row wins the trophy. Doesnt matter what happens in the earlier stages. Plus india got to play all its matches at home..

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 10:46 GMT)

ICC are a bunch of jokers. One one hand they say they want to promote cricket and take it to new countries and on the other they make such decisions. For the ICC the world cup is the biggest spectacle and must be used to attract as many people, teams, countries, viewership. Some of the associate countries have performed far better than some of the permanent countries and have also beaten them in the encounters during this world cup.

Its time that this decision is reviewed and reversed for the betterment and promotion of the Game

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

well its official, by 2019 ODI cricket will be dead and T20 will be only option remaining. so good of the ICC of letting us know of their plans to kill ODI

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

The decision by ICC is disgraceful to say the least on at least 2 counts. I can even accept and understand the need to restrict the next world cup to 10 countries but why not allow the associates to at least fight for 2 places along with the bottom 2 of the Test countries? Why does the qualifying kick in 2019 and not 2015. The next 8 years will undo all the strides Ireland has made in the last 10 years.

The byproduct of such a decision is how well it works out for England. They can continue to use Ireland as fodder. The Morgans and the Ed Joyces will continue to gravitate to England and who can blame players looking out for themselves and their careers only to have the ICC slam the door on them.

Posted by BifferSpice on (April 5, 2011, 10:22 GMT)

"Dhoni's decisive six in the final could yet become the most replayed shot in cricket's long history" really?? surely only if it won the game on the last ball or something. by that point, the game was won and it was just a nice way to get the final runs. While India deserved to win the match, and the tournament, there was no drama left by the time of that final six. Also, am I mistaken or are you including the disgraceful stoning of the Windies coach as part of the excitement or something? And their packed stadiums that you mention, is that at the start of the game? or when they all started piling out half way through matches when it didn't look like it was going their way? Even against England, a game they ended up winning. I thought the behaviour of the Bangladesh fans was the disgrace of the tournament, personally, and if it had been England fans, we would have been rightfully and justfiably vilified for it.

Posted by IMObserver on (April 5, 2011, 10:15 GMT)

Well if ICC is not just motivated by money alone it is possiblle to design a tournament with 16 teams and yet schedule it within month. If associates can be included in 2019 why the same idea cannot be implemented right now for 2015. If cricket has to flurish then fans should put up with some below par matches.

Posted by fanacric on (April 5, 2011, 10:03 GMT)

Andrew Miller you are the best ...........thank you very much for all of your write-ups during the world cup 2001 - the most memorable one, co-hosted by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. Moreover, I would like to thank you specially on-behalf of millions of BD fans for being so impartial throughout the event. God bless you.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 9:56 GMT)

I dont think this is doing good to the game on one side ICC is talking about globalising the game and on the other side they are discouarging the upcoming sides like Ireland. if atall they want to change the system, pls. do it in positive way rathar than discouarging new mambers. you can have a qualify system or something simillar.

Posted by blondblackberry on (April 5, 2011, 9:53 GMT)

this world cup is special because the "myth of hosts are ghosts" is broken completely.india has proven the best wins and not any bizarre myths.

Posted by Doogius on (April 5, 2011, 9:50 GMT)

Where do you start. So let me get this straight, its the best world cup ever because India won, Ireland beat a few 1st graders and Bangaldesh were up and down. Dude, India finally won something of note, mainly because the 'weakness' of not being able to handle the quick stuff was knocked on the head by some 'quality' pitches. 2003 was by far the best, with balanced cricket, the best teams making the semis and a quality final. Oh thats right, India lost that one, guess that doesn't make it the best...

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 9:44 GMT)

i dont like the idea of sidelining associates.every world cup needs upsets and ireland is the 'upsetter" of the cric world cup.ICC have a life!

Posted by sweetspot on (April 5, 2011, 9:39 GMT)

Let in all the associate nations, ICC! In fact, hold a tournament for them, many of them, from which say 4 will qualify to play with the big boys. We want to see MORE countries playing top level cricket and the ONLY way they, the Associate teams, will come up in this cash strapped lower levels is if they get to play the top teams often enough. Cricket is for fun, and we know that too well. Just watch the IPL and see how we managed to bring in two more franchises this year. There is enough of an appetite for seeing lesser known cricketers expressing themselves, and you, ICC, need to be smart about capitalizing on an opportunity, not be stupid enough to stay stiff and myopic.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 9:38 GMT)

icc is run by a bunch of money hungry douches so what do u expect andrew?

Posted by Gizza on (April 5, 2011, 9:36 GMT)

Perfect article Andrew. I agree with both parts of it. So happy and sad at the same time. Bad, bad ICC! Which is essentially the BCCI but I'm guessing Cricket Australia and the ECB would have gladly agreed to this "idea". England wants to continually poach Irish players. In fact this benefits New Zealand, the Windies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh too because there is less chance of an upset at the next World Cup. Even Pakistan, SA and SL wouldn't have minded the decision. Pakistan can now copy England's style and pick up Afghanis. All 10 Boards are selfish. Well, as a Sydney cricket fan, I will wave the flags of the minnows (Ireland, Netherlands, Afghanistan and the rest) for the matches held at the SCG. My preferred format would have been 2 groups of 6, top 3 in each group go to knockouts (not Super Six). 2nd vs 3rd from each group in a qualifying final, then winners of those matches against 1st in the semis. Vaguely similar to many finals/playoffs systems around the sporting world.

Posted by vemachine on (April 5, 2011, 9:31 GMT)

The decision to shed the associates is not tragic, it is criminal - and I do not use the word lightly. It is the glorified "champions" trophy that will take place in 2015 which is the joke. With this decision, the ICC shows its true colours (a film about billiards springs to mind).

Posted by Asif_Iqbal on (April 5, 2011, 9:30 GMT)

The best world cup of al ltime is 1992 where all the teams play to each other. single league format and I think if ICC reducing the team to 10 then they should adopt 1992 format.

Posted by BDHUNTER on (April 5, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

In my view British are the Champ in 2011. They give all the drama,excitement that in cricket can have.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 9:21 GMT)

If that was really the best World Cup, then the tournament is a joke! I think it's merely proven that sub-continent conditions favour their own nations so much that other teams have almost no chance of suceeding (look at the semi-final line-ups if you don't believe me). The whole thing goes on for far too long and after a month or so becomes a boring spectacle. It would be better to have a system like the "Champions League" in football, played over a year, where teams where drawn into groups and then played in home and away quarter finals, semi-finals and then a final at a neutral venue.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 9:19 GMT)

I couldn't agree with the sentiment more. I found this world cup to be enthralling to follow in every respect, from the suprise turnarounds, quick fire tons, upsets, blunders and all round drama, this really has been comparable to the great cup of 92 (the Young Guns are still dear to my heart and I was only a wee one at the time...). Even better is the fact that India took it away this year - deserving prize for gracious and passionate hosts. Well done this year ICC, but HUGE boo on cutting the Irish. Huge BOO. They were one of the highlights of the entire cup. Cut Zimbabwe if anybody.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 9:02 GMT)

6 weeks is little long... matches like Kenya vs Zimbabwe being too boring. Rather than leaving out Ireland, ICC could have had a qualifier b/w 9th and 10th placed ODI/Test teams fight it out with associate nation for the last 2 spots to make WC2015 a 10 nation event. If associate nations are good enough to upset these last placed ODI teams they will get their reward of playing in a World Cup.

Posted by Analytical_Gem on (April 5, 2011, 9:01 GMT)

Excellent article, I must say. This world cup has been proven to be a mega success. Thanks to an unwarranted 45 Crore tax rebate by the Indian Govt, by the way!! However, keeping in mind that such group format has been criticized by cricketers like Ricky Ponting, there is a substantially debatable issue involved in the ICC decision to change the current format of WC event. Though you need to conquer all other 9 test playing teams to be crowned as a world champion, round robin league isn't going to be fool-proof either. During 2011 world cup, most of the matches involving the minnows succeeded to generated considerable interest. Several games in previous world cups did bring up unexpected results. Moreover, world cup event provides the necessary high level platform and the encouragement for the 2nd tier teams, to generate interest and much needed recognition for those teams to make Cricket more popular in their countries. ICC must allow these teams to perform at such importanat events

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 8:57 GMT)

Completely agree with your analysis of the WC, and pain at the ICC decision. I am an Indian, and can understand the non stop partying at our win, but even otherwise, this was a fantastic WC. 92 apart, all other WCs in the recent past only had the odd good contest to show for, and none had such an exciting final. A big reason for the excitement in this WC was Group B, where Ireland upset all equations. In fact the format of this WC was almost perfect, with a potential minor tweak being playing multiple matches on the same day. This could reduce the length by a couple of weeks, and could have been adopted for 2015 WC in Australia, without having to sacrifice the Associates. To all supporters of cricket, Ireland and other Associates, all I can say is you have every right to feel gutted with this decision. But what else do you expect from the bumbling clowns of ICC? Cheers, Vasu

Posted by optimismsrationality on (April 5, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

In the name of merit chasing away those who would benefit the most from competitions is only way to ensure that Australia and India at least maintain their dominance in Cricket. I guess BCCI and CA are seriously worried that there exists a probability, however remote, that one day even China and US could be competing against them.

Elitism is thing of the 19th Century and not a practise of the 21st. If people like Sharad Pawar run cricket, we will always land up with a week ICC and strong national boards.Hail Ireland and the free spirit of Sports - Cricket or any other.

Posted by KingofRedLions on (April 5, 2011, 8:37 GMT)

No, it was not the best World Cup of all time.

Posted by Tlotoxl on (April 5, 2011, 8:33 GMT)

Canada, Kenya and NL contributed absolutely nothing to the tournament, often being humiliated, Kenya all out in 23 over for 69 - the 9th lowest score in a ODI in history, Canada losing on the same day by the 20th biggest losing margin ever, NL losing to SA by the 11 biggest defeat ever - are these anything other than a complete waste of time? and for all of the praise heaped Ireland they never looked like winning against SA, WI or Ind and lets face it winnings against England including a clearly unfit Collingwood & Broad and a completely shattered Anderson *and* befitting from 5 or 6 dropped catches and still sliding to a point of 115/5 still needing 8 and over for 20+ overs at which point England switched off because the game was effectively all but won is hardly awe-inspiring IMHO. Dump the Chumps trophy and set up say, 3 regionial trophy's like footballs Euros and CONCAFs, have say Ire, Can, NL, Eng, Zim, Wi, USA, SA & Ken in one torny and the rest in the other 2.

Posted by jackiethepen on (April 5, 2011, 8:28 GMT)

Andrew my heart is with you. Everyone who watched the tournament on TV will surely agree with you. It is utterly heartless to exclude the minnows and I am afraid that to ensure a passage by India will be in the end self defeating. Because if there is no chance of an upset then the tournament will be worthless. The ICC seem to have forgotten what a World Cup is supposed to be about. We have to get this changed for the sake of cricket.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

It is no surprise that marketing forces are at work but surely they could have included the associate finalist and runner up?

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

horrifying decision. what can we do about it? anyone with any bright ideas? sign me up if yes!

Posted by PottedLambShanks on (April 5, 2011, 8:24 GMT)

I actually thought it was the worst - had it not been for England, 85% of it would have been as dull as dishwater. At least nobody got hurt, though...well, apart from those people queuing for tickets to England vs India.

Posted by Flat_Pitch_Bully on (April 5, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

Dude - not sure what you going on and on about... the WC was a success for only 2 reasons: 1. It was held in India & the subcontinent - cricket sells here like no place else. 2. India and Pakistan and most other big teams were around the knock out stages... So Ireland and Canada and Netherlands won't put in an appearance at the next WC, big deal!! Am sure even the players families don't see those matches - so why dip the TRPs for such and waste players times as well? Unless these teams invest serious money and time and bring in prodigious talent into the sport, things will not change for them. SO maybe this is a wake up call for them to get their act together....

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 8:18 GMT)

You have just thrown a bunch of BS in there. Who in their senses can call this a world cup. It was a terrible 6 week period. Batsmen playing on dead pitches. By the way, 1.2 billio people in the survey and half of them will be living in India and they will call it the best WC coz India won it. I have no problem with India winning the WC, one team had to win it and congrats to India, but to me WC should never be held in Asia again, the pitches here cannot stand that long. Yes, the crowd and atmosphere is great but not the cricket.

Posted by thefountain on (April 5, 2011, 8:17 GMT)

I agree with ten teams. I feel that that nine and ten should have to qualify.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (April 5, 2011, 8:14 GMT)

I am a part of 1.2 billion from india..and I want to see the amazing sportsmen in Green from Ireland...not only in next world cup but quite frequently in bilateral and triangular tournaments all across the world. Drops of rain can create the oceans...request all to support ireland..

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 8:13 GMT)

I agree with the view of the writer. In keeping out of such tournament we are trying to eliminate a tema that has a potential of becoming the full memver based on their extraordinary competent players. This raises a basic question as to ICC is there to promote cricket?

Posted by TheHooker on (April 5, 2011, 8:13 GMT)

I can say with all the certainty in the world I WILL NOT watch a nine game per side tournament, then watch them play again in the quarters. Towards the end of the qualifying phase I stopped making excuses to watch matches and just did the normal things I would do anyway. It's such a shame the BCCI (sorry, slip, I meant ICC) can't settle on a formula and stick to it. Even though the current tournament is WAY too long, at least it threw up some variety and excitement. Basically, we should call it the 'Let's Ensure India Can't Go Out Until The Semis Because We've Sold The Rights For So Much' Cricket World Cup. If this is what the ICC/ BCCI want from cricket, I'll leave them to it. There's plenty of other cricket to watch rather than a tournament aimed at satisfying the demands of just one country. Part of me hopes football gets a grip in the sub-continent and erodes this sickening power India has.

Posted by Kreazy on (April 5, 2011, 8:00 GMT)

Couldn't Agree more.

This has been a fantastic and thrilling world cup.

Posted by Meety on (April 5, 2011, 8:00 GMT)

I don't think the format was any better then the previous editions, the pricing of tickets was better such that Indian/SL & Banga fans could come & watch games live - which was great. I think actually the DESIGN of the tournament was floored & its one thing to make a financial success of the W/Cup, its another creating drama in every game. Thats why smaller pool groups are much better. Upsets have far more impact, as much as England were great against India & Sth Africa, there losses to the Bangas & Ireland AND their lame performance against the Netherlands meant they really didn't deserve to be in the Finals. The best 4 teams at the Cup were SA,India, SL& Pakis, but what IF Oz knocked India off in the QTR Final? We would of had a month of useless games where the compitition front runners get knocked off by an underperformung side. It was bad enough that NZ, (arguably only half a step ahead of England), knocked off the 2nd best team in the tournament! What was the previous 5 weeks for?

Posted by bala-chala on (April 5, 2011, 7:59 GMT)

Just because this WC was better than the others doesn't mean it was a good one. Shifting of matches, Ticketing fiascos, Bus Stoning, Fake Trophy and many more. The WC was tailored to make Ind and SL reach the finals. In retrospect barring the Irish and English matches, almost every other match was boring as we knew the result already. The likes of Aus and SA were heavily disadvantaged by the pitches. B'desh's inability to compete was exposed when they were massacred in their own home pitches. Similar performance by the Kenyans and Canadians. This WC might have earned more money but far from being a good WC.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 7:55 GMT)

don't for a moment think that ICC's decision to shut Ireland out will not get a billion boo's, once this news truly sinks in. We love the spirit of Ireland- sports-heroic or political!----Indian cricket fans.

Posted by Rahulbose on (April 5, 2011, 7:46 GMT)

Not since Bob woolmer's death have I been so ashamed of being a cricket fan.

Posted by ram5160 on (April 5, 2011, 7:37 GMT)

I'm still hopeful. 4 years is a long period of time, hopefully better sense will prevail and some changes would be made.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (April 5, 2011, 7:35 GMT)

Ireland is the fans favourite and ICC has shut the door on them. Cricket is so poor. Ireland is a breath of fresh air. Sack Lorgat and Powar.

Posted by HatsforBats on (April 5, 2011, 7:34 GMT)

The administrators of the international game are blind fools. With a Future Tours Program bloated with meaningless ODi series and far-too-frequent return series between countries, international cricket lies stagnant in the years between World Cups (and the Champions Trophy has never felt anything more than a cash grab). The problem with the World Cup is not the number of teams playing, but rather the length of the tournament and the frequency of games played. By increasing sqaud sizes (to say, 19), teams would be able to play more frequently (2-3 times per week) without fear of player injury or exhaustion. The years between world cups could be then be scheduled with series that directly contribute to qualifying. A similar set up is desperately required for a test championship.

Posted by kp_india on (April 5, 2011, 7:33 GMT)

The associates should form a separate governing council and host a rebel world cup.

Posted by harmske on (April 5, 2011, 7:33 GMT)

although it is sad news that teams like ireland (and even netherlands who i thought put in a couple of competitive performances) will not feature in the next WC, it is of equal importance to ascertain how much quality cricket they are going to see between now and then. are they going to be back playing in the lower rungs of international cricket, and feature only in associate level cricket? or are we going to see ireland travel to new zealand to play a 3 or 5 match series? will teams stop off and play them in a little 3 match series enroute to England? or will they spend the next four years waiting for one or two odi matches against top flight nations. if this is the case, then irish cricket (or any other associate for that matter) is doomed - despite what haroon lorgat might have to say about ICCs high performance programs - the height of it all was to demand recognition and accolades for this program shortly after announcing the axing of the associates. well done mr lorgat...

Posted by SamRoy on (April 5, 2011, 7:32 GMT)

Andrew, I think you are right. I have watched all world cups since '92 and this was easily the best one. The group matches were fascinating with at least four classics England-SA, England-India, SA-India and England-Ireland. In QF's even though we had 2 no contests, one was a fine close contest and another a huge upset. Both semi finals were closely fought affairs (though NZ-Sri Lanka became closely fought only in the last 15 overs of the match) and a brilliant final with its twist and turns with neither team gaining a clear advantage until at the very end. I would like to mention the two great innings played in the world cup - one by Ponting; only to be bettered by Jayawardena and yet both finishing on the loosing side.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

I am furious at the ICC at this decision. As a passionate Indian Cricket supporter and cricket fan in general the decision to monopolise the game to the current test playing nations is insane HOW IS THE GAME TO EXPAND?? Ireland and Bangladesh have proved that they are good enough if they are given the chance. This will not make this event better it will just give the event a dead end.

Posted by baskar_guha on (April 5, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

If the ICC is insisting on a 10-team format for WC 2015, it is only fair to ask the bottom four teams to qualify with another four in a pre-WC tournament. This will give the likes of Ireland and Netherlands a shot and the likes of West Indies and Bangladesh a sense of "cant take things for granted." Clearly the ICC is not serious about globalization unless it involves countries where serious money can be made.

Posted by GB75 on (April 5, 2011, 7:03 GMT)

Share the love ICC and stop being so greedy. You already have more money than probably the entire nation of Ireland. You want to expand the sport to more countries but then you also take away the thing that would drive their ambitions the most. Well written piece Mr. Miller. And by the way, can an IPL team sign up "KO" Brien please. I am sure even the ICC wants to see more of him, at least as an individual.

Posted by memoriesofthepast on (April 5, 2011, 6:58 GMT)

1983 WC final at Lords, England was the best final of a WC. India all out for only 183 runs against the mighty West Indians who were the winners of 1975 and 1979 WC's. Then Balwinder Sandhu bowls out Greenhidge. Kapil Dev takes an unforgettable catch of Viv Richards. Mohinder Amarnath takes 3 wickets . WI all out for 140 and Indian underdogs come out as 1983 WC winners in England, the country to invent cricket and to rule India. This made Indians confident of achieving more such titles and even made Sri Lanka and Pakistan realize that they too can win WC. 2011WC final was an all Asian country final-first in history of 50over WC finals held so far. This 2011WC final win by India actually initiated from that 1983 WC win. Kapil's devils did much more good to Indian cricket than just winning that 1983 WC. Salute to that 1983 WC winning team.

Posted by ash556 on (April 5, 2011, 6:49 GMT)

The decision to exclude the Associates is outrageous and just plain stupid. Ireland and Netherlands provided entertainment to rival that of the best teams in the WC. Kenya has been responsible for some major upsets in the past and it's a joy to see Kenyan bowlers and fielders. What this decision does is encourage the best players in the non-test teams to sign up with the test playing nations a la Eoin Morgan. In other words the inequality in ability and status among countries will widen further. Not a good day for cricket even if the administrators are using some twisted financial calculus to justify this harebrained scheme which will reduce cricket's popularity rather than increase it.

Posted by vinaybn on (April 5, 2011, 6:37 GMT)

its understandable that associate nations performed very badlyand one of the negatives of World cup 2011. but ICC could have made it 12 team tournament with 10 test playing nations and 2 associate teams qualifying from Qualifying tournament (winners and runners). now its sad that 1 or 2 talented associates denied the entry........

Posted by chintan551 on (April 5, 2011, 6:24 GMT)

ICC needs to keep at least 12 teams! other wise it should not be called world cup but it will be called full members cup!!!!!!!!!! it should include Ireland and one more team which will be good at that time

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

As a cricket Lover, I am shocked by the decision to not have atleast the top 2 associate teams in the 2015 World Cup. Cricket is already a sport that is extremely limited in its reach from a world perspective and not having the option of spreading this is a ridiculous and very very short sighted decision.

I am an Indian and there is no greater Joy for me than to see India win and play as many matches as possible. But I am also a cricket lover and the sight of a Kevin O brien pounding away while English cricketers faces wilted under the unexpected onslaught was one of the defining moments of this World cup and has contributed as much to make it a success as India's victory or a India-Pakistan Semi Final.

In the Interest of Cricket which I love dearly, I ask the Ito revoke your decision and allow atleast 2 of the associate countries be part of the Cricket's Premier tournament. The Cricket World Cup should be a global event where the best team wins, not a closed door

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

I feel that ICC's decision is ridiculous,.. Cricket needs to be spread beyond the 10 regular playing nations.. Ireland deserve better at the hands of administrators and so called Protectors of the game. After this decision, there is no incentive for players to work hard and look forwards to achieving something. No country should be given an easy Test status like Bangladesh was given and somehow that was based on the fanatic support in Asia more than cricketing skills I think. The success of World Cup has justified their inclusion but teams like Ireland and Afghanistan though not ready for tests yet, still need to be given a place in the ICC showcase event. Why start a qualifying even in 2019? Why not roll it out from next year that the last 3 places in the 10 team event would be through qualification between the last three regular ranked teams and associates.

Posted by jpaul211 on (April 5, 2011, 5:56 GMT)

Three cheers to Indian cricketers but tons of boos to ICC. Sickening people. Fat cats.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (April 5, 2011, 5:54 GMT)

Andrew, must disagree that this was the best WC of all time. A *World* Cup where Australia never played SA or England, where SA never played Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Australia, where Sri Lanka never played SA, is hardly a *world* cup. The fixturing of the quarter finals was all wrong. With 8 teams left, they should have played more games at that stage. Each team should have played 4 games at that stage. i.e. against the 4 teams from the other side of the draw. And then the top 4 would go to the semis. If hadn't have drawn out the qualifiers for sooooo long, there would have been time for that. Secondly, you say "the best team in the tournament emerged with the spoils". Disagree. SA were the best team. They lost one game, some say choked, but then so did India against them. SA had both the best batting and bowling line ups. We were robbed of the ideal final, i.e. India vs SA, by the stupid quarter final knockout system. So, no, not the best ever World Cup. But best final, yes.

Posted by rolandjhearn on (April 5, 2011, 5:47 GMT)

The answer is so easy the ICC have embarrassed themselves with their stupidity with regards the next two World Cups. An expanded knock out comp. It could work like this: 20 teams - 10 Full member, 7 associate, 3 others say Arab World, Hong Kong and China (just for argument sake) Round 1 all member teams play unseeded teams - 10 games over 10 days. Round 2 10 winners plus top 4 loosers - 7 games over 7 days. Quarter finals 7 winners plus best looser - 4 games in 4 days. Then semis and final as normal 24 games could be spread over one month. There is a safety net for under performing full members and incentive for over performing associates. Everyone wins, shorter, more comprehensive and every chance of some great results. Wake up ICC you just put cricket back a decade.

Posted by Kilat on (April 5, 2011, 5:46 GMT)

10 teams is the right number, but Zimbabwe no longer deserve automatic qualification. Instead, they should have to play off with the Associates for the final spot. The ICC's goal should be to cut out meaningless matches while retaining the excitement of a minnow which has a genuine chance of beating any of the top teams. The top 9 teams + Ireland (easily the best of the rest) would have achieved this in 2011.

Posted by drlimpel on (April 5, 2011, 5:40 GMT)

That starting paragraph sounded suspiciously similar to Gary Oldman's ending voiceover for Batman : The Dark Knight. " He is the hero Gotham deserves but not the one it needs right now..." Wonder if that actually meant anything

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 5:37 GMT)

totally agree with you. even if ICC decides to continue with the new format of 10 team they should give automatic spots for top 6 odi teams the other four places should be give to teams after playing some qualifying games including the associate nations. This gives them a chance to play and try to qualify for the tournament. I am sure if given change irish or dutch can pull up few surprises and qualify but ICC is full of ppl with self interest who dont care abt development of sports but only earning more dollars.

Posted by gzawilliam on (April 5, 2011, 5:33 GMT)

I couldn't disagree more MR Miller. Yes the World cup was a success. But to say its the best world cup of them all is absurd. Why? Because it was played on the flattest batting tracks the world has ever seen? or was it because India (the Home team) won the tournament on their statistically best location to play cricket?

The 1999 world cup was a way better spectactle. The SOuth african semi final vs Australia. The battle between Tendulkar and SHoaib Ahktar. Lance Klusner's absurd hitting displays.. What makes this world cup better? Because Ireland beat england? Because India were the only team to ever win on home soil... pfft.

This world cup only shows the need for more sporting pitches. India is a bowlers graveyard. The best fast bowlers in the world were mostly ineffective.

Posted by zuzu_cool on (April 5, 2011, 5:31 GMT)

Ireland deserve to play the next World Cup, their performance have been great compared to the other young teams and yes compared to experienced teams too like Zimbabwe or Bangladesh.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 5:30 GMT)

Well Said,Andrew.It is truly a saddening and nonsensical decision to disallow those smaller countries to play in an event in which they bring so much pleasure.Ireland and Holland were much more watchable than Zim.And still it is Zim who are eligible to play 2015 WCC.Where is the Justice and Fair Play in that???

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 5:14 GMT)

Can not be their a campaign on cricinfo, where fans write how much they want to see other nations in action too and finally that script of millions of fans be send to ICC to tell even the core of their all the marketing and financial concerns wants it to be not a cake for some front line nations. Its a lifetime opportunity and as much good team if not great one, can come and play the game it will only increase the beauty of the game. Not go far away and look at Football, so many different nations come every time , most of the time they don't win against biggies but when they do like Ireland, it becomes a moment to savor.

Posted by MinusZero on (April 5, 2011, 5:05 GMT)

Why can't they have a separate associate country world cup and have two world cups? Or even a promotion relegation system

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 4:56 GMT)

Its a pity that smaller nations are being left out. As some one said, the world has been left out of the world cup. Although, I am not sure if BCCI is responsible for this, its a pity, nevertheless.

Posted by Himanshu_Jain on (April 5, 2011, 4:50 GMT)

Very True... Is this the prize of beating England in WC and running others close??? The timing of the announcement also suggest the intentions of ICC...Is it the way you plan to spread the game to newer pastures??? Its being run by businees people without a sense of Cricket...Ireland and Netherlands deserve to play next WC...Such a big Shame!!!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2011, 4:48 GMT)

It is a sad day for Cricket...& these are words from a die hard Indian cricket lover...We want a WORLD CUP and not a FARCE CUP. A cup only played among 10 nations leaving the world in dark, a world cup played only by 5% people of this world should not be called a WORLD CUP. How can we push Ireland out after their dream run, how can we push Netherlands out after all the colours they brought in...and for against whose cause...Zimbabwe & Bangladesh??? We all love DAVID V/s GOLIATH story....a SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.....if the test nations are the best let them prove themselves & not steal the spotlight from the associates.....ICC PLEASE LET THE REAL WORLD CUP BEGIN!!!

Posted by swikar22 on (April 5, 2011, 4:45 GMT)

As an Indian I am very happy n proud that India won but I am not going to watch the World Cup in 2015 because I will not support gross injustice done to Ireland and the other associates.They should at least have been given a chance of qualification.Shame on the money-minded ICC.

Posted by SamAlex2 on (April 5, 2011, 4:26 GMT)

don't fret, Kevin O'Brien. Join the IPL party. Make some money and make ICC look more silly.

Posted by Cricketer_USA on (April 5, 2011, 4:23 GMT)

Great article Andrew. I am surprised by the ICC move's. Are India, Sri Lanka, Australia, England, S. Africa, Pakistan and New Zealand scared of Ireland? It could be another political game from the ICC. Shame on ICC, another conspiracy. India wins but Cricket loses! God knows why? Who needs God with ICC in charge?

Ireland deserves a place in the 2015 WC at the expense of West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. They have been the best upcoming team. Imagine in 1983, if India was not given a chance to play in the WC because of 1975 & 1979 performances, would we have seen such good cricket.

At times, the ICC thinks, they are too powerful. I hope somebody in India, Ireland or elsewhere comes up with a rally and supports Ireland cricket. I am a great cricket fan and appreciate good cricket around the globe. Kevin's performance with the bat should have been given an award. It matches what Kapil did in 83 against Zimbabwe (not to compare players). Hope a miracle happens for Irish cricket.

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Andrew MillerClose
Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007

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