The debate on Associate nations participating in future World Cups should be on hold till the current tournament has ended, Andrew Strauss, the England captain, has said. The ICC last week announced it would stick to its plans for a ten-nation World Cup in 2015, one that has been criticised by the Associate nations who feel deprived of an opportunity to play at the highest level.
Canada and Kenya, two of the four Associate countries playing this World Cup, were at the receiving end of big defeats in their opening games. Even Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, supported the idea of a World Cup with fewer teams. Strauss, however, urged patience.
"It's easy to jump to that conclusion after seeing the games played yesterday (Sunday)," Strauss told reporters in Nagpur on the eve of England's opening game of the World Cup, against Netherlands. "My view on this is let the tournament finish first and then draw any conclusions that need to be drawn."
England were beaten by Netherlands at Lord's in 2009 in what was the opening game of the World Twenty20 that year. In their warm-up game ahead of this tournament, they hung on to a 16-run win against Canada after Rizwan Cheema had given the minnows a realistic chance of an upset.
"We played Canada (in a warm-up) and they gave us a good game but let's see how the tournament plays out first and then I think it will be obvious what the right formula is going forward," Strauss said. "Ireland (also in England's group) and the Netherlands are two strong Associate nations so they are certainly capable of causing a couple of upsets.
"It [the defeat to Netherlands in the World Twenty20] underlines the point that you can't under-estimate sides like Holland. If we are 10 percent off and they have a good day, we are in trouble."