The ICC is keen to increase the number of teams playing cricket at the highest level to "15-16", and is working towards that under the leadership of Shashank Manohar, according to chief executive David Richardson.
"The ICC has a strategy to have more competitive teams playing at the highest level," Richardson said in Sri Lanka, where he was at the invitation of SLC and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president Thilanga Sumathipala to discuss the global development of the game. "For too long we had 10 Full Members. If we are honest with ourselves, there are eight, probably nine, teams that can play cricket at the highest level.
"We like to increase that number to 15-16 countries [with] the likes of Afghanistan, Nepal, Malaysia and various other countries in the Asian region. It's very important that we can develop their cricket to a level where they can play against the big boys on an equal basis."
Richardson said the global governing body was on the verge of putting forward some proposals "that would do wonders for international cricket". "Those proposals would cover governance and a new revised financial model, which would hopefully provide all the Full Members with a bigger slice of the cake than what it is currently envisaged," he said.
In early 2014, a constitutional revamp of the ICC had given the boards of India, England and Australia greater authority and a larger share of the revenue, an episode dubbed the "Big Three" takeover by the media. Soon after he became ICC chairman in November 2015, Manohar had criticised the imbalance of power triggered by that revamp, and said he wanted to end the "bullying" in the game's administration.
Richardson said he was confident the game will not be affected by another such power war under the current administration. "The international game has gone through a period of turbulence, where the governance, the financial model, the playing [of the game] was in turmoil by the resolutions passed by the ICC in 2014. What happened in 2014 took place because unfortunately countries like South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand were not able to stand up to the big boys. I don't think that will happen again."
He said the ICC also wanted the ACC to use its resources to develop the game, and the global governing body would provide it with "guidance" and "strategy". "Obviously we [the ICC] are responsible for global development, but our resources are limited. It's important that the ACC, with the resources they have both from a financial and a HR perspective, make best use of those. We want to provide the guidance, principles, overall strategy. [It is important that] the activities that we can carry out at global level are supplemented by what the ACC can afford to do on a regional basis."