Justin Vaughan, the New Zealand Cricket chief executive, has defended the 2015 World Cup's likely ten-team format while urging the ICC to reach a swift decision on the terms by which sides will qualify.
Global outcry over the initial exclusion of Associate nations, particularly Ireland, in favour of the game's ten Full Member countries prompted a re-think by the ICC executive board. The ICC president, Sharad Pawar, announced a renewed discussion of the qualification process at the governing body's annual meeting, in Hong Kong in June.
While sympathetic about Ireland's difficulties, Vaughan was unhappy to have to place tournament planning on hold. "Look, I am sympathetic to Ireland, in particular, and the way they have performed at world events," Vaughan told the Sunday Star-Times. "I think the ideal ten-team competition would be one determined solely on merit but I understand there are challenges around that as well."
Jack Clarke, the Cricket Australia chairman, has previously outlined the fact that a ten-team round robin format offered far greater certainty to the public about where and how much their teams will be playing for the majority of the tournament, a sentiment Vaughan agreed with.
"A ten-team competition works far better from a host perspective than a 12-team competition does," Vaughan said. "A 12-team competition would necessitate the introduction of a Super Sixes stage in between two pools of six and an elimination round. The problem with the Super Six portion of a competition is that there's no certainty around who is playing whom and where.
"To sell tickets and organise international tour groups or international visitors becomes hugely problematic when you've got a section of the tournament where you don't know who is playing where."
Vaughan also highlighted the fact that the 2015 World Cup is yet to appoint a tournament chief executive.
"From an event host perspective, it's very unhelpful to have uncertainty in regards to what the format of the competition is going to look like," he said. "We are in the process of looking for a CEO but how do you set up an organisation if you don't even know how many teams are going to participate in it?
"Obviously it was a sensitive issue and I wasn't involved in the discussions because that was part of the executive board, which only involves the chairmen, but I know there was some prolonged discussion and an eventual, I believe, unanimous agreement to move to a ten-team competition.
"As the hosts of that competition, it is unhelpful to have renewed uncertainty over the format."