Amid growing criticism over the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to cut the World Cup size into 10 teams, the governing body of the sport ignited new hopes on the Associate nations saying it is yet to take the decision over the number of teams competing in cricket’s showpiece.
In its previous meeting, the ICC had come up with a new structure of World Cup qualification where it would allow the six teams from ICC World Cricket League Championship and four nations in the ICC ODI Rankings fight for two available berth for the 2019 World Cup which will be held in England.
ICC has already aligned Ireland and Afghanistan in the ODI Rankings but with the full members not being in the obligation to compete with lowest ranked teams, it already determines who will remain in the bottom of the rankings.
The ICC decision at one hand has recognized Ireland and Afghanistan’s progress in world cricket by incorporating them in the ODI rankings but concurrently the writing is already on the wall regarding who are going to be the bottom four teams in the rankings.
But ICC chief Dave Richardson told AFP in an interview that: “I’ve learnt never to say never to anything. I’m sure the format of the next World Cup will be debated after this one has finished.”
The international cricket chiefs have been under fire over their decision to slash teams for the World Cup while many Associates and even the Full Member countries have launched several campaigns asking ICC to reverse the decision.
“I’m pleased with the performances of the qualifiers so far, but the bigger tests are still to come,” said Richardson.
“The question is what do you want the World Cup to be? Do you want it to be a jamboree of world cricket or the pinnacle of the one-day game? Heading into this tournament there was criticism that the format (where 14 teams are split into two groups of seven) would leave us with a long group stage at the end of which the eight teams everyone thought would get through had made it into the quarter-finals,” Richardson told AFP.
The minnows in the World Cup has so far impressed more than expected with Ireland stunning West Indies in their tournament opener with Afghanistan registering their first ever victory in their tournament debut. Qualifiers UAE and Scotland have also impressed many in the World Cup.