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ICC leaves Ireland out in the cold

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Oliver Brett | 17:36 UK time, Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Gary Wilson, the Surrey and Ireland wicketkeeper batsman, was speaking three days before the International Cricket Council poured a gallon of industrial-strength weedkiller on the green shoots of Irish cricket, but his words are all the more poignant now:

"We beat Pakistan and Bangladesh in our first World Cup, we took down the Ashes champions in our second, we've made the fastest World Cup hundred, the highest and third-highest World Cup run chases and we have the youngest World Cup centurion. Anyone who says they don't want to watch Ireland in the World Cup is lying."

Wilson makes a compelling case, and his final point is particularly telling.

How can the board members who voted to exclude Ireland and their fellow associates justify their decision? It is hard to believe they genuinely believe Ireland are not good enough to play in cricket's global showpiece tournament. Who for that matter, reading this blog, will say they do not want Ireland in the 2015 World Cup?

Ireland's teenage spinner George Dockrell

Ireland spinner George Dockrell is one of the game's most exciting talents (AP)

This season, a record nine Ireland-qualified players have been named in first-class county squads. They include Paul Stirling, the 20-year-old on Middlesex's books who made a century in 70 balls against the Netherlands and perhaps most excitingly of all, George Dockrell.

The 18-year-old, shrewdly captured by Somerset, is a slow left-armer of real talent who dismissed Andrew Strauss, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Ramnaresh Sarwan at the World Cup.

Then there's Graeme McCarter, also 18, yet to break through to the Ireland senior team. He's a Londonderry-born fast bowler who has been compared to both Brett Lee and Angus Fraser and is contracted to Gloucestershire.

While Ireland are made to do without, Zimbabwe are guaranteed a 2015 World Cup spot despite not having played Test cricket since September 2006 and sitting one place below Ireland in ICC's own one-day rankings at 11th.

While they did beat Canada and Kenya efficiently enough in the World Cup, Zimbabwe remain a workmanlike side who at no stage worried any of the top four teams in their group.

When Zimbabwe met Ireland in the 2007 World Cup the teams tied, and the most recent meeting between them was a 20-run Irish victory. So, how can it be that Zimbabwe have a golden ticket for 2015 while Ireland do not even have the right to qualify?

The guarantee to the southern African nation, historically a staunch and important ally of India (and thus the Asian bloc) within the ICC boardroom, smacks of messy collusion.

One might not have had to speculate about all this had the ICC chosen to explain more about its 2015 decision. But instead, it wasted far more words congratulating itself on "the many important achievements" from the tournament that had finished 48 hours previously.

When a call and an email to the ICC's offices in Dubai went unanswered, I instead contacted the ECB to try to establish which way its chairman, Giles Clarke, had voted in Mumbai. But Clarke was en route back to the UK on Wednesday and not available for comment. The ECB said it would attempt to clarify its position as soon as it was able to do so.

What can be said categorically is that despite cutting out four teams from the 2015 format, the overall length of the tournament will not be significantly reduced from the 43 days that most felt was too long in India. That is because of the terms of the deal with the World Cup broadcaster ESPN Star Sports.

Kevin O'Brien and Dutch players

The ICC's decision will be tough to take for the Netherlands as well as Ireland (AP)

A 10-team tournament in four years' time had been in the offing for some time, and Australia and New Zealand, the next World Cup hosts, confirmed that was indeed their preference when the ICC's executive board members met around the sparkling mineral water in the Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel on Monday.

But instead of encouraging the likes of Ireland and the Netherlands - which they could have done by, perhaps, offering six automatic spots and four more via a qualification process - they cut them out of the deal altogether, effectively turning their flagship tournament into a private members' club jamboree.

The story has continued to move on. The ECB has emailed county chief executives with Ireland players on their books to remind them to be careful when using Twitter accounts to vent their frustrations.

It has not, as has been reported in some quarters, issued a blanket ban on comments. Nevertheless, the indignation and hurt felt by the Irish is not surprising.

This was, after all, the team that had produced the single most extraordinary performance in the 2011 tournament. Kevin O'Brien's scintillating century allowed the Irish to chase 328 to beat England on a heady night in Bangalore, having at one stage been 111-5.

Little wonder Ireland's coach, the former West Indies star Phil Simmons, called Monday "a dark day for cricket but a great day for greed and fear", and labelled their exclusion "despicable".

Cricket Ireland has vowed to fight the decision, and there has been some suggestion that they could try to present a case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, a body more used to settling football transfer disputes and doping matters.

Importantly, the ICC's actions should not be seen merely as an injustice to Irish cricket. It is also a damaging blow, for instance, to Afghanistan's dreams of ever competing in a World Cup, to the Dutch of course, and also Scotland, Kenya and Canada.

But if the ICC is hoping everyone will quietly lose interest in this story then it may have to think again.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Agreed it's a joke, but when do sport authorities in ANY sport ever look beyond short termism and self interest?

  • Comment number 2.

    Ireland have been extraordinarily entertaining at the last two world cups and embarrassed some major teams,maybe it the embarrassed teams ganging together and voting en-bloc behind closed doors to avoid further embarrassment?

    It's just not cricket eh?

  • Comment number 3.

    It's a terrible move, the I.C.C claim that they want to help the associate nations improve and then go and do something like this.

    Michael Vaughan is right, this could destroy Irish cricket. In the short term, promising player such as George Dockrell are going to think the only way of getting international honours is to switch to England as Eoin Morgan has. In the long term, it will severly affect the chances of a young Irishman choosing cricket more popular sports say hurling, what would be the point if couldn't perform on the biggest stage.

    Lets not forget countries like Afghanistan either, they have made massive strides and this won't help with their development when they need it the most and where's the incentive for Kenya to return to the heights of 2003 when they need it most?

    Perhaps a better idea would be to have 12 nations, four groups of three, top two qualify for the quarter finals and a straight knockout. Then there are two places for the associates making sure the most competitive qualify but I suspect it does fit with the I.C.C and their pursuit of the almighty dollar!

  • Comment number 4.

    I feel that the English chairman might have voted with this idea, was all of those young talented Irish players named are more likely to defect to the English set up if Ireland cannot compete in the World Cup. The win over England has been hailed as Ireland sports biggest achievement ever, and then to have the door closed in our faces is sick. the cricket nations should be ashamed of themselves, for a country like Ireland to compete at level with the giants of the game is a remarkable achievement. there is a feeling in the country that this kill off the current new found fondness of the game in this little country! All the members of the ICC should hang their heads in shame!! Irish Cricket RIP!!!!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Absolute rubbish, as an Englishman still stinging from Ireland's excellent performance, it seems madness that they will be missing next time. Shame on the ICC.

  • Comment number 6.

    if only iRELAND HAD HELD THEIR NERVE AGAINST baNGLADESH, THEN THE CASE WOULD BE TOO COMPELLING TO IGNORE. THE ENGLAND RESULT CAN BE EXPLAINED AS A FLASH IN THE PAN. BUT BEATING BANGLA, AS WELL WOULD HAVE BEEN IRRISISTABLE..NOW THE REAL ISSUE IS THIS. IRELAND HAVE MANY VERY VERY GOOD YOUNG PLAYERS. DOCKRELL STIRLING MCCARTER, OBRIEN AINT THAT OLD AND MORGAN THAT IS TEH BACKBONE OF A TEAM WHO IN 4 YEARS COULD BE AS GOOD AS ANY IN THE WORLD, I KNOW ITS CRAZY, BUT IT DOES HAPPEN ONCE IN A GENERATION FRIM SMALL COUNTRIES IN A LOT OF SPORTS, BUT DO THEY HAVE THE INFRASTUCTURE TO SHOW THAT THIS SET OF PLAYERS CAN BE REPLICATED OVER THE LONGER TERM?? BY TAKING AWAY THE INCENTIVE OF COMPETITION IN THE WORLD CUP I FEAR THAT THE INCENTIVE TO GROW THIS INFRASTRUCTURE COULD WANE.. IN THE WORDS OF SIR GEOFF BOYCOTT. LOOK AT BANGLADESH MILLIONS OF PEOPLE LOTS OF MONEY THROWN AT THEM BY THE ICC AND THEY HAVE GONE NOWHERE IN THE LAST 10 YEARS.. WOULD THAT HAPPEN WITH THE IRISH?? I DONT THINK SO..

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Another sporting organisation that wants to screw over the Irish.....Brilliant!

  • Comment number 9.

    I was enjoying the India win until this story came.....what a shame to exclude Ireland and Netherlands even the chance to qualify for the next world cup.....I gave up watching cricket until this world cup and got involved again because of the awesome games Netherlands and Ireland had against England. Cricket is no more a sport, its all about money and greed and ICC is doing its best to turn people away from cricket.....

  • Comment number 10.

    The decision by the ICC is an absolute disgrace and unless it is reversed it will be another nail in the coffin for cricket's viability - with dwindling attendances outside of England cricket needs to tap into new markets - the decision will definitely have a negative effect on the likes of the Irish, Dutch, Canadians and the Afghans etc: etc: One only has to look at the experiences of the Kenyans post CWC 2003 to realise that the ICC couldn't give a damn about the associates who unfortunately are caught in a classic Catch 22 situation. As for increasing the number of countries in World T20 who are the ICC trying to kid ????

  • Comment number 11.

    Great piece Oliver.

    This appears to be the ICC’s ultimate solution to the Ireland problem. They have consistently been non-committal regarding what it would take for Ireland to achieve test status, refusing to set any firm targets. As soon as it looks like Irelands success will carry into the next generation (Stirling and Dockrell were both playing schools cricket in 2007) and that the requirement of having a first class structure could be viable, the door is firmly closed. Had Ireland achieved further success in 2015 the ICC’s hand would surely have been forced. Now that can all be avoided. The loss of world cup income and the lack of high profile matches to sell sponsors is the easiest way to ensure that Irish cricket will fizzle out and the best player relocate. Irish cricket may be successfully quenched, but that will be to the shame of all those on the ICC board and a grave loss to the game.

  • Comment number 12.

    Surely if they allow qualification for say 2 or 4 spots it would be far better. It would also allow for expansion of the sport into unreached parts. I cannot see how Ireland are denied and Zimbabwe are included - when Ireland are outperforming them.

    Still sense is always outdone by greed

  • Comment number 13.

    The ICC really needs to look at what its objectives are. This is not a way to 'grow the sport' nor a way of making cricket more interesting - but it will stifle and slow the growth of the sport.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Living in Argentina, and having chatted with the English coach of the Argentine National Cricket side, this was always going to happen. There is little incentive for the Test Playing Nations to encourage a division of spoils by allowing the development of cricket in emerging nations, such as Ireland, Ntherlands, Afghanistan etc., more teams, mean less split of the income..

    What this will result in is the slow throttling of Irish Cricket development, one that has seen the game come on leaps and bounds in the last ten years. A sad day for the sport, and one that will hopefully come back to bite the Asian Cricket Mafia who have no vision beyond their own TV income and advancement.

    Sad to see England following the Asian line, but then again, they can always claim the young irish players for England under residency (as they play the county game), and in 5 years time we might not see any English born players actually lining up for England - Absurd, well, how many South African born players are there now, add a few Irish, and maybe a dutch born or two, the Barmy Army will be Barmy to be supporting "England"... More like "Europeland"

  • Comment number 16.

    This is a body-blow to not only Irish cricket but also to the entire game. Ireland's chase against England was one of the most sensational events to have taken place in game of cricket during the past decade. The professionalism displayed by the Irish is second to none (if only bangladesh and WI take a leaf out of their book),the tactics employed by porterfield were spot on most of the time (Ian Chappell rated him as the best captain after the group stage) and last but not least, the talent and the potential, possessed by some of these Irish players is mind-boggling (In my view, Stirling and Dockrell are the most talented youngsters currently active in world cricket). What more does ICC want? Ireland need to fight this exclusion in every way possible (go legal if needed). And it is high time, former cricketers jumped in and condemn ICC's decision publicly. For me, the hurt at the exclusion of Ireland from 2015 has engulfed the joy of India winning the 2011 WC.

  • Comment number 17.

    Well said Oliver.

    Anytime that Malcolm Speed can be quoted as saying

    "The ICC's decision to stage the 2015 World Cup without any provision for Associate members smacks of "insular, backward-looking" attitudes among the game's custodians, " surely there has to be some truth in it?

    Even the ICC's own code of ethics contradicts the decision

    ICC Code of Ethics 3.2

    “Directors shall at all times serve the interests of the ICC and the sport of cricket as a whole. Directors shall not promote their own (or a group of) Cricket Board’s interests at the expense of the dignity, integrity or interests of the ICC or of the sport of cricket in general.”

    I also refuse to believe that reducing the competition to 10 places with or without associates is the correct way forward surely the best format would be 16 teams in 4 seeded groups of four in the 1st round with more than once match played per day?

    However given that the TV broadcast deal in place already for a 48 match minimum world cup and the gang of 10 have insisted that there only be 10 participants then there has to be a qualification process somewhere, if it can be put in place in 8 years why not 4?

    And as you rightly say despite the fact Im Irish lets not forget Afghanistan in all of this if a meaningfull qualifying competition was put in place it is highly likely that the Afghans would qualify based on recent performances and just imagine the uplift it would give to the people of war ravaged Afghanistan to watch their team playing in a cricket world cup!

    As Phil Simmons said this decision is based on fear and greed, fear because the gap between the top associate and the bottom 3 or 4 full members is narrowing every day and greed because none can see past their own bank balances!

    England World Cup XI for 2015;

    William Porterfield (c)
    Paul Sterling
    Ed Joyce
    Ryan ten Doeschate
    Eoin Morgan
    Kevin O'Brien
    Gary Wilson wk
    Alex Cusack
    John Mooney
    George Dockerill
    Boyd Rankin

    12th Man Alex Kervesee Nial O'Brien reserve wicket keeper

    That will put an end to the SA 'B' team jibes won't it!

  • Comment number 18.

    I have never posted a comment before but this unbelievable self centred decision has me fuming. How can the ICC call this a WORLD cup if it is restricted to a select few countries? The excluded countries and other supporting parties should take legal action to ensure the ICC cannot call the 2015 tournament a world cup, and ensure the media also do not refer to it as a world cup. If it does not have that prestige then sponsorship and TV revenue will be less and it will hit the ICC where it hurts.

  • Comment number 19.

    I was shocked when I heard of this absurd decision, coming in the wake of what appears to have been an extremely successful tournament involving all the principal cricket-playing nations. This will hurt the development of the game elsewhere and severely harm the progress that has been achieved in the nations that have been excluded, as well as those that were on the threshhold of gaining acceptance at the top table. I think the ICC owes a public explanation.
    My personal feeling is to regret that the British Isles no longer compete on the international stage as a united body - in many sports it is hard even to put together a UK or GB side. One might argue that, despite fielding far weaker teams than could be put together, this at least gives more people a chance to participate, but it has meant, for example, that we never saw the likes of George Best at a World Cup. Surely for the major events the various sporting bodies could put aside their narrow interests in favor of the greater good?
    However, for as long as any of the separate teams are entitled to compete in international events, I will defend their right to do so. A qualifying competition akin to the World Cup qualifiers would seem to be a solution to the present dilemma, though we can't be sure in view of the lack of an explanation for the ICC's action.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think once again money and greed have ridden roughshod over sport.Zimbabwe,a country that has a barely legal government and no human rights shouldn,t be allowed to play any international sport let alone cricket.Shame on the ICC

  • Comment number 21.

    Liam,

    Not "Europeland", must be Rest of the World. New Guinea (Geraint Jones), South Africa and Zimbabwe are not in Europe.

  • Comment number 22.

    It's not a world cup, it's effectively an ICC shortlist of 10 countries. In every other sport, you have the right to try and qualify - be it San Marino in football, Portugal in rugby.
    Why not just have 2 qualification spaces and 2 groups of 6?

  • Comment number 23.

    My goodness, it does make the ICC look worse than stupid, doesn't it?
    A "World Cup" where countries are barred from even qualifying? It's a bit like the US World Series baseball competiton that always produces "World Champions" from, errr, the USA.

    It reminds me of the quote attributed to John Cleese:
    “When we hold a World Championship for a particular sport, we invite teams from other countries to play, as well.” (on the differences between Americans and the English)

  • Comment number 24.

    Thanks Oliver,

    As you note, the decision was made to appease Aus & NZ, but they can't shorten the tournament for tv commitments! Sorry, it's not rugby, there's no physical danger from mismatches (unless you're an Englishman throwing pies at KOB).

    Suppose you wanted to shorten it, heaven forbid two games a day - there are better ways to do it. e.g. the Top 4 ranked sides automatically qualify for Super 8 stage, with 5-10 having to qualify against associate members. This would increase competitivity in normal ODI series and you could extend the qualifying out for that series to Afghanistan, Scotland (potentially PNG or Namibia - as all the contributors note a WORLD cup).

    Ireland, you deserve better to the ICC's shame.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'd be inclined to think that the ICC are rather worried that if there was any element of qualifying nessecery then Bangladesh would be at risk of not qualifying and that's one emerging market of millions and millions of people that they can't afford to ignore. I'd also be a bit worried about England's prospects of qualifying if it was nessecery which would be another large blow to the broadcasters

  • Comment number 26.

    Of course, this works to England's advantage when they come looking for a new first-choice spinner in 2015 and George Dockrell has no nation to represent...

  • Comment number 27.

    Personally I agree that it is disgusting that only the so-called elite are allowed to enter a "World Cup". I am not sure how a team out of test status can be allowed to play in the first place ?
    Being English we will always be included but how can the advancement of Irish cricket be ignored. They are not going to win it in 4 years time but if they continue to grow as they have been then they can certainly compete and in the right group with a wing and a prayer you would not be surprised to see them qualify for the next stage.
    However badly the past competition was in terms of schedule, duration etc - it does not justify these actions. and those that dont like it do not have to play if it is so bad. but we all know that this would not happen as there is not a cricket nation in the world that can turn down the potential revenue source that this provides. It is a pity that countries such as Ireland and Holland in particular that have invested heavily over the years in cricket are to be excluded from this opportunity to showcase their progress.

    What a difference from the Football "World Cup". Where every country and its dog has the right to try and qualify for a tournement that is universally accepted as being too generous to the minor nations.

  • Comment number 28.

    16 teams, 4 groups of 4, teams play each other once, top 2 from each group go into the quarter finals.

    Enough chance for there to be upsets but enough games to recover from a bad loss in one game.

    It's really not difficult.

  • Comment number 29.

    Previous World Cups have seen Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh all win matches before winning Test status while Kenya and, now, Ireland have maintained that tradition.

    And how on earth can the ICC say there's no qualifying for 2015 but there will be for 2019 when both tournaments will have the same number of teams?

    The ICC will end up tying themselves in knots and will struggle to get themselves out of them.

  • Comment number 30.

    Good blog - I have been livid about this since it was announced. It is truely ludicrous decision. This last world Cup has been the best so far, and a simple tweaking by removing 2 of the minnows would reduce the number of games and the length of the competition, yet still allow the best minnows to qualify. Two groups of 6, with the top top 4 in each group progressing to the QFs. Additionally they could double-up a few more games in the group stages.

    I simply can't understand how a 10 team competition is good for the game, especially when there is no qulaification for the Irish/Scots/Dutch/Canada/ Kenya etc etc. THIS MUST BE REVERSED.

  • Comment number 31.

    I have been a supporter of the 10 team World Cup, but having seen the Irish passion & display in the World cup & their vehement protest after been excluded, I do now think the Irish deserve to play the the 2015 WC. No point at having a go at Bangladesh - they do have a big fan base and Zimbabwe whose Cricket has been decimated by the Mugabe regime. ICC have got this wrong. Perhaps have a 12 team WC. 2 Groups of 6 - top 4 going to a super 8 (carrying points against follow qualifiers & play teams of other teams once) - followed by semi & final.

  • Comment number 32.

    Quite right to condemn the ICC. But don't stop there.

    Why are the Irish press reporting that the ECB have e-mailed the Irish cricketers contracted to English counties telling them that they should, so to speak, 'shut up or else'? Presumably this story in the Irish press is true. One can only believe it is.

    Assuming it is, the ECB are also in this right up to their necks. Let's hope that this ECB perfidy will encourage the Irish players to stay true to Ireland and that the Irish authorities will be able to pursue the other authorities in whatever tribunals is appropriate.

    This decision stinks and it should not be hard to prove it.

  • Comment number 33.

    Atrocious decision. Most that needs to be said has already been said by others, but this is a real and genuine kick in the teeth both for teams such as the Irish and Afghans who need the experience, encouragement and exposure that this competition offers if they are to continue to develop, and also to all spectators and cricket lovers who would like to see more competition and the game's base developing further. It reeks of pure self-interest and heads stuck in the sand. The ICC should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

  • Comment number 34.

    All the talk is about how the Indian win lifted a nation.

    Well surely the Irish team had the same affect.

    Is this the same ICC that has been looking to China & USA for expansion.

    Each form of the game should be based upon a different rankings criteria.

    Shame on the ICC

  • Comment number 35.

    Shame on the ICC. A disgraceful decision made because of finance reasons alone and not for the development of world cricket. Whilst there's little doubt that the competition was too long, throwing out the associates wasn't the answer.
    I'd like to think they won't sleep at night, but darn sure they will.

  • Comment number 36.

    32. Quoting from my own material at the top of this page >>

    "The ECB has emailed county chief executives with Ireland players on their books to remind them to be careful when using Twitter accounts to vent their frustrations.

    "It has not, as has been reported in some quarters, issued a blanket ban on comments. Nevertheless, the indignation and hurt felt by the Irish is not surprising."

    So, the intentions were admirable from the Irish Independent, just a little overplayed. Right, bedtime. Expecting plenty more comments tomorrow morning, thanks for all the feedback, I will be adding another comment or two at some stage tomorrow.

  • Comment number 37.

    Best World Cup ever in my view, generally prefer Test cricket, however, how do you expect the smaller nations to get interested and improve in the game if you exclude them from the biggest party. I've always though the ICC are a joke, and I hope the ECB throw there hat to the Irish cause, and get this decision changed. As for the length of the tournament just play 2 games a day during the group stage. We all have red buttons to choose which game.

  • Comment number 38.

    Great post, and thank you, and others in British media, and cricket legends such as Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan and Aggers for speaking up on this. Alas, they put the likes of Eoin Morgan to shame who has been mute: Irish cricket supporters are proud of his achievements and success with England, but by not speaking out, he shows himself to have a very short memory of how he developed as a player.

    While a genuine World Cup should have at least 12 teams (and allow the Test Nations to guarantee their spots without killing ODI cricket in the rest of the world), all Ireland and other Associates (including Netherlands, Afghanistan, Scotland etc) are seeking is to have a route to the World Cup, even one with 10 nations.

    We are ranked number 10 in ODI cricket, but cannot compete in a 10-team World Cup.

    A qualification competition for Associates to bring us to even a four-team qualifier would be enough (or a simple four-team qualifier between teams ranked 9-12 for the last two spots).

    And why would ICC put all their eggs in the 10=team basket. Zimbabwe could have more civil strife that would see them out of world cricket. Pakistan has had sufficient controversies that they can't be counted upon. West Indies is seeing a slow death of cricket. Surely ICC should want to see the game spread - cricket is in the Irish consciousness like never before right now, but why would people sustain an interest in a sport whose world body behaves so cynically and selfishly.

    Finally, in marked contrast to British media, players and general cricketing public, the ECB ought to be ashamed of themselves for by their reported preferences in the meeting to the "suggestion" to Irish contracted players to counties that they bite their tongue rather than speak up on this.

    We would ask the cricketing media and public to keep speaking on this, tweeting or emailing @cricketicc @ecb_cricket and others, and not let this fade from view. We need your help.

  • Comment number 39.

    I should also add that it is not the Associates that make the tournament long and unwieldy, it's the ICC. Play two, three games a day, we don't care. We just want the chance - just the chance - to be there.

  • Comment number 40.

    25. At 21:12pm on 6th Apr 2011, Coverleeds wrote:

    I'd be inclined to think that the ICC are rather worried that if there was any element of qualifying nessecery then Bangladesh would be at risk of not qualifying and that's one emerging market of millions and millions of people that they can't afford to ignore. I'd also be a bit worried about England's prospects of qualifying if it was nessecery which would be another large blow to the broadcasters
    - - - - -

    Spot on. The whole situation smacks of protectionism. If you have qualifying, then you have the risk of not qualifying. Whilst I certainly wouldn't say England were at that risk (lets remember after a long winter tour they still held India to a draw) there are other nations important to the ICC that would be - as mentioned in the article Zimbabwe and Bangladesh particularly.

    The ICC is bringing in minor changes to the ODI ranking to turn it into the ODI League. Well, why not make it so that the top n nations from that qualify for the world cup, and force nations to play a certain number of series with teams below them?

  • Comment number 41.

    http://nasirkhan.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/how-will-the-icc-odi-league-affect-the-associates/
    Not my work but some interesting points towards the subject.

    Also, its times like these that Sepp Blatter doesn't look quite so bad :/

  • Comment number 42.

    Disgraceful decision by the ICC. If the ECB agreed to it then I feel ashamed quite frankly. Regardless of whether it's right or not to reduce the tournament to ten teams (it isn't if we're going to have the same amount of games anyway) not having any qualifying means we can't keep calling this a world cup IMO!

  • Comment number 43.

    Absaloutely dreadful decision by the ICC, a body that has shown itself to be no better than FIFA regarding the governance of the game. It looks like the established test-playing countries are in fear of the speed at which certain associate countries like Ireland are making progress and the potential threat they could pose at the next WC. So the ICC say 'thanks' to the second tier for the part thay played in help filling its coffers at the WC , then ditch them.

    I feel convinced that Ireland, together with the other associate countries, will take this further and mount a legal challenge to overturn this decision. Whether it can be successful remains the big question.

  • Comment number 44.

    Oliver,

    A gag is a gag by whatever name.

    Why should the ECB need to gag the Irish county cricketers on a matter which has nothing to do with county cricket?

    I can't see that the Irish Independent was at all over the top. This is perfidy and the decision to limit the World Cup to a specific ten countries needs urgent explanation. So does the ECB's attempt to gag the Irish cricketers. What's behind all this - just fear and greed, as the Irish Independent has suggested - or something more?

    Thanks for giving this issue some oxygen - pleasant dreams and I trust you will not be disappointed when you check in in the morning!

  • Comment number 45.

    I don't suppose anyone from the ICC reads this blog, but if they did they would notice that we are all as one on this issue. There has not been one voice that says they have made the correct decision. What does that say?

  • Comment number 46.

    It's a depressing, but not unexpected decision. The key is that the tournament is reduced to ten teams, without any provision that they are the ten top-ranked teams at a stated cut-off time before the World Cup. What's the difference? As you hint, it's a matter of power blocks: Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will vote reliably with India; Ireland will not. It matters not a jot that India have ignored the future tours programme when it interests them (Question 1: how many tours of India have Bangladesh and Zimbabwe made in the last 10 years? Question 2: what sanctions were threatened for not honouring their commitment to host both at least once every five years under the terms of the FTP? [remember that England were threatened with bankrupcy for trying to cancel a tour by Zimbabwe]) Why were the rules changed for this World Cup to make it almost impossible for India to fail to qualify for the knockout stages?

    However, it's reality as it exists in the ICC now and we have to live with it. A few years ago there was the prospect of cricket splitting in two. Now, only West Indies and possibly New Zealand would side with England in any vote. Australia are a more reliable voting partner for India than even Pakistan. We won't get anywhere if we throw our toys out of the pram.

    Just as a hint of how little England's opinion matters these days was a suggestion that I read on a fan forum yesterday. It suggested that India's tour of England this summer is meaningless and so India should use the tour to rest players who will be needed for more important games. No one challenged it! However crazy such an opinion may seem to us, to many Indian cricket fans it is just a statement of how things are.

    If England want to help Irish cricket, the best thing that they can do is to have regular series of 3 ODIs against them, rather than just one match every two summers and arrange that there will be triangular series between England, Ireland and one of the summer's tourists, because sure as eggs are eggs, Ireland will get more matches that way that waiting for the ICC to arrange games for them.

  • Comment number 47.

    @ thefrogstar. the world series in baseball was originally sponsored by a magazine called "the world" hence the name the world series. however i get your point. it is an astonishing decision, especially as the smaller teams played very well. no matter what world cup sport every team should have the right to at least qualify.

  • Comment number 48.

    Oliver,

    I cannot see the Irish Independent were over the top. A gag is a gag however it is organised. And it is not as if this attempted gag on the Irish playing in county cricket has anything to do with county cricket. So why are the ECB so uptight and defensive?

    Speak up lads and stick with Ireland! And Cricket Ireland, you owe it to yourselves and the lads to follow this through!

    Thanks Oliver for giving this lots of oxygen - I hope you will not be disappointed when you clock in tomorrow!

  • Comment number 49.

    Well done, ICC. It is only right and proper that the premier one-day competition should be restricted to those nations steeped in the proudest and noblest traditions and history of the sport. Like Zimbabwe, for instance. The very idea that the titans of the game should have to share some of the competition's revenue with the likes of Ireland, the Netherlands, Afghanistan, and, heaven help us, Argentina, is nothing short of a demeaning disgrace. Nurse!

    Seriously, though, it's an absolutely appalling decision smacking of self-interest and one which should rightly be condemned by everyone involved in the game. I doubt if we'll get a sensible explanation from anyone involved in this decision, the ICC appear not to have a great deal of form for that, but I look forward with a great deal of interest to hearing the ECB's views. As for reorganising the tournament, I'm in favour of expanding it, 16 teams (the more the merrier imho), no pre-qualifying for Associates, and NO seeding. It needn't go on any longer, two games a day until the QF stage would do no harm and may even shorten it a bit. Quite frankly, the fact that a 14 team competition went on for longer than the Olympics is more than a touch ridiculous and only adds to the impression that the tournament wasn't a sporting event, it was a money-making exercise. Can't see the turkeys at the ICC voting for christmas though...

  • Comment number 50.

    Usually I am critical of football for being self-serving but in this case the ICC trumps FIFA. The roots of this decision come from the 2007 World Cup and the early exit of India and Pakistan. This quote speaks volumes:

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2007-03-19/india-business/27871674_1_advertising-ad-rates-world-cup

    "Kunal Dasgupta of Sony, the official broadcaster of the World Cup, agreed that the money spend on advertising will be hugely affected if India is knocked out. He complained, ''The entire format of the 2007 World Cup is flawed. In a 48-day tournament, if a team like Pakistan is already out for playing bad cricket in two matches, there is something really wrong. We were against this format and even told the GCC (the commercial wing of the ICC) to reconsider it. But they refused."

    Post-2007, that World Cup format Sony wanted became reality. But let's ponder a minute. Who are GCC? They are the Global Cricket Corporation, a News Corp owned organisation. Bing! The smell of Murdoch comes around to haunt cricket again! Google reveals little information about GCC. This link however reveals a bit more about the bidding process in 2006 for the current deal:

    http://www.indiantelevision.com/headlines/y2k6/sep/sep277.htm

    It's quite clear that advertising was/is the major revenue maker, not subscriptions. Losing India and Pakistan in the early stages of the 2007 World Cup meant advertisers were unhappy having paid out the money to lose a strong Indian and Pakistan audience. The group stages were therefore changed to ensure that there was far less chance of one of the big guns getting knocked out early.

    Sporting? Not at all. It made it far harder for the lesser teams to reach the knockout stages. Now we have a new situation where the Associate teams are essentially banned. How on earth can you call the 2015 World Cup a world event when you have a restricted entry list? It's going to be as ridiculous a title as the baseball World Series.

    The reports of the ECB telling Irish players to keep schtum on Twitter is disturbing (http://sportspeak.eu/2011/04/06/irish-cricketers-were-gagged-from-making-comment/). The ECB has its own link to Murdoch through the Sky millions. Is it afraid that any backing of Ireland's stance will mean financial pressures when it comes to contract renegotiation? It's perhaps telling that Cricinfo's own coverage of this story is not exactly being blasted across the headlines. Check the current front page if you don't believe me. Cricinfo, owned by ESPN, not really going after the ICC... ESPN Star cricket, part owned by News Corp who also own the GCC... couldn't possibly be a connection there now, could there?

    Conspiracy theories aside, this is a truly disgusting decision. If the ICC has any guts, it will award itself the ICC Anti-Spirit of Cricket Award at its next glossy gala event. The final world should got to Gerard Siggins:

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/507080.html

    "The ICC has rightly attracted criticism for such a retrogressive move, in which money - specifically money for the big three boards of India, England and Australia - seems to be the only object. Football has continued to swell its tournaments, while the much-less widespread game of rugby invites 16 to its World Cup. The likes of Spain, Georgia and Canada are always hammered, but the sport recognises the need to grow and be inclusive. Cricket, meanwhile, buries itself in post-Empire exclusivity despite the fact that the likes of Ireland and Kenya have added enormously to the fun of the last three World Cups.".

  • Comment number 51.

    AndyPlowright makes some very good points. I was also disturbed by the lack of reaction to this decision by most of the media. This is one of the very first blogs I have read on a main news site having a go at the ICC. Nothing in the Times, nothing on skysports.com, anyone see the link here (Murdoch). A very small piece in the guardian, nothing in the Telegraph, etc. The news on Cricinfo (there was half of one blog condemning the decision) has been bumped down, well down. Surely if the public opinion is reflected here (and everyone seems of one voice so far)

    It's moments like these which makes you grateful the BBC are still around really. We've already had an article about Vaughan criticising the decision (didn't see this anywhere else), and now this excellent blog.

  • Comment number 52.

    The decision to hold a 10 team world cup with no qualification is utterly incredulous and completely invalidates the use of the term world cup. It is no more than a world series, like the US sports have, sure they will declare a world champion and will have some justification in claiming the winner is the best team in the world. However, this does not detract from the undeniable fact that the spirit of fair play and competition has been lost. They could have had a qualifying tournament and who knows the same 10 teams may have qualified, but by denying the opportunity to qualify they are serving the interests of the largest governing bodies and showing complete disregard for sporting fair play!

  • Comment number 53.

    The ICC can talk about how much financial support they give to the associates, and it is of huge benefit to the individual unions, but it's nothing compared to the effect Ireland's WC performances has had on the sport's profile and the growth of playing numbers in Ireland. The guaranteeing of the 11th ranked ODI nation a spot at the next WC, whilst denying the 10th ranked nation even a chance of qualifying is as morally bankrupt as you can get.

  • Comment number 54.

    I'm amazed that a country who's first two world cup appearances have been nothing but entertaining and shown off the potential it has to become a very good team is excluded from the world cup. Instead of being given more opportunities to play the full member nations in ODI series on the back of these performances, Irish cricket is going to be ruined. It's made worse by the fact that Sri Lanka were the whipping boys of international cricket for years but were given time, money and opportunities to develop and their now one of the main contenders in every tournament. Zimbabwe have been poor for years and never looked like winning against any top side. An incredible decision by the ICC only cricket would do this

  • Comment number 55.

    Cricket around the world would suffer as a result of this decision!

    There are no incentives for emerging cricketing nations to continue their development, there is a glass ceiling that they won't be able to break, thus, they may as well give up and get future generations of potential cricket players to concentrate on other sports.

    This is a neil in the coffin for cricket as a developing international sport.

  • Comment number 56.

    I'm absolutely flabbergasted. The ICC should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Ireland were undoubtedly one of the highlights of the World Cup...guess the ICC don't recognize a genuine marketing opportunity when they see it. Not only is this unfair, it's commercially short sighted. There is nothing more fascinating at World Cups (in any sport) where upcoming teams are given the chance to show up the more established sides - it should be a selling point.

  • Comment number 57.

    The world cup in 2015 should be called "ICC invitational trophy". The associates should not participate in the 20-20 world cup. That should teach the ICC a lesson or two.

  • Comment number 58.

    I can say I am surprised but not too surprised. You have to wonder at the politics at play here. Isn't the idea to jump at any chance to expand the game and its fan base and not shrink it? This is disappointing. I don't think Zim has done anything to merit special treatment. Guess it doesn't hurt to have friends in high places eh? And yes am Zimbabwean ......

  • Comment number 59.

    I love to see Ireland do well at any sport and to beat England at Rugby and Cricket in the same month was priceless. I think it's time for the ICC to open it's mind to genuine international competition, especially the one sport Countries (you know who you are). If the GAA banned you from playing Hurley and Camogie you would have something to complain about :)

  • Comment number 60.

    One can't help but think that the ICC dominated BCCI would be pushing hard for Ireland or the Netherlands to be included had they been Asian nations and voting with India rather than European nations.

  • Comment number 61.

    This subject is worth a second post...

    Does anyone else in England or Australia enjoy the irony that the two nations have been playing, for about 130 years, a series of cricket matches (aka "The Ashes"), that are so named because they celebrate the fact that one of the sides was probably considered to be "not good enough to play against", never mind "not good enough to lose against" (Yes, I am mostly English).

    Who is it amongst the ICC nations that is afraid of their own particular "Irish Ashes"?
    Shame on you.

  • Comment number 62.

    For starters I want too praise the BBC for their coverage of this story. It has been nothing short of outstanding compared too the shoddy journalism on other sites who as others have said in here seem quite happy too brush it under the table. They would afterall when they are all companies owned by a Mr Rupert M and have not got the guts too speak out....

    The ICC is an organisation fueled by greed, why else would you take the world out of cricket? If teams such as Macau, Andorra, San Marino are given the chance too qualify for the Football World Cup then why cant a team ranked 10th in the world qualify for the Cricket World Cup??

    I just beg the BBC too help Ireland as much as they can and don't give up like everybody else has and seemingly the ECB is refusing too help Irish cricket too. The ICC just presume that because Ireland and the other associate nations are small they won't fight back and everybody will forget about them. We can't and I hope we won't allow that too happen!

    Keep up the good work Oliver.

  • Comment number 63.

    It is my first time posting on any medium, but this I thought really needed some say. How is the game going to grow when we do not encouarage teams that are developing as well as interested to become a part of the World Cup. I can use Canada as a quick reference, the growing number of immigrant Asians has seen a resurgence of interest in the sport. They presently support India, Pakistan and Sri Lanke, their kids play for Canada, the sport is growing to the point where items of the game are now available for sale in the local Walmarts. Has the ICC been doing the research on how to help and develop these countries that are trying to grow the sport. I know money is important but soccer proves that with time and effort the playing fields can become more competitive and make for an overall better spectacle. ICC good luck explaining why you have moved the sport backward instead of forward.

  • Comment number 64.

    Shame on ICC. an unfortunate, ill-thought decision. At least, ICC should have allowed 12 nations and top 2 Associate nations can participate in 2015 edition. I don't think BCCI is going to throw their weight around on this issue as it is not going to affect any finances if only 10 teams participate in 2015. I hope I am wrong. I hope that ECB will come to the rescue of Ireland. I still can't understand what is the logic behind exclusion of 'Associate Nations' when we are trying real hard to spread cricket to new nations.

    --Indian

  • Comment number 65.

    I for one will never again support ANY match sanctioned by the ICC and as an avid cricket fan this means that effectively I'll never watch another match at a higher level than my own village team.
    Some will say I'm stupid or childish for doing so, but I can never again trust the ICC because of what they are doing to destroy the 'world cup' and because of that I certainly can't give them a single penny of my own money.

    Goodbye cricket, I once (stupidly) thought that you were a sport above cheating, lying and corruption, that you thrived on fair play and decency, how wrong I was.

  • Comment number 66.

    Totally agree with you. It was a absolutely ridiculous and baseless decision made by the ICC. Wonder what they had to eat or rather drink before they had to made that decision!! I would agree that Ireland was one of the, probably "the" most entertaining and best cricketing team amongst the minnows. Chasing 328 was awe-inspiring, raw hitting and some classy batting by the Irish batsmen was a treat and so was their phenomenal fielding. Its a disgrace if they or for that matter even the Dutch don't play in the next world cup. Zimbabwe and Canada were to placid and flat.

  • Comment number 67.

    Yes it is collusion. The same way, we along with Australia and NZ and later SA colluded to control cricket for over 5 decades taking advantage of the Asian nations disunity. Now that it is happening against us, we are crying foul. Hypocritical of us.

  • Comment number 68.

    The ICC decision does nothing to the idea of globalising cricket. With such massive performances in the just-concluded WC Irish and the Dutch teams deserved fair treatment from the governing body. The title of the "world" cup now seems inapt. If the Asian block is behind this perfidy then I deeply regret their misdeed. The next WC can and must follow the EPL format to include more Associate nations to give the sport a global taste rather just the elite teams. A WC must reflect the whole globe where the game is played and who are able to send powerful teams which can compete with the best in business. I hold the Irish ire is absolutely just and they can resort to any legitimate source to redress this gross anomaly of rubbishing proven merit.

  • Comment number 69.

    I've always wondered why cricket and rugby have been so conspicuous by their absence at the Olympics, in my lifetime anyway. Here in baseballcentric Japan, they were dumbfounded to learn there will be no baseball at the London Olympics. Judging by the coverage of their World Champions in recent Games on all the television networks, surely baseball had become a staple, they had thought. The reality is, in global terms, baseball is a minority sport like cricket, but at least its showcasing on a world stage indicates an effort to embrace the weaker baseball nations, and attract new ones. On the contrary, this ICC decision re-inforces suspicions they are not interested in spreading the game, they don't want to register on the stock market, where their power will become diluted, they want to remain an exclusive private club in control of their own destiny, and this includes some member countries denying new member applicants the same consideration that enabled them to become members. Rather than the emancipation of a Cricket Commonwealth, we have the oppression of a Cricket Empire, which, if the ECB has supported this hypocrisy of the highest order, then I am ashamed, and urge them to reconsider and go back to the ICC. If it is the case, it's also difficult not to conclude that the ECB doesn't want the supply line of the cream of Irish talent brought to an end, with which there might be more of a spotlight on why English coaching isn't producing so many quality players per capita. Welcome to the Cricket Champions League.

    Surely it's possible to have a merit-based Test/ODI pyramid, like in English football. As things stand, it's like the old days, where the Football League re-elected itself.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    Total farce.
    Australia and to a lesser extent New Zealand don't want the hassle of having to arrange for 14 teams so they have successfully pushed for 10. The broadcasters don't want to worry about such meaningless matches as England v Netherlands or England v Ireland so they've pushed for 10 teams. The ICC don't want to rock the boat and thus have chosen the easy way out by "choosing" the 10 Full Members.
    Why is 12 teams impossible?
    4 groups of three, each playing each other twice leading to either two pools of four with semi-finals & final or leading to quarter finals. semis & finals. The need for a fixed number of matches for broadcasters would probably decide the final format.
    The third place teams in each group go into their own "Mini semi final & final series" for ONE automatic qualifying place to the next world cup.
    Seems an idea to me. Send your comments to the ICC, see if they respond!

  • Comment number 73.

    I think the ECB should talk to the Irish, Scottish and (possibly) Dutch boards to discuss a merger so that anyone qualified to play for one of these teams could play for the side. Afterall, the West Indies is a disparate group of independent nations playing for one team, so why couldn't our boards follow their example? Of course "England" would have to be renamed to something acceptable to all, which might be far too controversial, but it's a small price to pay if it enables the genuine talent in Northern Europe to get Test and ODI experience.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    a) Read the ICC's Strategic Plan, available on their website.
    b) When you've finished throwing up, choose a quote which makes obvious their (alleged) support for the advancement of cricket in associate countries.
    c) Copy and paste the quote into an e-mail, with your own choice comments, and send it to enquiry@icc-cricket.com - ideally demanding an answer.

    No point just complaining on here!

  • Comment number 76.

    Totally agree Oliver.

    Of the many bad decisions the ICC has made in recent years, this has to be the worse. In fact it is a disgrace.

    One of the ICC's main reasons for being should be to promote and expand the game to new territories - this decision suggests that completely the opposite.

    Greed, arrogance, unfair and just plain wrong. Irish cricket is now dead in the water and what about Afghanistan? Their rise to the top of the Associate nation list along with Ireland has been an inspiring and uplifting story. They would undoubtedly have qualified for the next World Cup and the ICC should be ashamed of its dreadful decision.

    Time for a boycott of the World Cup?

    As you can see we feel quite strongly about this...

    Arrogant ICC takes the magic out of the World Cup by killing the Associates http://bit.ly/fAm75v


  • Comment number 77.

    @50 - thanks for the linked story,
    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/507080.html

    For anyone who hasn't read it, one tract serves to show how much of a bad decision, by the ICC, this is for Ireland.

    "The homegrown (Irish) talent is now to the fore - nine of the side that played Netherlands were born in Ireland, compared to two native-born players in the opposition.
    The arrival of Morgan (replacing Kevin Pietersen) meant there were more men born in the 32 counties (of Ireland) at the World Cup than those born in England."

    Perhaps that's two things that the ECB would like to NOT make comment upon?

  • Comment number 78.

    I can't really get int the rights and wrongs for Ireland specifically but I do think the World Cup in its current format is a joke- too many matches over too long a period. Its as if the authorities have been looking for reasons to stretch the whole thing out as much as possible in disregard of the other commitments cricketers and cricket teams have. It's just to cumbersome, too long, as it stands.

    Getting rid of the minnows is one way to do that. Bear in mind that the composition of the last 8 is generally pretty much as we'd expect despite any heroics and the odd unusual result en route. So its not as if this decision is costing the minnows a realistic chance of a win or even a place. But there are other ways of achieving the same ends. Making the entire competition knockout would get the number of matches down a lot and would inevitably result in some surprises. Having a "pre" competition amongst seeds 7-14, top 4 going through, is another way to unclutter the main competition that continues to give minnows a chance.

  • Comment number 79.

    Don't know why everyone is suddenly getting upset? England doesn't care about taking Ireland's best players...and even sending them back. Imagine if Ireland had Morgan at this WC ??? So ICC hasn't really cared about Irish cricket for a while.

  • Comment number 80.

    @77 its even stranger than that!

    if Dubliner Eoin Morgan had not been ruled out of the England squad by injury, there could have been as many as 10 Irishmen on the field at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium - and only six English-born players." As it was there were only 9 all playing for Ireland!

    @78 yes I can see how reducing the competition from 14 to 10 participants and throwing out any vestiges of fairness from the competetion will make things far less cumbersome

    Group stage (10*9)/2 = 45 matches
    semi final = 2 matches
    Final 1 match

    fantastic achievement reduce down by 4 teams and that will make 2015 only 48 matches instead of the long boring 49 match world cup we have just had.

    And remember you can only play 1 match a day on all but 2 or 3 days of the competition and all Indias matches MUST be played on a weekend to boost the viewing figures.

  • Comment number 81.

    Why not have a 16 team World Cup with 4 groups of four and top two going through to quarter-finals? Essentially, the same format as the football European cup. This way there are fewer first round matches (I think we can all admit that the last world cup was much better in the knockout stages); it gives the associate teams a chance to play; there will still be at least one 'top' match per group if they are seeded based on the previous world cup.
    e.g. Group A: India, England, Ireland, Canada
    Group B: Sri Lanka, Australia, Zimbabwe, Kenya
    Group C: Pakistan, S. Africa, Netherlands, Bermuda
    Groups D: New Zealand, West Indies, Bangledesh, Scotland

  • Comment number 82.

    In recent years cricket has regressed in a few countries (specifically looking at the West Indies), and this is the time that ICC should be looking to bring other countries into the various tournaments and spread the sport. Look at the World Cups in Football and Rugby Union which seem to get bigger and bigger every year, without the lack of quality going down.

    African nations have grown in status over the last decade in football and countries like Italy & Argentina in Rugby Union are no longer the whipping boys they were once, so why does cricket seem to have it in for countries like Netherlands, Ireland and Afganistan, which have perfect ties with Full ICC members South Africa, England and Pakistan, and are gettin better every tournament both in ability and results.

    Just another step backwards for cricket when with the momentum of Australia vs England, South Africa vs India and this World cup of the last 6months should be pushing the game forward, and yet the powers take a step backwards. =(

  • Comment number 83.

    Most of Ireland didn't even know they were in a world cup until they beat England

  • Comment number 84.

    For the record, I won't miss the associates at the world cup. There must be better ways of improving their standards, rather than have them lingering around getting hammered every 4 years

  • Comment number 85.

    #81, Jonno

    Multiple reasons. You *could* have 4 groups of 4 if each side played the others in its group twice (as happened in 1983 and 1987). That way you avoid sides of high marketing value being eliminated because they have had a bad day or two. However, you don't decrease the number of games and you increase the number of "nothing matches" (i.e. each small team plays the other one in its group twice) that won't make money, so that will not be acceptable.

    Now, of course, you could do what England did when they hosted the World Cup in 1983 and take some of the smaller matches to out grounds (for example, the crowd at Tunbridge Wells got to see what was probably one of the most remarkable games in World Cup history), but more venues means more expense. Or you could do what was standard in the early World Cups and play two or even three games each day save for the semi-final and Final, but that is also unacceptable now, it seems, because it means less TV and marketing revenue (3 Group matches per day and two Quarter Finals being played each day).

    Whatever format is proposed, you can guarantee that neither the number of games, nor the length of the tournament will reduce significantly because there is no real interest in reducing the number of games that India and Pakistan will play or taking a risk that they fail to qualify for the lucrative second phase. With the high jinks in Group B in this last World Cup, we tend to forget that Group A was about as exciting as watching paint dry, with the only real interest the manoeuvering to try to qualify in the right position to get an easy Quarter Final!!

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    When this year's RWC was given to NZ, they wanted to cut the teams from 20 to 16. Thankfully sense prevailed. Now, the CWC wants to cut the number of teams from 16 to 10. For a competition in...NZ.

    Moral of the story?

    Don't give major sporting competitions to NZ, or indeed to any country, unless they promise to hold a full scale, proper competition.

  • Comment number 88.

    The right to play any sport at any level should be decided on the playing field, not in a boardroom. This ridiculous decision goes against every principle of sport in general. I hope the unanimous disgust against this decision continues until it is reversed.

    Kapang -
    #83 - you're probably right, but changing that is the whole point in including them in the World Cup.
    #84 - Ireland weren't hammered in any game, unlike Bangladesh (56oa v WI and 78oa) and Zimbabwe (10wkt loss to NZ, 139 run loss to SL)

  • Comment number 89.

    Getting hammered every 4 years? Have you seen Ireland play?

    I wonder what the ICC would do if all the associates withdrew from the twenty20 world cup at the last minute. The loss of revenue is language they can understand - the views of the cricketing community doesn't seem to be something they care about.

    I've been waiting to see how long it took for an article about this decision to appear in the media. The fact that it took 2 days for any media outlet to express opinion about something that is a blatant injustice speaks volumes.

    From a European perspective, it would have been wonderful to have the prospect of competitive cricket between local rivalries. It's one of the things the game is lacking in this part of the world. Consider the intensity of an Ireland-England game in the Six Nations. If a four nations tournament (England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland) could replicate something of that passion it could bring in a whole new set of supporters. Obviously we're a long way away from that at the moment, but without the ICC's determination to suppress associate development in smaller nations it would have been a tantalising prospect.

  • Comment number 90.

    OK then, let's do something about it. Why doesn't the ECB show some solidarity and sympathy and organize some mataches with Ireland. Even if not official they will be popular, well attended and supported and raise keep the issue on the radar.

  • Comment number 91.

    Allowing Zimbabwe - who recently have no pedigree in world cricket in but nore Ireland!?

    Surely the ICC should be trying to highlight cricket in these regions and not stifle it. its absolutely ridiculous and pathetic. Are these people really looking after the game or looking after themselves!?

    (no offense Zimbabwe!)

  • Comment number 92.

    If you're kidding yourselves that Ireland weren't hammered then that's up to you. It hasn't worked for the associates. Ireland were not that good in 2007, and not that good again here. More work needs to be done in between world cup years to make Irish cricket more competitive. If anything Bangladesh should be an example that simply playing the best teams for a number of years isn't enough

    As for Bangladesh, they are treated differently because their nation loves the sport, it has enormous following out there. Like I said, nobody in Ireland even knew there was a world cup going on.

    Zimbabwe as well have some history in test cricket to speak of, they have suffered badly under what has been going on in that country.


  • Comment number 93.

    89. At 10:30am on 7th Apr 2011, shame_on_icc wrote:

    Thats a good point, why dont the ECB look to promote cricket in Europe?

  • Comment number 94.

    It's criminal you can't expect Cricket to develop as a sport if your going to bar entry to certain teams just because they don't sit at the big boys table.

    Does anyone know the general reaction in the sub-continent, Aus/NZ, Windies and SA? This may sound slightly crass but I think the only reason we care is because Ireland beat us in the last world cup and we have close ties to them as a nation. We're not sticking up for the Netherlands who nearly beat us and have a truly world class player in Ryan ten Doeschate.

    If they weren't involved and we were talking about Canada and Kenya how many of us would actually care? We'd probably be thinking great a more competitive world cup. It's the wrong way to think about thing but its what we do,

    The format is fine (thank god for the removal of super8's!) and if they were playing two games a day with the minnow games taking a slot and a 'big' game in the other you'd probably not effect revenue that badly. The big problem is it takes 6 weeks to play! If that is non-negotiable with the TV people as appears to be the case (what idiot agreed to that?) less-Cricket really isn't the answer. I don't know what is what I suspect though is we'll get a pretty dull world cup next time around waiting a couple of days between games when there should be more than one game everyday.

  • Comment number 95.

    If a four nations tournament (England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland) could replicate something of that passion it could bring in a whole new set of supporters. Obviously we're a long way away from that at the moment, but without the ICC's determination to suppress associate development in smaller nations it would have been a tantalising prospect.

    ==

    I'd love to know where you expect England to shoehorn this sort of tournament into their schedule, have you seen how much cricket they play? Why should England play this big a role in hoping to raise standards in these other nations - you need proper investment, proper infrastructure, not some silly 4 nations tournament that will be won by England every year.

  • Comment number 96.

    Is this discrimination, for this is just is too ridiculous to be not considered discriminatory does the ICC know how many irish people there are in Australia it seems to me something very sinister is afoot here. This should be fought it is against the integrity of the game. Well done Ireland in this tournament, for a change someone broke the predictability of the first round. Bad choice! This really should be fought, I think it is a horrendous decision. Hell if Ireland hosted the tournament the the bowling pitch would at least be green.

  • Comment number 97.

    for a change someone broke the predictability of the first round. Bad choice!

    ==

    It was Bangladesh who were much closer to qualification than Ireland, and yet the Irish are saying Bangladesh are getting favouritism

    Ireland wouldn't be able to host it, there is nowhere to play the games

  • Comment number 98.

    Kapnag, not sure what tournament you were watching in 2007, but Ireland beat two full members and tied against a third, all ranked well above them. They lost only one game in the Group stage. Not bad for debutants.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    One game in the group stage, 6 in the super 8's. They beat Pakistan which was more to do with Pakistan being Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

    All other super 8 results were heavily one sided. Granted England weren't much better, but then England had been a poor ODI side for some time before that, and were on the back of that 2007 ashes series.

 

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