Hong Kong, June 28 (IANS) The International Cricket Council (ICC) in a U-turn Tuesday decided to allow the minnows to play only in the 2015 World Cup and restrict the 2019 edition to 10 teams.
The next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will have 14 teams, including four associates qualifying, and the 2012 and 2014 Twenty20 will remain a 12-team tournament with two coming through a weeding out process.
The ICC executive board confirmed that the 2019 World Cup will be restricted to only 10 teams, eight of whom will make it on the basis of the ICC rankings and the other two will have to fight it out with the associates to qualify.
The ICC relented from its earlier decision to restrict the entry to the next World Cup to ten teams and to increase the number of teams in the Twenty20 to 16, following a big hue and cry by the associates.
Both decisions were ratified by ICC’s executive board on the third day of the annual general meeting here following the recommendations made by the chief executive committee Monday.
Thus, the format for the next World Cup will remain the same as the one adopted in the edition played earlier this year in the sub-continent.
The World Twenty20 to be held in Sri Lanka (2012) and Bangladesh (2014) also will have an unchanged format -- 10 full members and two associates.
‘The ICC executive board today reversed its earlier decisions and approved a 14-team format for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 to be held in Australia and New Zealand and a 12-team format for the ICC World Twenty20 events in 2012 (Sri Lanka) and 2014 (Bangladesh),’ said the ICC in a release.
‘In Hong Kong today, the ICC executive board opted to retain the 14-team format that was used at the highly successful and universally acclaimed ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka with the 10 full members being joined by four associate or affiliate qualifiers,’ the ICC release said.
‘The ICC World Twenty20 in 2012 and 2014 will now remain as 12-team events (10 full members and two associate/affiliates), which has been the format for the ICC World Twenty20 events since its inception in 2007.’
‘In addition, the board confirmed that the World Cup in 2019 would be a 10-team event with the top eight in the ODI rankings earning their qualification automatically with the remaining two places being decided by a qualification competition.’
The news comes as a breather for a leading associate nation like Ireland who strongly objected to the 10-team World Cup, especially after a series of impressive performances in the last two World Cups. They had upset England and gave a couple of other full-member teams a scare in the 2011 World Cup.
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom, who had roundly criticised the ICC for dropping the associates earlier, was now ‘delighted’ with Tuesday’s board decision. ‘The board should be greatly commended in the first instance for agreeing to look again at the matter, and then for being courageous enough to review their original decision -- that isn’t easy,’ Deutrom was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
‘As for Ireland, we now have to get our heads down and try to qualify for it (2015 World Cup)!