ICC reverse World Cup decision
Ireland's cricketers have been handed a route back into the next World Cup after the International Cricket Council reversed their decision to omit the Associate countries.
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
The ICC have agreed to include four Associate nations, in addition to the 10 full members, for the 2015 tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
That means the next World Cup will remain as a 14-team competition, despite criticism that this year's event was too long.
The ICC's u-turn represents a significant boost for Ireland, who will now be strongly expected to qualify for their third consecutive World Cup, after establishing themselves as the best-performed Associate nation in recent years.
In addition to the decision on the 2015 World Cup, which was made at the ICC's annual conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday, it was also agreed that the next two World twenty20 tournaments would be reduced back to 12 teams.
"The ICC executive board reversed its previous 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)," an ICC statement read.
"The board had previously decided in October 2010 that the ICC Cricket World Cup would comprise a 10-team event and that the ICC World Twenty20 events would involve 16 teams."
The ICC also revealed the 2019 World Cup would be a 10-team tournament, with their rankings system used to determined the first eight direct entries. A qualification tournament will then be held to determine the final two teams to fill the numbers.
"In addition, the board confirmed that the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 would be a 10-team event with the top eight in the Reliance ICC rankings earning their qualification automatically with the remaining two places being decided by a qualification competition," the statement added.
The news will be welcomed by Ireland, and fellow Associates such as Scotland and Holland, who had been left aggrieved when the ICC confirmed the next World Cup would be restricted to the 10 full-member nations.
Cricket Ireland's public disapproval found support from large parts of the cricket community, after the Irish had proved their ability to compete on the highest stage in the sub-continent - most notably beating England.
The widespread condemnation led ICC president Sharad Pawar to call for a review of the decision.
The growing support for the Associates' plight had meant that the u-turn was not unexpected, although the allocation of four direct entry places was.
It had been thought that if the Associates were to be granted a route back into the World Cup, it would be via a qualification tournament, with the winner fitting into a 10-team tournament.