Think of Ireland and sport, and what normally comes to mind is either rugby union, or Roy Keane complaining about sandwiches. But after their national side’s spirited performance in the World Cup, it’s cricket which has the put the emerald isle in the sporting spotlight. Specifically, their omission from the next shindig in 2015.
The ICC confirmed over the weekend that only the ten full test nations will compete in four years’ time, and there’ll be no reversal of their original decision to remove the four places for Associate sides. They offered no explanation whatsoever for their stance.
Understandably, the news has left the Irish seething. “We won’t be taking this lying down, we will continue to fight this and we don’t believe this is a dead issue yet”, says Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom.
“The chairman of the associates has sent a memo out to all 95 non-Test playing countries to notify them of the decision and to say the six elected representatives who sit on the two main ICC committees will be liaising over the coming days to talk about the course of action we need to take.”
“I would think that (legal action) would be a long way down the track. But we do have to determine if the ICC has acted in concert with its memorandum and articles. I don’t believe the ICC or its directors would act in an illegal fashion but we have to determine whether or not what has transpired is in the best interests of the sport. There is fidelity to one’s memo and articles and that’s one thing, but there is also fidelity to the principles of sport.”
You have to feel for Ireland. Not only did were they far more competitive in the World Cup than Zimbabwe, whose position for 2015 is safe – they are ranked above them in the ODI table.
And the exclusion of the Associate sides will not mean a shorter tournament. As we understand it, the ICC are committed in their TV contract to providing the same number of fixtures. So the ten test teams will simply play each other more often.
As ever with the ICC, they have managed to upset everyone, please no one, and ruin the appeal of their product.
I think it is a disgraceful decision by the ICC; for all the flack FIFA and to a lesser extent the IRB get, at least both of these organisations understand the importance of growing the game and taking competitions to new locations. The ICC have effectively closed the world game to the top 10 countries with no opportunity for Ireland or Afghanistan to continue their recent improvements. The ECB need to take action and ensure increased participation by Scotland and Ireland in domestic cricket to try and prevent the game stagnating.
The problem with the recent world cup was not number of teams but number of venues and associated scheduling. How can you justify a competition when you play one game in 13 days, have Canada vs Kenya on a standalone day of competition or have to spend 12 hours travelling between games? Multi country competitions never work and bar the West Indies, future competitions should be held in one country with limited number of venues, all teams playing every 2 to 3 days and 4 associate teams participating with a view to increase the number of teams.
My proposal would be the top 6 teams in the world qualify for two groups of 4 with the top 2 in each group going to the semi finals. The remaining two places are determined by teams 7 to 10 in the world rankings and top 4 in World League Division 1 in two groups of 4 with only the winners qualifying and games played in the week before the main competition whilst the top 6 teams are playing their warm up games. Whilst the number of games would increase, the preliminary round could have 4 games a day across two pairs of venues and therefore produce a more compact competition.
Re only having one host nation. That would mean either Bangladesh, NZ and Zimbabwe hosting an entire world cup, or never getting to host any of it at all.