Ireland to lobby ICC over World Cup numbers
Nick Royle (Times Ireland)
Cricket Ireland [CI] will lobby the International Cricket Council to re-examine their decision to limit the World Cup to 10 teams at the next ICC board meeting in March 2018.
The ICC voted to reduce the tournament from 14 teams to 10 teams at an April 2011 board meeting, just a month after Ireland's famous World Cup victory over England in Bangalore.
The ICC subsequently opted to retain the 14-team format for the 2015 tournament in Australia and New Zealand, following intense lobbying from the second-tier associate nations, but will revert to their original 10-team plan for the 2019 and 2023 editions.
Cricket Ireland were promoted to Full Member and Test status in June, and CI chief executive Warren Deutrom is keen to use his new influence at board level to promote the interest of the 92 associates members.
“We have only had one board meeting since we became a Full Member, so the subject of the World Cup hasn't come up yet,” Deutrom said.
“But we want our colleagues in the associate world to know that we still think a 10-team World Cup is wrong, and that view hasn't changed just because we have been awarded Full Member status.”
Only the top-eight ranked sides will qualify automatically for the 10-team World Cup, leaving the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland to compete against the top associates in March's qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe for the two remaining places at England 2019.
The ICC is keen to retain the ten-team format, which increases the tournament's value to its broadcast partners by guaranteeing nine matches for the sport's financial powerhouses India, Australia and England.
Deutrom doesn't expect the ICC to vote on future World Cup formats for some time, but says he intends to continue to lobby his colleagues at March's meeting, which is expected to take place in Dubai.
“I understand a key ICC objective is to bring in as much money as possible to help spread the game, and guaranteeing high-profile members a minimum number of games helps boost the broadcast rights,” he continued.
“But setting up an event to ensure that the financially-strong nations get through doesn't sit well with me.
“You should set it up based on seeding and see how the cards fall.”