This has been the worst two weeks in the history of associate cricket. This may sound like hyperbole given the (still ongoing) impact of the Big Three reforms in 2014, but I truly believe it.

It started with the scrapping of the CWC Super League that I covered in last week's column, continued with the release of a remarkably hypocritical Global Growth strategy and the discovery of a sneaky rule change that stripped much of the Women's World Cup Qualifier of ODI status before concluding yesterday with the pathetic decision over how to progress teams from that tournament after it was cancelled due to travel bans imposed on much of Southern Africa after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant.

All of it exposes the flaws in the ICC's governance model, the flaws in their ranking system, the flaws in their allocation of status, their elitism and their outright discrimination when it comes to the women's game.

I have covered much of this several times since I started this column almost nine months ago, and it all came to a head with these recent decisions.

Just days after the cancellation of the CWC Super League, the ICC issued their "strategy for Global Growth" claiming that "the ICC will deliver competitive cricket with context for all Members". The hypocrisy was astounding.

There was talk of growing women's cricket. Of gaining "incremental" fans. Of getting more players through the "Criiio" programme. Of building cricket in associate members. A whole "strategic priority" for the USA. Of pursuing Olympic inclusion. If, like me, you've been following associate cricket for several years, you'll be getting a strong sense of deja-vu from all this.

In the same media release that announced the decision to move back to rankings to decide the "qualifiers" for the World Cup, the ICC also announced a decision to officially recognise first-class and List A status in women's cricket. This was done to, and I quote, "to align with the menís game". If aligning status with the men's game is the goal, then why was the decision to give all games in the World Cup Qualifier ODIs reneged on for the women's tournament, but apparently not the men's?

Why are there only 12 teams with ODI status (one of which doesn't even exist) in women's cricket when there are 20 in men's cricket? Why are men's World Cups bigger than women's World Cups?

The women's ODI World Cup will expand to 10 teams in 2029, the first such expansion since the ICC took over women's cricket from the IWCC in 2005, and still short of the peak number of teams under that organisation. The Women's T20 World Cup will expand to 12 teams in 2030, well short of the 20 that will be in the men's tournament from 2024.

The rate of growth is positively glacial. This isn't alignment with the men's game, it's outright gender discrimination. I have little doubt that if the Thailand men's teams was putting in the sort of performances the Thailand women's team has been doing over the last few years, they'd be knocking on the door of full membership. Recent results show that they're clearly on a par with Ireland and Zimbabwe in women's cricket, but are essentially denied ODI status because their men's team isn't up to scratch.

Whilst Ireland did earn ODI status at the 2017 Women's World Cup Qualifier, Zimbabwe were granted it earlier this year solely due to being a full member. Essentially because of the quality of their men's team.

And so this brings us the the early conclusion to the Women's World Cup Qualifier yesterday. As Thailand, who had already beaten two full member teams, were in the process of thrashing the USA and securing a place in the Super Six stage the ICC issued a media release stating that the tournament had been cancelled due to various countries issuing restrictions on travel from much of Southern Africa after the discovery of the omicron variant of Covid-19.

At this point it should be stated that there is currently little to no evidence that this variant originated in Southern Africa, with South Africa simply being the place it was first identified. Banning flights from Southern Africa and not other countries where the variant exists smacks of racism but such discussions are beyond the scope of this column.

What isn't beyond the scope of this column though is how the ICC decided to allocate places in the World Cup and the Women's Championship, the latter of which is newly expanded to ten teams. Regular readers of this column won't be surprised to hear that the ICC rankings were used. As discussed before this is fraught with difficulties, but even more so in the women's game.

At the cut-off point of 30th September, only five of the participating teams in this tournament were on the rankings. I'll assume that all readers see the problem with using them to decide five progressing teams. The low sample size problem with the men's T20I rankings is even more obvious when you look at the games that are counting towards them for the Ireland team - their three matches against New Zealand in June 2018, all of which were lost by over 300 runs.

This isn't to denigrate Ireland, just to show how useless the rankings are for determining qualification. The ICC found themselves in an unfortunate position to be sure, but they have chosen by far the worst possible solution to their problem. It is probably the only one that excludes Thailand who don't just deserve a place in at least the Women's Championship but had probably earned it too.

The reasons we are in this situation shouldn't need stating but for those who haven't been paying attention, as long as decision makers at the ICC make their decisions not for the betterment of the game as a whole but for short-term self-interested financial gain, this is always going to happen.

The ICC is well and truly and complete failure as a governing body for the sport. As much as I might criticise them, it pains me to say that. There are some good people at the ICC doing some great work. They are no doubt despairing at these decisions although they're unlikely to say so publicly. They're hamstrung by an attitude to associate cricket from the full members that ranges from disinterest at best to outright sabotage at worst.

Cricket is a great sport that deserves far better governance than it currently has. These past two weeks have highlighted that more than any other. A well governed sport would see how unfair this situation is and look at expanding the Women's Championship to include Thailand and Zimbabwe and possibly add a second division to ensure that more women's teams get regular 50-over matches. But as I said, this isn't a well governed sport, and I don't expect that to happen.

At this point in my column I'd normally round up some of the recent international action in the associate cricket world. Let's be honest though - what's the point?