ICC press releases are a strange beast. Sometimes badly written, containing atrocious grammar and occasional factual errors, they can often be written in such a way that they seem positive but underneath the surface are quite the opposite. That is to say, they are more interesting in what they don't say than what they do say.

This was definitely the case for the ICC's press release on how qualification for the 2025 Women's ODI World Cup will work. The two big ticket announcements were the granting of women's ODI status to five associate members - which this column will mostly concentrate on - plus the expansion of the Women's ODI Challenge to 10 teams.

This latter piece of information was already known but what wasn't known is that rather than all ten teams playing each other, the ten teams will only play eight series each - four at home and four away. In what can only be an amazing coincidence, India will not play against Pakistan thus saving the ICC the awkward quandary of how to punish the BCCI for refusing to play Pakistan in a bilateral series.

But on to the main point of this column - the five ODI associates. The teams granted ODI status are Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand and USA. Having more teams being able to play ODIs is definitely a good thing. There is the question of why don't we just let everyone play ODIs as we do for T20Is but that's another topic for another time. Instead, there are six questions that need answering that aren't covered by the press release.

1. How were these teams decided?

Four of these teams were at - or scheduled to be at in the case of PNG - the abandoned World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. Scotland weren't, but are ranked 13th in the ICC's T20I rankings. Thailand are 10th in those rankings with PNG coming in at 14th.

But the Netherlands and the USA are 20th and 27th respectively, so if we're granting teams ODI status on their T20I rankings then what about China, Germany, Kenya, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Namibia who are all ranked higher than the USA, and UAE, Nepal, Samoa, Tanzania and Uganda, who are all also ranked higher than the Netherlands?

And for that matter, why five associates and not eight as in the men's game? This gives us 16 teams with ODI status (excluding the non-existent Afghanistan team that technically also has ODI status) as we had with the men's game until 2019. Zimbabwe are the other team with ODI status that sits outside the ODI Championship.

The five teams seem to have been decided on a combination of one-day and T20 performance, with the USA being a long term pet project of the ICC also likely being a factor. And then we have the next question...

2. Is this status permanent, and if not how do the teams lose it?

The announcement makes no mention of how long this ODI status lasts. In men's cricket we know that it's (roughly) four years with teams able to lose or retain it at the end of that four year period. With no apparent pathway events (more on that soon) there appears to be no way for teams to be "relegated" from ODI status. Will teams have to maintain a T20I ranking in order to retain their ODI status? Or will, as I suspect, the ICC make things up as they go?

3. Will the ICC arrange any matches for these teams?

This was notable by its absence from the press release. Five associates plus Zimbabwe makes a nice number for a World Cricket League style tournament that can run as a sort of second division to the ODI Championship. But instead it appears that the teams will be left to themselves to organise fixtures as they attempt to gain one of two spots at the qualifier available to the ICC rankings.

And if a team has one of those two spots and we're nearing the end of cut-off point, are they going to risk playing a team lower in the rankings?

Arranging fixtures is likely to come easier to some than others. Scotland and the Netherlands will likely play each other a lot, possibly also getting matches against Ireland and perhaps teams touring England. The ICC will no doubt be keen to get teams playing in the US alongside a tour to the West Indies.

There is a remote possibility of teams touring Australia fitting in a match against Papua New Guinea. Thailand have no nearby full member but have showed some initiative recently by touring South Africa and Zimbabwe.

As we see in the men's game though, unless they are forced to, full members rarely play associate members in ODIs. And associates where the game is mostly amateur often find it difficult to play many matches outside the auspices of the ICC due to financial and work constraints.

Without an ICC event for these teams, it may be difficult for all of these teams to even play enough games to even get on the ranking table.

4. What about pathway events?

The press release description of the qualification pathway makes it abundantly clear that there are no regional pathway events as part of qualification for the next World Cup. The only teams able to qualify will be the 16 (17 if we count Afghanistan) teams with ODI status.

This is a major step back from the 37 teams that were theoretically able to qualify for the World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year and is fewer teams than could qualify for the 2009 World Cup, the first run by the ICC. And the ICC expect us to believe that this represents a growing of the game!

This brings us nicely to our next question...

5. How can other teams get ODI status?

In the absence of pathway events the only way for teams to qualify for ODI status will be via the T20I rankings. But as we've seen, there are several teams already ranked above the USA which suggests that, despite what the ICC may tell us, their rankings are not suitable for deciding this.

Perhaps then, this is it. These are the only associates that will ever be granted ODI status. Or there will maybe be some esoteric criteria along similar lines to those for full membership that the ICC can always overlook if they want you in the club.

6. Are we seeing a preview of the future men's qualification pathway?

Ever since the ICC announced that T20I was the global growth period I have feared a time when one-day cricket becomes restricted in the same way multi-day cricket is. This seems to be happening with women's cricket, so could it also happen with men's cricket?

We already know that the one-day league will be ditched as part of the 2027 qualification pathway with teams instead qualifying on rankings. Ten teams qualifying by rankings and ten more in a qualifier gives us the 20 current ODI teams. Like the women's pathway for 2025, could that be it for the men's pathway too?

Maybe I'm reading too much into this and the ICC won't be doing that. But history suggests that I'm right to be cynical.