Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan on Wednesday said International Cricket Council (ICC) should help its associate members establish strong domestic cricket structures so that they can be a competitive force in big tournaments such as the World Cup.
"I don`t think associate teams like Kenya, Canada or Holland can come up and seriously challenge the bigger teams unless they have proper domestic cricket structures. “
"The ICC should be helping these teams establish proper domestic networks that is how they will get quality players and also learn the art of playing competitive cricket," Imran, the 1992 World Cup winning captain, said.
He said associate members can upset the stronger teams once in a while when conditions favour them.
"That is why the upsets take place when conditions are not normal like in 2007 when conditions favored the Irish team. But in proper cricketing conditions it is unlikely you will see an associate team beat a full member," he added.
The ICC has ignited a debate in the cricket world after chief executive Haroon Lorgat said recently that in the next World Cup just 10 teams may compete instead of the 14.
Lorgat`s statement has sparked fears that associate teams will get less chances to play against the bigger teams.
Imran said the ICC must pay more attention to help associate nations improve their domestic structure as this was the first requirement for any country to become a top cricket nation.
The former captain said many of the matches in the group stage of the ongoing World Cup were one-sided.
"The ICC must look at ways to keep the World Cup competitive in every match. In this tournament I see the real fun starting when the quarter finals take place," he said.
But the former great appreciated the move by the ICC to change the format of the World Cup from the one they used in 2007.
"In that tournament, just one bad match cost Pakistan and India heavily and the tournament lost lot of glamour and money. But in this format even if a team is upset it can always comeback in the group stages," he said.
Imran had no doubt that Pakistan would feel the absence of Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamir in the World Cup.
"If these two had been available Pakistan would have been top favorite from even amongst India and Sri Lanka," he said.