London: The MCC World Cricket Committee, which includes former India captain Sourav Ganguly among others, feels the ICC's decision to limit the ODI World Cup to 10 teams is a "retrograde step" and detrimental to the sport's chances of finding a place in the Olympics.
The committee met at Lord's on July 13 and 14 -- the first gathering for new members Ganguly, Ricky Ponting and Ramiz Raja, and the last for outgoing members Rahul Dravid and Steve Bucknor.
"The ICC Cricket World Cup should be a twelve-team tournament The committee believes that the organisation of a ten-team ICC Cricket World Cup for 2019 and 2023 is a retrograde step that damages the potential for growth in cricket's developing nations," the committee said in a statement after the meeting.
"The committee urges the ICC Board to reconsider its position and take a decision that it believes is in the best interests of the global game. This would need to be done in the next twelve months for cricket to have a chance of being included in the 2024 Olympics.
"A preliminary qualification round could be held for the lower ranked Full Member teams and the top Associate nations, that wouldn't lengthen the tournament and would give more teams a chance to compete in the sport's best 50-over competition. The committee has asked ICC to look again at its decision to limit the numbers to only ten teams," it added.
The committee also recommended that every effort should be made to make cricket an Olympic sport.
"The Olympics is a fundamental opportunity for cricket - in both the men's and women's game - and with a global reach, such a presence would expose the game positively to new markets.
"Competing in an Olympic Games would be a huge opportunity for players, a massive boost to developing cricket nations and give much greater exposure for the sport to a new audience. Government funding in many countries is specifically linked to a sport's Olympic status, and cricket's inclusion would unlock investment to cricket's governing bodies in ICC Associate and Affiliate countries," it said.
However, the committee rejected the idea of four-day Tests to make the longer format more sustainable and instead favoured day-night Tests.
"The MCC World Cricket committee is not in favour of the introduction of four-day Test matches as a means to better market and schedule Test cricket. Committee has long been concerned for the future of Test cricket and fears that, left as it is, the longest form of the game will not survive.
"Whilst it would greatly aid cricket administrators to schedule four-day Tests - to guarantee a Thursday start with sufficient breaks in between matches - and may encourage the playing of positive, attacking cricket, there was concern that this proposed formula could not be applied universally, with match conditions and hours of daylight varying greatly between Test-playing nations. The committee was also concerned about the extra strain on players' bodies.
"The committee has long advocated that day/night Test cricket should be introduced, to help countries to better market the game and to try to arrest the decline in attendances seen in some areas of the world."