Hong Kong: Under fire for its move to restrict the World Cup to 10 teams, the ICC on Tuesday reversed its decision on excluding the Associate nations for the 2015 event which will now comprise 14 teams.
The 2019 World Cup will, however, see only 10 teams with the top eight in ICC rankings getting automatic entry and the remaining two spots being filled up through a qualification tournament.
The decision was taken by the ICC`s Executive Board on the third day of its annual conference here.
"The ICC Executive Board today reversed its previous decisions and approved a 14-team format for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 to be held in Australia and New Zealand and a 12-team format for the ICC World Twenty20 events in 2012 (Sri Lanka) and 2014 (Bangladesh)," the ICC said in a statement.
"The ICC Board opted to retain the 14-team format that was used at the highly successful and universally acclaimed ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka with the 10 Full Members being joined by four Associate or Affiliate qualifiers," the statement said.
The ICC in April had decided to restrict the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand to top 10 nations only, much to the dismay of the associate nations like Ireland and the Netherlands who strongly protested the decision.
Regarding the 2019 edition, the ICC said it would be "a 10-team event with the top eight in the ICC rankings earning their qualification automatically with the remaining two places being decided by a qualification competition."
This decision keeps the door open for the Associate Nations to qualify for the 2019 World Cup from the qualification round if they can beat the lower-ranked Full Members.
It was also in line with ICC`s decision in October last year that all Members would be given an opportunity to participate in the 2019 World Cup through a qualification process.
The ICC Executive Board retained the 12-team format for the Twenty20 World Cup in 2012 and 2014, reversing its October 2010 decision to have 16 teams.
"ICC World Twenty20 in 2012 and 2014 will now remain as 12-team events (10 Full Members and two Associate/Affiliates), which has been the format for the ICC World Twenty20 events since its inception in 2007," the ICC statement said.
Following a presentation on the Reliance ICC Rankings system by statistician David Kendix, who devised and operates the system on behalf of the ICC, the Executive Board has confirmed that the ICC Rankings are suitable for use in determining qualification for ICC global events, subject to any regulatory amendments necessary to protect the integrity of the system.
The Board also confirmed the introduction of the promotion/relegation system previously agreed.