London: Newly-appointed West Indies coach Phil Simmons encouraged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to keep faith with Associates teams for the next World Cup.
The Trinidadian is coming off an eight-year stint with Ireland, including leading them to the last two World Cups where they made a significant impact despite failing to reach the second round, reports CMC.
With the ICC planning to reduce the complement of teams at the one-day showpiece event even further, Simmons believes marginalising Associate teams like Ireland would be a mistake.
“There shouldn't be a World Cup without Associates, and no disrespect to the others, but definitely not one without Ireland. I would hope ICC reassess because some of the best games at this World Cup have been played by the Associates. Other sports have at least 20 teams so why can't cricket have 14 teams regularly," Simmons said.
“We were saying the same at the end of the 2011 World Cup and the pressure wasn't half as much then as it is now. So I hope they reverse their decision and there will be 14 teams in the next World Cup.”
Ireland played outstandingly at the current World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, shocking the West Indies by four wickets in their opening game en route to winning three of their first four games.
They narrowly missed out on the second round, finishing level on points with Windies in fourth spot but with an inferior net run rate.
At the previous World Cup in India, Ireland also made headlines when they produced a superb run chase to shock England by three wickets in Bangalore.
Simmons praised the way Ireland played in the ongoing World Cup, especially the way they upset the West Indies.
“The players' attitude was superb throughout, fronting up to those big games. We left saying we needed to win three games and that's what we did. We just didn't allow for Pakistan beating South Africa,” Simmons explained.
“The West Indies game was massive. We knew we had to win the first game because it was the catalyst for the rest of the tournament. But you always have a chance, and I shouldn't be saying this, against West Indies early on and we took our chance.”
Simmons last week penned a three-year contract to coach West Indies, starting from the three-Test series against England next month.
Meanwhile, Australia will take on New Zealand in the World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.