Minnows outrage as ICC cuts WC teams to 10

Updated: Apr 06, 2011, 00:03 AM IST

Zeecric Bureau

London: Enraged by the ICC`s decision to cut the number of teams in the 2015 World Cup to 10, the Irish cricket authorities and captain William Porterfield said the move is an "absolute disgrace" and damaging to the game.

The ICC cut the number of teams at the 2015 World Cup from 14 to 10 yesterday, dealing a blow to teams such as Ireland, Holland and Canada as they would not have a chance to qualify for the event.

A qualification process will, however, be held for the 2019 edition.

"It`s an absolute disgrace and I don`t know how they can even comprehend doing this. We have done everything they asked of us over the last few years in terms of restructuring Irish cricket and I can`t come to terms with how they can just shut us out, do away with the qualification period and then try and call this a World Cup," Porterfield was quoted as saying in the media.

"We are currently ranked 10th, ahead of Zimbabwe, and there is no reason we can`t move up another position, if not two, by the next World Cup. Instead, the door has been closed in our face. It is an embarrassment.”

"I don`t know what else we had to do in the World Cup, we held our own against the full members, we beat England, we got the fastest ever hundred. For them to turn around and throw that back in our face a few weeks later is an absolute joke," he fumed.

Porterfield also ridiculed the logic that expanding the World Twenty20 Championships to 16 teams would be of any consolation to the associates.

"To come out and try to cover things up by saying there are going to be 16 teams at the World Twenty20 is ridiculous," Porterfield said.

"They say it`s a compensation but I can`t agree with that because it is every player`s dream to play at and win a World Cup. Everyone in the cricketing world can see they are shutting the door on not only a lot of players, but also on the development of world cricket.”

"It`s not just about Ireland. This could mean the death of cricket in a lot of countries...and all because a few full members are looking to make a few extra quid from the competitions," he added.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said he was left outraged by the ICC`s decision.

"We`re outraged by the decision today. We`re not taking it lying down. It`s a betrayal of sporting principles and it flies in the face of all the evidence we saw at the World Cup, which was that an associate nation could compete with the best teams in the world," he said.

"It`s baffling but am I surprised? Not really, because clearly there are instances where protection of existing privileges is considered more important than any other principle - including those of sport, fairness and equality," he added.

Delhi-born Canadian cricket team captain Ashish Bagai also appeared dismayed at the exclusion of associate members, including Canada and Ireland, from the next two World Cups by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"It is very disappointing for players and associate member countries. You cannot work for something (cricket) if there is no incentive. We were improving very fast on the highest stage of cricket,`` said the 29-year wicketkeeper-batsman.

He said Canada and other associate members should have been given more opportunities to play cricket at the highest level to develop their sport.

Despite his disappointment over their exclusion form the next two World Cups, the Canadian captain was hopeful that the ICC will arrange "a regular competition with better sides to raise our standards.

"If we are given the opportunity to play against better sides over the next few years, we will improve a lot. But if there is no such thing, then there will no incentive for players to do better.``

He said Canada will soon formally request the ICC - which currently provides most of funding for Canadian cricket - for organizing such competitions.