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ICC to reconsider World Cup format

NEW DELHI - The controversial decision to restrict the 2015 World Cup to only the 10 full members will be reconsidered by International Cricket Council’s (ICC) executive board in June, the governing body said on Tuesday. In an April 4 meeting in Mumbai, the board had decided to exclude all non-full members from the next World Cup and the move triggered a protest from second tier sides such as Ireland and the Netherlands.

“After receiving representations from the associate and affiliate members of the ICC, the ICC President Mr Sharad Pawar has decided to request the ICC executive board to revisit the issue in Hong Kong in June,” the statement read. “I have given this matter further serious thought and will request the board to consider this topic once more,” Pawar was quoted as saying in the statement. Fourteen teams competed in this year’s World Cup co-hosted by eventual champions India, runners-up Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The Feb 19-April 2 tournament featured numerous group matches in a format that many feared was vulnerable to corruptions. Ireland felt they had justified their presence in the tournament, where they upset England by producing the tournament’s highest ever successful run-chase. Cricket Ireland cautiously welcomed Tuesday’s announcement. “It’s a welcome development but it’s still the first step in a lengthy process because after all, it’s the same individuals having the same debate on the same issue. So clearly there needs to be some catalyst for a change of heart,” its chief executive Warren Deutrom told Reuters.

IRELAND ANNOYED: The length and format of the showpiece event — which lasted 43 days this year and featured several one-sided matches when test playing nations took on the second-tier sides — was criticised by many fans and pundits. By restricting the 2015 event to only the 10 full members, the ICC appeared to have addressed both issues. The governing body felt the non-test playing nations would be better off competing in the Twenty20 World Cup. Ireland were particularly annoyed with the proposal because they have been ranked 10th in the one-day world rankings for most of the last four years, ahead of full member nation Zimbabwe.

Many top players also said teams such as Ireland should be allowed to play in the World Cup so that they can continue to develop their skills against stronger opposition. Deutrom said the non-test playing nations would need to maintain the pressure on the ICC until the format was scrapped. “I would like to think that the decision has been revisited as a result of a reflection on their duty to the sport as a whole but I suspect the reaction and the condemnation has had something to do with it,” he added.

“We have to keep the public pressure up. I suspect the full members have been somewhat surprised by the reaction that has ensued following their decision, not just by the non-test countries but also by their current and former players.”