CRICKET Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith has criticised a decision to banish the sport’s emerging nations from the World Cup for the foreseeable future.
The game’s governing body ICC delivered a double whammy by restricting the next two World Cup tournaments to just 10 teams.
It had been expected that plans would be approved to reduce the number of competing teams for the 2015 event. But after a meeting in Mumbai yesterday, it was announced that the 2019 tournament, to be staged in England, will also consist of just 10 teams.
Smith said: “It is extremely disappointing news and it means it will now be at least eight years until associate countries can qualify for the World Cup. The recent World Cup in the sub-continent has just been hailed as a great success. There were four smaller nations competing and it was clear for all to see there were some very competitive games as well as Ireland’s win against England.
“The ICC needs to learn from other sports. You cannot truly have a World Cup unless all countries have an opportunity to participate.”
ICC officials claim they are catering for the smaller countries by expanding their Twenty20 World Cup to 16 teams. But Smith said: “The associates have said all along we welcome the chance to take part in Twenty20 but it should not be a buy-off.
“Twenty20 is a fantastic spectacle and a great way to grow the sport, but the preferred format for the smaller countries is to test themselves against the best is in 50-over cricket.”
The 2015 World Cup will be open only to the 10 Test-playing nations but a qualifying event will take place for the 2019 tournament.
Ireland captain William Porterfield has branded the decision as an embarrassment and a joke and warned it could kill the game in non-Test playing countries.
He said: “It’s an absolute disgrace. 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 to call this a World Cup.
“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.”