April 6th, 2011
08:17 AM ET

Will ICC's World Cup decision harm international cricket?

Scenes like these, after minnows Ireland beat England in the 2011 Cricket World Cup, may not be seen in the event again.
Scenes like these, after minnows Ireland beat England in the 2011 Cricket World Cup, may not be seen in the event again.

Every major tournament has its memorable moment, an occasion when the plucky underdog pulls off an unexpected victory against a giant of the game. It is all part of the unforgettable drama that only an international sporting event can produce.

The football game that goes into extra time and penalties, the fifth set in a gladiatorial tennis encounter, or the cricket match that comes down to the last ball.

It’s what makes sport unpredictable, exciting and addictive.

Unfortunately it seems that is not a view shared by cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council.

It is under the impression that it would be much more fun to ban the minnows, making sure the chance of any genuine sporting drama is reduced to a bare minimum.

The ICC has decided to reduce the number of teams at the next World Cup to just 10 - the member nations, who compete in international Tests.

This is both an insult to the countries that will be shut out, and a move that will set the game’s development back for years.

Can you imagine FIFA adopting a similar approach? Even the men who want to stage football’s World Cup in a desert are not foolish enough to reduce the number of matches, and therefore revenue, exposure and marketing opportunities from their prized tournament.

One of the nations being unceremoniously dumped from the competition is Ireland, a team which produced such wonderful performances in India last month, including a victory over England off the back of a fine century by Kevin O’Brien.

To add insult to injury, Ireland’s successful tournament means they are now actually ranked higher in the one-day game than member nation Zimbabwe - another statistic which is clearly irrelevant to the wise men of the ICC.

The Irish authorities have used every adjective imaginable to describe their anger and frustration about the team’s exclusion from the next competition. They say it will seriously damage the development of the game.

And that is the biggest crime.

The ICC has managed to turn the post-tournament euphoria into anger and recrimination. It is, in both PR and sporting terms, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. At a time when those who run cricket should be seeking to capitalize on a wave of fresh interest in the sport, they have instead done their level best to ensure the game will suffer in the ‘smaller’ cricketing countries.

This negative move will hit the game harder with every passing year as fickle fans hungry for success will turn to other sports, run by organizations with smarter and more coherent strategies to engage international sports enthusiasts.

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Filed under:  Cricket
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. konway87

    In Citizen Kane, Charles Foster Kane uses the word "Money Mad Pirates." I think that is the best word for ICC. Today, ICC also has another nickname from many cricket fans – Incompetent Cricket Board.

    ICC is tarnishing the talents of many cricket players like Kevin Obrien, Niall Obrien, George Dockrell, and many other players. These incompetent buffoons act like they know everything about cricket. But they don't know anything about it. If this stupid decision stays, then the cricket will go down completely. Thanks to Internet, many people are reading these news the moment they are published.

    I am an Indian. I am outraged by this decision.

    April 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  2. Vinod

    ICC's decision is one that of a narrow minded one... The body which is supposed to spread the game is killing the game. First of all ICC is itself to blame for any poor show of the associate countries..One can't expect them to play well directly at the World Cup without any exposure. But with those constraints, Ireland did exceptionally well, in fact better than some of "test playing" countries.

    ICC must realize its mistake and must allow Ireland and other associate countries to have way to qualify to the ODI World Cup or else just scrap the World Cup if the only motive is money and greed!

    April 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  3. Vinod

    This decision of ICC must be strongly protested.! Also the qualification of playing ODI World Cup is not by becoming a ODI status country but rather by becoming a test playing country..How bizarre is that ?

    April 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Reply

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