The Cricket World Cup, which just finished with India running out winners, was a fantastic event by all accounts (I’m not a cricket watcher but I keep up to date with the scores online): Many highly exciting matches with England providing the most inconsistent show of all the teams involved, but one the biggest stories was the impact of the non-test playing nations, or non-full ICC member nations, and in particular Ireland.
Ireland beat England convincingly and have many players now playing in England at the highest levels, and having beaten Pakistan at the last World Cup, are clearly developing into a force to be reckoned with in one-day cricket, the format of the game played at the World Cup. Cricket is developing into new nations, and surely this is a really good thing for the sport, particularly given the very narrow number of nations that take part?
Well, if you thought so, you reckoned against the governing bodies of the sport who decided that the next World Cup in 2015 will exclude Ireland and three other non-full-ICC members (Netherlands, Kenya and Canada) and run with just 10 entrants (the full ICC members) – no qualification required for them. As a pap, in the World Cup after that, there will be qualification for the 10 places.
This happens at a time when other major tournaments like the football (soccer) World Cup (up to 32 teams from 24 in 1998) and European Championships (up to 32 from the next time out) are expanding.
There’s more comment on this on the BBC by Oliver Brett, and it appears that cricket’s world governing body (the ICC) didn’t bother to explain why the World Cup will exclude so many fresh and vibrant new faces from the next World Cup, instead choosing to focus on the achievements of the World Cup that just finished (one of the achievements being the fastest century ever recorded in one-day cricket – by, of all people, an Irishman).
There seems little to say in praise of this decision. It can’t be made in an attempt to broaden the appeal of cricket to millions more people worldwide since it denies them the chance to take part in the game’s show piece. It is really hard to think it is not a self-serving decision made by an outdated and archaic world governing body – the old nations, scared by the new nations, protecting themselves. It can’t be for the good of the game.