Former International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed feels that although decision to curtail the number of teams for the next World Cup to 10 is justified, the associate nations should get a chance to qualify for the two spots during the 2015 edition Down Under.
Speed feels the developing cricketing nations like Ireland and the Netherlands “Should have the right to challenge for the last two spots.”
The former ICC boss revisits the blighted 2007 event in the West Indies in his new memoirs, ‘Sticky Wicket’, and while some of the tournament’s problems were beyond the ICC’s control he admits administrators “created a rod for our backs” by including six associate teams in the draw.
“(But) the contrary argument was that if we did not give the top associate teams incentives to improve and a chance to play on the biggest stage of all against the top sides, with the resultant chance of exposure for the game in their countries, then we were working against our own mantra of expanding the game,” Speed told Australian newspaper ‘Age’ in an interview.
During the 2007 edition in the West Indies, major draw cards India and Pakistan were punted from the tournament by Bangladesh and Ireland.
“We had made a large investment in the associate members and Ireland’s win (against Pakistan) and subsequent good performances, which took it onto the ODI Championship alongside the leading sides, vindicated our development program. From a commercial perspective, however, it was our worst—case scenario come to life.”
Ireland is ranked 10th in the world, ahead of Zimbabwe, and defeated England in one of the more memorable encounters of the World Cup just completed on the subcontinent. The Irish are considering legal action against the ICC and coach Phil Simmons declared the decision despicable.
“I’m afraid the next World Cup will be like the American World Series -- you are crowned World Champions but the world did not take part,” the former West Indies opener said. .
“Congratulations India on winning the last real World Cup.”
Meantime, Cricket Australia has acknowledged there is a mountain of work to be done to have the new Big Bash League up and running in December. A meeting between CA and state associations on Monday will address the prickly issue of private ownership but the system for recruiting players cannot be finalised until a dispute with the Australian Cricketers’ Association over a new pay agreement is resolved.
“Starting a tournament from scratch, including the creation of eight new teams with vibrant, modern identities, is not an easy task,” CA’s Mike McKenna said.