Chennai, March 5 (IANS) The chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has reiterated that the 2015 World Cup will be limited to 10 teams as against the current 14 as the governing body strives to “strike a balance between excellent competition and developing the sport”.
At a media interaction here Saturday, Haroon Lorgat justified the contentious move by saying that the sanctity of the quadrennial World Cup cannot be compromised by numbers.
The ICC, he said, was contemplating a new qualifying process to ensure that only the 10 best would play.
“The decision to go with 10 teams was very well thought through. We are discussing the merits and the process of qualification. It is a subject that is ongoing. We will consider that in ICC’s next Executive Council meeting.
“The object of the ICC is not related to the question of getting funds by holding World Cups. It is the balance we try to achieve between excellent competition and the development of the game.
“The Twenty20 format is used only for development of the game. Hence we have expanded that competition (World Cup) to 16 teams. We think if the qualification was to be the route through to the World Cup, then that will make a far better World Cup from a competitive point of view.
“In the future 50-over World Cup, you will see the best 10 teams playing and in the Twenty20 cricket that will be played every alternate year, the best 16,” he said.
Lorgat had said in a recent interview that the ICC was contemplating a cut-off for the number of teams that could directly qualify for the World Cup based on the ICC rankings, leaving those at the bottom of the top 10 to play the associate members to earn berths in the main tournament.
In the ongoing World Cup, the performances of the associate members have not exactly set the competition on fire. Teams such as Kenya, the Netherlands and Canada, besides full-members Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, are anything but consistently competitive.
However, Ireland stood up for the associate members with a stirring win against England to trigger fresh debate on the move to restrict the number of teams in the 50-over World Cup.