ICC to stick with reduction to 10 teams for 2019 Cricket World Cup
Ireland set to battle it out for two places on offer at 2018 qualifier in Bangladesh
Australian captain Michael Clarke says his side have yet to peak at the Cricket World Cup despite beating India in the semi-final. Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty Images
The 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales looks set to go ahead with just 10 teams with the International Cricket Council set to rubber-stamp the reduction from 14 later this year according to chief executive Dave Richardson.
The ICC did an about turn on a reduction in sides for the present World Cup after a strong campaign from non-Test playing nations, one in which Ireland played a leading role.
And despite Ireland going desperately close to qualification for the quarter-finals in Australia and New Zealand, it now looks likely that they will have to be one of the two teams to come through a qualifying tournament to be held in Bangladesh in 2018, if they want to make it to a fourth straight 50-overs World Cup.
“The decision has been made, as we stand it’s a 10-team tournament at the next World Cup,” Richardson said on Thursday.
“We’ve also got the Cricket World Cup qualifier, which has been upgraded and been granted a higher status. Any decision to change the number of teams that qualify will have a knock-on effect for that qualifying tournament.
“There are lots of commercial implications to consider. We also need to have a look at the attendances at all the Associate games, what were the viewing figures, and see where they really stand.”
“To me the debate should be more about what are we doing for Associate member cricket to enable them to qualify for a World Cup, whether it’s an eight-team, 10-team, 12-team, 14- or 16-team. I think that’s where we’ve made the most progress,” he said.
“We want the World Cup to not just be window-dressing but a shop window for cricket at the highest level.”
Richardson hinted ICC money is more likely to be used to consolidate the likes of West Indies and Zimbabwe – two countries Ireland beat at the World Cup – while again looking at big markets such as the US, where previous attempts have failed to see any real progress on the international stage.
“Now we realise, let’s not spread ourselves our too thin, we’ve got full member countries, Zimbabwe being one, West Indies maybe, where we’ve got to be careful that they don’t fall off the ship,” he said.
“USA, as an example, is a country that has enormous potential. It has more players playing cricket in the USA than Zimbabwe and I think very close to the number playing in New Zealand.
“If UAE can qualify for the World Cup then there’s no reason why USA shouldn’t. So that’s going to be a focus for us in the next few years.”
Not yet peakedMichael Clarke
Steve Smith scored 105 to fire Australia to 328 for seven on their way to dethroning India with a 95-run victory at the SCG, giving the co-hosts a shot at a fifth title on Sunday.
“The boys played some outstanding cricket,” Clarke said. “Smithy was exceptional once again . . . I was really proud of the execution under pressure from our bowlers.
“Everybody chipped in, once again a lot of the guys sacrificed themselves for the team.
“[But] I still don’t think we played the perfect game yet. We have improved every game and now we are excited to be in the final.
“It’s a wonderful achievement. We know it’s going to be tough against New Zealand.”