Associate nations such as Ireland could yet play a part at the 2015 World Cup after the International Cricket Council (ICC)president Sharad Pawar asked the governing body’s executive board to reconsider the composition of the tournament.
The decision to strip the World Cup back from 14 teams this year to only the 10 full member nations at the next edition of the competition was met with fury among the associates, especially the Irish side that performed admirably in the subcontinent.
Dissatisfaction among the associate and affiliate nations has since been communicated to Pawar and he has responded by requesting the executive board look again at the structure of the tournament.
The executive board meet again at the ICC annual conference in Hong Kong next month when the subject will be reopened.
While it had been agreed that the 2019 tournament would include a qualification period, the notion of preselecting the 10 teams for the 2015 World Cup, based simply on member status, caused the most ire.
William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, fresh from taking his side to the brink of quarter-final qualification after defeating England, termed the decision “an embarrassment and a joke”, while the chief executive Warren Deutrom vowed to pursue all avenues of appeal.
An ICC statement released today read: “After receiving representations from the associate and affiliate members of the ICC, the ICC President Mr Sharad Pawar has decided to request the ICC Executive Board to revisit the issue in Hong Kong in June.”
Pawar said: “I have given this matter further serious thought and will request the board to consider this topic once more. I can understand the views of the associates and affiliates and ICC will seek to deal with this issue in the best way possible.”
While it is unlikely the board will shift from its favoured 10-team stance, it may be persuaded to allow the top 10 ranked teams to contest the next World Cup or even introduce a play-off between the sides ranked 8th to 12th.
Like Ireland, the Netherlands acquitted themselves well in the recent World Cup and Richard Cox, chief executive of the Netherlands Cricket Board, was one of those involved in making the case to the ICC.
He told Press Association Sport: “We have been working feverishly behind the scenes to ascertain the status of the decision that was made.
“We believe it is a decision which can be challenged and by doing so through our representatives on the ICC board we have made representations, the outcome being that they are now prepared to look again at it.
“We have been in a series of meetings over the last week to prepare a document which has gone off to the ICC in Dubai and the result is the statement today from Sharad Pawar.”
Asked whether the associate nations had requested a preferred format as part of their discussions with the ICC, Cox said: “We don’t think it is our responsibility or our right to ask for 10 teams or 12 teams, what we are fundamentally agreed on is that the process of having a qualifying procedure is fundamentally appropriate for an organisation that represents 105 member countries.”