x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Create an interest in cricket World Cup qualifiers

A 12-team qualifying competition of four groups of three, with four Test nations seeded in each, seems an ideal format.

When the International Cricket Council meet in May to ratify the make-up of the next World Cup, they have a chance to breathe life into the 50-over game.

Epic matches such as England's tie with India and shock defeat by Ireland might suggest the World Cup is not broken. But the intervening miss-matches mean it requires attention.

Canada and Kenya are still no nearer the requisite standard, despite being on the "fast-track". Yet some non-Test nations definitely deserve a chance. After Ireland, the best-equipped side to compete at the top table are Afghanistan, and they are not even here.

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The proposed 10-team World Cup can create a far greater quantity of meaningful cricket.

Firstly, it can give the one-day rankings genuine relevance. Rather than guaranteeing Test sides a place at the World Cup, it should make six places available to the top sides in the rankings, then make the rest play off. There would be fewer listless ODIs if each one counted towards a World Cup place.

If the four lowest ranking Tests sides were then entered into a qualifying competition with the eight top Associate and Affiliate nations, it would give that competition appeal, too.

A 12-team qualifying competition of four groups of three, with the four Test nations seeded in each, seems an ideal format. The top two sides go through to four eliminator matches which carry with them the carrot of a place at the World Cup.

If some teams who command high advertising revenues miss out, tough. The game has been run for commercial gain for too long.

 

pradley@thenational.ae