x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Twenty20 World Cup door opened for the UAE

ECB chief highlights 'constant trade-off' as 2014 T20 World Cup to have 16 sides but 50-over version to be reduced to 10 for 2019 event. Audio

The UAE Twenty20 side have had their World Cup qualification chances boosted.
The UAE Twenty20 side have had their World Cup qualification chances boosted.

The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) say they still have an "issue" with the game's governing body despite seeing their chances of reaching the Twenty20 World Cup in 2014 increase yesterday.

The ICC's Executive Board confirmed they will expand the World T20 from 12 to 16 nations in two years' time, opening the door for four associate nations, including, potentially, the UAE, to play in New Zealand and Australia alongside the likes of India, Pakistan and England.

The UAE will also have home advantage in the qualification process after the ICC announced the qualifiers would again take place in the Emirates.

However, the UAE failed to reach the 16-team final qualifying stage this year and they were frustrated onlookers as Afghanistan and Ireland claimed the two spots for the tournament in Sri Lanka later this year. The UAE were an over away from qualifying for the last World T20, in the Caribbean, before they were done in by Afghanistan.

But despite seeing their hopes raised in one format, the ECB are disappointed their chances of qualifying for the 50-over World Cup in 2019 have receded after the number of nations was cut from 14 to 10 - 14 teams will still play in the 2015 World Cup.

"We always had 16 teams in the Twenty20 World Cup and we asked for more teams in the [50 over] World Cup and [the ICC] made a trade off for 2012 saying that they would increase the World Cup teams from 10 to 12 but reduce the T20 to two from the associates instead of six," Dilwar Mani, the ECB chief said.

"Now what they have done is that they will revert in 2014 to 16 teams in the T20, but in the World Cup is reduced to 10 teams [in 2019]. So there seems to be constant trade-off on one against the other, and that's our issue. It's great that they have increased to 16 in the T20 but it's not good that they we are back to 10 in the World Cup. Very few people have picked that up."

The UAE will seek to qualify for the 2015 World Cup in a qualification event in 2014. They reached the 50-over showpiece for the only time in 1996.

The ICC caused outrage among the associate and affiliate members last year when they decided to restrict the 2015 World Cup to the top 10 nations and cut down the number of teams for the 2012 and 2014 World T20 to 12 from 16.

Kabir Khan, the then UAE coach, said: "They seem to be doing one thing one minute and then change their mind".

But the decision on the 2014 World T20 was reversed - as well as the decision on the 2015 World Cup - and now the Executive Board has decided to return to the 16-team format for 2014. "That decision has been made and that I am sure is very comforting to all the associates and affiliates," Haroon Lorgat, the outgoing chief executive, said. "It provides them with a greater chance of competing on a global stage. So effectively we will see six teams coming from the 95 other countries into the global event."

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