x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

The World Cup is too unwieldy

New Zealand's thrashing of Kenya, with 42 overs to spare, proves the International Cricket Council is right in moving to cut the number of teams playing in the World Cup from 14 to 10.

Thank you, Kenya, for proving that we do, occasionally, get things right.

The brain trust at the International Cricket Council (ICC) would never admit to such cynical thoughts, but they would have been forgiven for doing so yesterday.

Just as criticism was becoming fevered over their decision to cut the next World Cup down to 10 teams from 14, New Zealand (hardly the most feared side in cricket) took eight overs of their innings to beat Kenya.

Meaning they had 42 overs to spare. On that evidence, how could anyone possibly argue Kenya merit their place in an event which is supposed to be cricket's most prestigious?

If they had lost with 12 overs to spare in a 20-over match, it would have been equally embarrassing, but at least it would have been over quickly.

If they do merit their place in this fossil of a competition in the future then surely the ICC will give them that right through qualifying.

So having fewer non-Test sides will take away "colour" from the 50-over World Cup? Well boo-hoo. When the Netherlands beat England in the opening game of the World Twenty20 in 2009, the amount of luminous orange which decked the stands at Lord's was amazing.

As a caveat to the decision to cut the World Cup in size, the World T20 will be increased to 16 teams. That tournament is far more coruscating both in terms of the format played and the way the matches are packaged.

If the associate nations are being offered more chances to play in that event, they should take them and be thankful, rather than griping about being cut from a tournament which belongs in the archives.

 

pradley@thenational.ae