World Cup teams trim 'a retrograde step'
The vote by the International Cricket Council's subcontinental powers to reduce the number of teams at the 2011 World Cup was labelled a 'retrograde step' by top Hong Kong official John Cribbin yesterday.
A bid by Hong Kong and other associate members to prevent the ICC's chief executives committee from reducing the number of teams from 16 to 14 failed last week.
'This is a retrograde step as far as developing the game worldwide is concerned,' said Cribbin, secretary of the Hong Kong Cricket Association. 'The subcontinent, which will host the next World Cup, has only seen this through the blinkers of their own national interests.
'This is bad news for smaller developing nations like Hong Kong. The World Cup is the biggest tournament and our chances of playing in it have been even further reduced,' said Cribbin.
The ICC's chief executives committee - comprising the 10 test-playing nations as well as associate members Hong Kong, Ireland and Namibia - voted for a 14-team World Cup, reducing the participation of associate members from six to four. Last year's World Cup in the Caribbean featured 16 teams.
'The subcontinent test nations of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh acted in concert and were mainly behind this move. They have put their own interests first,' said Cribbin, who attended the meeting.
The 2011 World Cup will be held mainly in India with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh getting a few games. A changed format will allow more matches to be played, resulting in more revenue for the organisers, as well as the ICC.
'This vote has to be confirmed by the full ICC executive next month in Dubai. But it will go ahead as the subcontinent bloc is very powerful,' Cribbin said. 'But by cutting down the number of associate members, how can this be a 'World Cup'?'
The format for the 2011 World Cup will be on the lines of the 2003 tournament in South Africa where 14 teams took part, split into two groups of seven with the top three progressing to the Super Sixes.