Cricket Committee suggests 2015 WC qualifiers
In what could be a major boost to Associate teams, the ICC Cricket Committee has recommended there be a qualifying process for the 2015 World Cup after a two-day meeting at Lord's.
Though the recommendations are far from binding, the development will be warmly received by the nations who had seemingly been locked out of the tournament by the ICC's initial decision to limit the tournament to 10 teams.
"It's excellent news that another group of people have put their support behind the need for a qualifying process," Warren Deutrom, the Cricket Ireland CEO, told ESPNcricinfo. Trent Johnston, the former Ireland captain, was the Associate representative on the cricket committee and posted his reaction on Twitter. "Unanimous decision by ICC Cricket Committee to recommend to the Chief Exec Committee there be a qualifier for CWC 2015. A great result!"
The Associates were given a lifeline when ICC President Sharad Pawar requested that the tournament's composition be reassessed at the ICC's annual conference in Hong Kong at the end of June in response to strong and widespread criticism. The Cricket Committee's recommendation, which was one of a host of issues discussed at the meeting, could well represent a significant step forward to them.
The logistics of how the qualifying could work are not yet clear and could either be a qualifying tournament or by use of the one-day rankings. Ireland are currently ranked 10th above Zimbabwe. Dave Richardson, the ICC general manager of cricket, did suggest that using the rankings to determine qualification for major events could help add context to one-day internationals.
The matter will now be passed on to the Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) for approval before finally being presented to the ICC Executive Board for approval. As such, any recommendations made by the Cricket Committee will not take effect until ratified and/or approved by the CEC and the Board, both of which are scheduled to meet in Hong Kong from June 26 to 30.
At its meeting on April 4, two days after the World Cup final, the ICC board had decided to allow only the ten full members in the 2015 edition to be hosted in Australia and New Zealand, a decision greeted with incredulity by both the boards and cricketers of several Associate nations.