Smaller nations have a chance to play at the 2015 World Cup after all, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) reversing their much-derided decision to reduce the event to 10 teams.
The strongest associate members such as Ireland have been campaigning for an opportunity to play in some kind of qualification competition against weaker full members like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
The ICC executive board however reversed its previous decisions and approved a 14-team format for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 to be held in Australia and New Zealand, and a 12-team format for the ICC World Twenty20 events in 2012 (Sri Lanka) and 2014 (Bangladesh).
“The board had previously decided in October 2010 that the ICC Cricket World Cup would comprise a 10-team event and that the ICC World Twenty20 events would involve 16 teams. In April 2011, the board had agreed that only the full members would participate in 2015 and that all members would be given an opportunity to participate in the 2019 World Cup through a qualification process,” the ICC said in a statement.
The ICC executive board opted to retain the 14-team format that was used at the highly successful and universally-acclaimed ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, with the 10 full members being joined by four associate or affiliate qualifiers.
Zimbabwe is a full member. Zimbabwe Cricket president Peter Chingoka attended the executive meeting in Hong Kong.
The ICC World Twenty20 in 2012 and 2014 will now remain as 12-team events (10 full members and two associates/affiliates), which has been the format for the ICC World Twenty20 events since its inception in 2007.
In addition, the board confirmed that the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 would be a 10-team event with the top eight in the Reliance ICC rankings earning their qualification automatically and the remaining two places being decided by a qualification competition.
The board also confirmed introduction of the promotion/relegation system previously agreed.