Dubai: Protests from second-tier teams furious at being excluded from the 2015 World Cup have caused the International Cricket Council boss to say he'll ask the executive board to reconsider the move.
ICC President Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday he will request the executive board debate its decision again at its annual conference in June in Hong Kong.
"I have given this matter further serious thought and will request the board to consider this topic once more," Pawar said in a statement. "I can understand the views of the Associates and Affiliates and ICC will seek to deal with this issue in the best way possible."
During the recent World Cup on the subcontinent, the ICC decided to allow only its 10 full members to compete in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. It also confirmed the 2019 cup will be limited to 10 teams.
This year's tournament, which was won by co-host India, involved 14 teams and lasted 43 days, prompting criticism that it was too long.
The chief executives of cricketing bodies in Ireland and the Netherlands welcomed Pawar's announcement.
"It is encouraging that the president has reopened this issue but there is still a way to go," Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said. "This is a positive step but we're cautious about it because it is the same 10 people having the same debate about the same issues."
Deutrom said he was buoyed by the widespread support for Ireland and other second-tier teams, since it first emerged they wouldn't be allowed to take part in the 2015 World Cup.
"The depth of reaction has demonstrated that they neglected to consider their duty to the sport as a whole," Deutrom said. "It's a shame that it takes global condemnation and a damaged reputation to revisit the decision but the board clearly did not exercise its responsibility to the vast majority of the cricketing public."
While the decision to reduce teams at future cups was welcomed by the likes of Australia captain Ricky Ponting and Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, it was roundly criticized by Associate members who felt it was a step backward in the ICC's bid to expand the reach of the sport.
"I've no desire to be diplomatic as I think the ideas are bloody ridiculous," Kenya's chief executive Tom Sears told The Wisden Cricketer magazine.
"The president of the ICC (Pawar) says he wants to grow the game but then wants to contract the 50-over World Cup to exclude the Associates," he said. "Not to let anyone else in is scandalous. It's all about money, power and votes — and that's not good for cricket."
Deutrom told the BBC the decision would set back efforts "for both our playing and financial strength."
Ireland Minister of Sport Leo Varadkar pledged to back any challenge made by Cricket Ireland.
Associate member Canada also qualified and played in this year's World Cup.
The ICC's 10 full members were Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.