Belfast: Ireland's coach Phil Simmons has joined the clamour of condemnation following the decision to limit the 2015 World Cup to just the ten Test-playing nations, describing the move as "despicable", and adding that the announcement on Monday had been "a dark day for cricket but a great day for greed and fear".
Ireland's players and administrators have reacted with undisguised disgust to the decision from the sport's governing body, with the team captain William Porterfield and the chief executive Warren Deutrom leading the outcry. The team is currently ranked 10th in the world, above Zimbabwe, and lived up to their growing reputation by beating England in a thrilling run-chase at Bangalore during the recent World Cup.
However, they have been given no opportunity to build on a series of performances that captured the public imagination during the recent tournament, despite confirming the progress of a close-knit team following their spectacular victory over Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup.
"It is a dark day for cricket but a great day for greed and fear!" said Simmons, the former West Indies opening batsman. "It is hard to find words to describe this despicable decision made by some who want to keep things among themselves and some who fear us."
"There can be no cricketing reasons for this decision, as we answered the cricket question, the television rating question, and we are 10th ranked nation in the world - so what else is needed?
"I`m afraid the next World Cup will be like the American World Series - you are crowned World Champions but the world did not take part - congratulations to India on winning the last real World Cup."
"Finally - congratulations to ICC for pulling the game we love back ten years!"
A Cricket Ireland statement confirmed that the board was actively pursuing ways in which the decision can be challenged, and lashed out at the ICC's hierarchy. "The decision was ratified, not surprisingly, by the full members themselves, who have shown themselves to be unfit for purpose or governance. Ireland are currently in discussions with their fellow associates and affiliates about the avenues of action left open to them following the shameful ruling by ICC."
Deutrom earlier described the decision as "an absolute black day for the sport". "It's nothing short of outrageous," he told ESPNcricinfo. "All of the principles by which a decision should have been made in the first instance - which is what's best for the sport and what's acting in the best interests of all 105 members - have clearly been abandoned."