World cricket's governing body opened the door on Monday for non-Test playing nations to compete in the next World Cup, reversing a bar that had outraged "minnows" including Ireland and Holland.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement its chief executives' committee had recommended a qualifying process for the 2015 tournament, without specifying how many teams it wanted to see taking part.
The recommendation rows back on the ICC's unpopular decision to limit the 2015 World Cup, in Australia and New Zealand, to the 10 full-member teams - excluding countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and Kenya.
"The CEC recommended that there should be a qualification process for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 but did not make a recommendation to the ICC executive board on the number of teams that should compete in the event to be held in Australia and New Zealand," the ICC said in a statement on its website following a two-day meeting at a glitzy hotel in downtown Hong Kong.
ICC president Sharad Pawar had asked his board to discuss the matter at the conference, with the governing body looking to avoid a repeat of the seven-week World Cup, deemed by some critics as unnecessarily lengthy.
Officials are believed to be in favour of retaining a 10-team limit but a qualifying tournament would give minor nations a chance of reaching the event.