Cricket World Cup 2015: 'No' to Minnows?

Updated: 01 March 2015 23:16 IST

With the International Cricket Council (ICC), adamant about reducing the number of playing teams in the next World Cup from 14 to 10, is this the end of their World Cup dreams for cricket's Associate Nations?

Cricket World Cup 2015:
A file photo of UAE skipper Mohammad Tauqir. © Getty Images

On Saturday, India didn't just beat UAE, they walked over them, throwing open the argument, should minnows be allowed to play in cricket's showpiece event?(Dhoni Says India's Schedule too Cramped to Accommodate UAE)

There's no doubt the smaller teams add spunk to a tournament, throw up characters, and often, an upset or two. (Full Coverage of World Cup 2015)

"I think it's a good thing. Whenever we see Associate teams, there's always been a lot of improvement in their cricket. But we will have to give them more opportunities, and make sure that the infrastructure in those countries get better, so that people can play more cricket," Indian captain MS Dhoni said after his team's 9-wicket win vs UAE.

In this World Cup itself, the smaller teams have thrown up a surprise or two. Ireland shocked West Indies in a Pool B game. And a few days later, Afghanistan beat fellow minnows Scotland in a last over thriller, easily one of the most exciting games of the World Cup so far.

But such results are going to be fewer in the next edition of the World Cup in England and Wales, as the ICC seems determined to reduce the number of playing sides from 14-10. Several experts agree with cricket's governing body.

"I think ten is the right number for the World Cup. A World Cup does not need one sided games," former Australian captain Ian Chappell told NDTV.

"Yes, there are major nations like the West Indies losing by big margins, and that's not an even contest at all. But having so many teams does give fodder to people who think minnows should not be playing in a World Cup."

But can the sport of cricket that's trying to spread its tentacles globally, afford to ignore smaller team?

"Never say never, that's what I have learnt over the years. I am sure the format of the next World Cup will be debated as soon as this one is done," ICC's Chief Executive Dave Richardson said.

The current argument is that the Associate teams aren't good enough. But that prospects of that improving are slim unless they play with the bigger sides more often.

"The ICC should focus on 1-2 sides for 4 years, give them all the necessary funding, and the opportunity to play Test playing countries on and off. The only time we play big sides is here at the World Cup," former Pakistan pacer Aquib Javed, who is coaching the UAE team, told NDTV.

Cricket's impossibly packed schedule is the other hurdle here. "I don't see India playing any more games,", said MS Dhoni. "We can't, unless we play two matches on the same day, which is just not possible. India can't play more games."

With a duration of 44 days in all, many fans have called the current World Cup a very long one. Will fewer teams in 2019 then result in a more interesting and competitive tournament?

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Topics : India Cricket Team United Arab Emirates World Cup 2015 Cricket
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