International Cricket Council (ICC) president Sharad Pawar has asked the suits on the organisation’s executive committee to re-examine the rather self-serving decision to lock out the Associate teams from the 2015 World Cup by limiting it to just the 10 Full Member nations, which includes the world’s top nine and #11.
“Great” may be the initial opinion, but after the “thank Jim Allenby for that” has subsided, I am left with an unnerving sensation of “yet-to-be-convinced-itis”. I’ll probably throw myself into a low mood by admitting, but I think I am old beyond my years, for my cynicism is lurking at the back of the mind and it won’t go away.
I sincerely hope that the executive committee will rethink, do a U-turn and come back towards what appeared to be a general consensus in favour of at least giving the likes of Ireland, the Netherlands et al a chance. But is Pawar’s announcement merely creating an illusion that ICC wants to be seen to be doing something?
When the committee meet in the global cricketing hotbed of Hong Kong in June, what’s to say that the same decision won’t be reached again… but drawn-out over two or three weeks. That way, it’d look like members had been so wrought with a very real sense of consternation. I warned you I was cynical.
Coming away from that dark land of mistrust, maybe ICC has been ‘encouraged’ to introduce the notion of hope back to the ‘minnows’. I’m no logistical expert – but is it so hard to have a four-way qualification tournament in the week before a World Cup? An eight-way qualification tournament might just be a bit too much.
It’s in ICC’s interest to re-consider this issue. Many cricket fans would come back onside after the initial disquiet, and a generation of Associate cricketers will have something to aspire to beyond a quick Twenty20 slash-and-burn. Then there is a rather uncomfortable suggestion of legal action if the shop remains closed.
Will the Associates get that renewed hope of competing in the 2015 World Cup? Well, as I’ve suggested, I’ll believe it when ICC it…