The International Cricket council (ICC) confirmed on Monday (Nov.10) that the 2019 Cricket World Cup, to be held in England and Wales, will be a ten-team tournament. When taken in isolation, that might seem like a good idea. The time it takes to complete a one-day game means the tournament can often feel lengthy and dragged out. But even that can be quite easily solved.
The upcoming 2015 World Cup will have 49 matches played over six weeks, the same amount of time and matches as the 2011 edition. If the intention of truncating the teams was to make it shorter, then that plan has failed, since the 2019 tournament will have 48 games, also played over the course of six weeks. There are far more productive ways to shorten the tournament, if that is a concern. The 2007 World Cup consisted of 16 teams and while the group stages were open in a flash, the added “Super Eight” stage dragged the tournament out for far longer than necessary. Playing two games on the same day and splitting the teams into groups that progress straight to a quarter-final knock-out round is a fairly simple and straightforward solution.
The 2019 tournament will see the teams ranked in the top eight of the ICC’s one-day rankings gain automatic qualification into the tournament. The bottom two will have to play qualifiers against the top two associate teams for a spot in the tournament.
This is where the formula becomes problematic and it becomes clear that the “meritocracy” philosophy so trumpeted during the “Big Three” takeover was nothing more than lip service.
While associate teams do struggle far more in the one-day format than, for example, the T20 format, it is the precedent of elitism that is most troubling. The latest ICC rankings put Afghanistan and Ireland in the top two places for associates, with Zimbabwe and Bangladesh at the bottom.