With the ICC’s recent meeting in Barbados coming to a closure, it has only provided resentment and frustration for the associate nations. If sources are to be believed, then the topic of having associates as participants in the 2019 World Cup did not even come to the fore. There was no discussion at all over the much heated topic. This has only annoyed the associate nations to a greater extent, who feel disregarded because of the ICC’s decision making.
Things first took a turn for the worse when it was announced that the 2019 World Cup would just be a 10 team affair. This meant that the top 8 teams would automatically qualify, while the associates would have to battle it out with the 9th and 10th ranked teams for a berth in the World Cup. With the ICC simply giving a cold shoulder to the associates, things are expected to sour further.
“The only information that I’ve had from the ‘Big Three’ was that it was extremely difficult to unpick the TV rights and to change things,” Ross McCollom, chairman of Cricket Ireland, said. Scotland captain Preston Mommsen too was among the harsh critics of the ICC, and he in particular ridiculed the ECB. “There is anger at what I’m reading about the ECB and their input into this ICC meeting,” Mommsen said. “That’s going to make me and my Associate colleagues very angry that they’ve taken such a selfish and narrow-minded approach to the entire decision-making process. It’s very short-sighted and not good for the growth of the global game.”
“I don’t think they have any right to call it a World Cup,” Mommsen said. “It’s completely regressive when you compare it to other global sports. It’s beyond belief that this is actually happening in 2015.” “The idea and dream of playing in a World Cup is what inspired me to try and play for Scotland. I’m sure it was the carrot for many current and past Scottish players to play the game.”
Mommsen spoke about the impressive performance of the associates in the 2015 World Cup. “It’s probably the best tournament that Associates have had,” Mommsen said. “The ICC could actually take a lot of credit for all their hard work but instead of embracing that instead that they’ve decided to take away all the hard work.”
“It would be good to know the facts of why this decision has been made. Clearly money is a huge factor but that can’t be the only factor,” Mommsen said, arguing that the ICC could make far more money in the long run by displaying a more inclusive attitude. “The deal is short sighted in terms of markets that could be tapped into in the longer term. If you gave other countries the chance to a) take part and b) try and take part that opens the door,” said a flabbergasted Mommsen.
Niall O’Brien, a key member of Ireland’s side also commented and said, “All the other sports are expanding their World Cups and we don’t see why we should be shrinking ours.” “It’s gut-wrenching. It’s just a bit sad that potentially Ireland have played in their last World Cup.”
With the 2019 World Cup qualifier to be held in Bangladesh and the 2023 World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe, O’Brien was quite skeptical. “The ICC obviously don’t want a Full Member to miss out on the tournament,” he said.