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The New World cup Format: What it means for the little guys

Come the 14th of March the ICC will meet to discuss among other things the recommendations for the 2011 Cricket World Cup (The 50 over one) and what should be done to preventing it degenerating into the sort of farce that we were all forced to endure in the West Indies last year. Among the recommendations are a reduction of teams from the 16 to 14 and although this may be only shifting back to the situation as it was in 2003 it goes without saying that the two teams that will be axed from the contest will be two of the 6 Non-Test nations that had to earn their way into the tournament through the ICC trophy.
With these proposed changes the World Cup switches to a format more similar to that applied in the 2003 edition except that there will be no super six stage. The first round of the competition will therefore have two groups of 7 teams each playing six matches t determine which 8 team progress to the quarter finals from which point the tournament becomes a knock-out competition.
Now although it is generally accepted that the West Indies World Cup seemed to degenerate into an endless mire of lopsided and mostly meaningless matches and that it is indeed unfortunate for their Cricket mad fans that India and Pakistan were unable to be there at the business end of the competition some questions have to be raised at the the reasoning for fingering Ireland and Bangladesh, the two ‘unfashionable teams’ who were responsible for the downfall of the above mentioned cricketing powerhouses and the subsequent bore-fest that was the Super-eights with the exact wording according to being

“A large number of the Super Eights matches were one-sided because Ireland and Bangladesh progressed from their groups and the new format should ensure less chance of an early upset - such as Ireland beating Pakistan - having a major impact on the tournament. The cut to 14 teams means that two of the Associate slots would be lost.”
Now though the majority of the Super 8 matches involving Bangladesh and Ireland were indeed one sided cannot the same thing be said about every single match that Australia played in? Furthermore is not the one sided nature of these games, that seems to be the reason for the deduction of two associate teams from the competition among other changes, more a result of the lack of guaranteed and continuous exposure to cricket of the highest calibre for the teams lying just below the 8 traditional cricketing powers outside their Inclusion in the World Cup? Considering for Non-test teams this one of the few ICC tournaments they participate in that gets any kind of serious attention from the media vis-a vis any kind of widespread TV and news coverage necessary to attract enough exposure, and sponsorship revenue to grow the game at home(At least 10 matches of the Intercontinental Cup, the so called premier International First Class tournament, have been played this season without a single mention on mainstream media such as the BBC or Sky). Therefore in light of that is it really the sort of message the ICC wants to be sending out to its Associate members, that if at all any of them upsets the apple cart by sending one of the big guns home early and being present in the latter stages of such an event is a bad thing for the tournament and is dealt with by the reduction of the places available to the offenders?
Furthermore even though even though in the newly proposed format is supposedly meant to prevent an overflow of one-sided contests taking the thrill out of the World Cup it gives all the minnows who do qualify six matches of which four will be against test teams . In that even what will happen say if one of the stronger associates, say Ireland having been grouped with The Netherlands, Bangladesh, India, Zimbabwe, England and Australia beats Their Associate rivals Holland and then sneaks past Bangladesh and Zimbabwe or another Test side getting into the quarter finals on NRR. Does this not create a situation where ‘one bad day’ from their opponents could see them into the Semifinals? Would such a result mean the further pruning of places available to associates to prevent such a scenario happening again?

Ireland and Kenya: Two Associate teams who have done more than was required of them at previous World Cups

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