DHAKA, February 18 – The International Cricket Council on Friday backed their decision to restrict the next World Cup to 10 top teams, saying minnows were better suited playing the Twenty20 format.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the World Twenty20 will be increased to 16 teams instead of 12, while the 50-over World Cup will be trimmed down to 10 from the current 14.
"We have felt in the past few years that Twenty20 is the best format to develop the game world-wide and it provides a better environment for competition," Lorgat said.
"The 50-over format is more skill-based and suitable for the top teams."
Lorgat’s views, ahead of the 50-over World Cup starting on Saturday, is bound to further anger the minnows, who believe they are being muscled out in favour of the Test-playing nations.
Cricket Kenya chief executive Tom Sears said on Thursday the ICC will not be acting in the interests of the game if the smaller teams were locked out of the next World Cup.
"If we have to improve on the standards, there is no point of denying us the opportunity of competing at the top level," Sears told AFP.
"We had a meeting with the other associate countries during the World Cup training camp in Dubai last week, and we plan to raise the matter again at the World Cup.
"We are disturbed about the whole issue," he added.
In an interview with the Wisden Cricketer magazine, Sears termed the decision as "scandalous and bloody ridiculous".
"I’ve no desire to be diplomatic… Not to let anyone else in is scandalous. It’s all about money, power and votes – and that’s not good for cricket," he said.
Former Kenyan captain Steve Tikolo and batsman Collins Obuya have also voiced their concern, saying the World Cup remained vital for the development of associate nation cricket.
While there have been some hugely lop-sided contests down the years, there have also been some memorable "giantkillings".
Kenya became the first non-Test playing team to reach the semi-finals in 2003, and Ireland produced their biggest upset over Pakistan in the 2007 tournament in the West Indies.
Ironically, a poll on the ICC’s website showed 73 percent in favour of a 16-team World Cup in 2015 with only nine percent supporting a 10-team competition.
The ICC has already said that it has not been decided which 10 teams will take part in the 2015 World Cup, since the qualifying procedure had yet to be finalised.