Melbourne, Mar 29: The Associate cricket nations might be fuming at the prospect of a 10-team World Cup in 2019, but ICC Chairman N Srinivasan today said they had no reason to feel left out as the format gives them a good chance at qualifying for the mega-event.
The ICC's decision to reduce the number of teams from 14 to 10 in the next World in England has been lambasted by the associate nations. The world body has also drawn criticism from some of the most prominent voices in international cricket, including Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar, who has gone to the extent of saying that the idea is detrimental to the goal of making cricket a global game. But Srinivasan said there is not much to be concerned about.
"If you look at the next World Cup, the top eight will qualify while for the ninth and 10th team, there will be competition between six associates. So, the Associates will have a reasonably good chance at playing the World Cup. The success of the Associates is actually because of the ICC's development program," Srinivasan told 'STAR Sports' here.
As per the new qualifying system while hosts England and the top seven teams will be assured of a place in the World Cup, the Associates will have to fight it out against the sides outside the top-eight of ICC rankings in the qualifiers.
This could well mean that not a single associate nation would make the showpiece event. The decision has expectedly not gone down well with well-performing Associates like Ireland, who enthralled one and all with some terrific performances in this World Cup, missing the quarterfinal berth by a whisker.
Irish captain William Porterfield has hardly minced words in expressing his displeasure towards the move.
"Everyone wants to know what their (ICC) vision for the game is, because if they cut the teams in world competitions, why not just have 10 teams playing cricket and every other country in the world doesn't bother?" he had asked.
Srinivasan said the ICC will spend USD 300 million in developing cricket in associate nations.
"There will be an eight-year cycle during which this amount will be spent. We want the associate nations to develop a sound domestic structure which will help in having a good system," Srinivasan said.
Srinivasan termed the ongoing World Cup a grand success, saying that crowds have turned up in good number for even non-India matches. "One example will be good enough to tell you that it was a success.
The India-South Africa match at the MCG had 87,000 people. That says it all for a non Australia match," he said.