I would start the article by sharing one of the personal stories of my life. It was time for the 2007 cricket world cup, I was very confident about India’s chances but was left disappointed when India was knocked out very early in the tournament. The sad part was they were beaten by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Teams which looked weak on paper stunned the Indian team. In the same world cup Pakistan was also knocked out by a team which was unknown to me completely. I’m talking about Ireland. Then I had heard of all the major cricket playing nations but to it was sort of new for me to find teams like the Netherlands, Ireland, Bermuda and Canada playing the world cup, I thought how could these teams play in a world cup? They don’t even play regular cricket? I researched a bit and found about the concept of Associate cricket, another fascinating aspect of international cricket. These teams played in a league for three years and the top teams qualified for the world cup. I thought that it’s a good way to make cricket a global sport. I must say I was quite impressed by some young teams like Ireland and Bangladesh. Ireland punched above their weights to beat Pakistan but Bangladesh also a very young team manager to knock out India and they even beat South Africa in the later stages of the world cup. These performances must have given great hopes to the associate nations that they can beat the big teams.
These associatte teams have managed to upset the established teams in the T20 world cup and the 50 over world cup. For instance, the Netherlands beat England in the 2009 T20 world cup, Ireland beat England in the 2011 world cup and they beat the windies in the 2015 world cup. These teams have shown their potential at the world stage.
You may be wondering that why I’m upto?
Well I’m basically questioning ICC’s decision to have only 10 teams for the world cup 2019?. They have recently given test status to Afghanistan and Ireland but still only 10 out of 12 test playing nations will be the part of the mega event!. This will be the first time in the history of the world cups that 2 major test playing nations won’t be a part of the event, i.e., Ireland and Zimbabwe.
What surprises me is that, the decision could be understood if these teams could not compete against the big teams but recent performances of Zimbabwe, Scotland and Afghanistan has shown that they are ready to take on the established teams.
This world cup be as interesting as others but we will miss the word ‘UPSET’.
Here’s hoping that for the next world cup in India (2023) ICC switches back to the previous format.