Deutrom hopeful of World Cup lifeline

CRICKET IRELAND chief Warren Deutrom said yesterday that he was “somewhere between cautiously optimistic and breaking out the champagne” after the door to the 2015 World Cup was reopened ever so slightly.

It was a reaction that summed up perfectly the relief that, on one hand, all was not lost in the country’s hopes of participating in the next staging of the sport’s showcase event and, on the other, the realisation that major hurdles remain to be overcome.

Ireland was among the nations officially excluded from the tournament in four years’ time after the International Cricket Councils (ICC) executive board restricted the event to the 10 Test-playing nations. But president Sharad Pawar decided to reopen that debate yesterday.

“After receiving representations from the associate and affiliate members of the ICC, the ICC president Mr Sharad Pawar has decided to request the ICC executive board to revisit the issue in Hong Kong in June,” an ICC statement said.

Mr Pawar said: “I have given this matter further serious thought and will request the board to consider this topic once more. I can understand the views of the associates and affiliates and the ICC will seek to deal with the issue in the best way possible.”

The original decision was met with incredulity, especially in light of Ireland’s efforts during the recently concluded 2011 version, in which they chased down a record 327 runs to defeat England in Bangalore.

Deutrom was vocal in his condemnation of the decision that also barred nations such as Holland, Kenya and Canada but, as a former ICC employee, he was aware that the governing body have rarely, if ever, gone back on decisions of such importance.

“Purely in my brief recollection of 12 or 13 years with the ICC I couldn’t remember any decision being changed but, that said, I have never known a decision to raise as much controversy as this one has.

“Usually what happens is that an organisation will fly a flag and make a decision based on the reaction but what the ICC have done in this instance is make the decision and now they are looking at it again.”

For now, the situation remains unchanged. The 2015 World Cup will still consist of 10 teams rather than the 14 that competed this year and none of the associate nations, Ireland included, have been afforded a pathway into the event.

The composition of the event will certainly not change as it is now set up to optimise the commercial benefits for the game’s mega powers so Ireland’s chief hope is that the powers-that-be agree to some form of qualifying structure.

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