Ireland captain William Porterfield has branded the decision to exclude associate nations from the 2015 World Cup as “an embarrassment” and “a joke” and has warned it could kill the game in non-Test playing countries.
The ICC executive board had been considering overturning a previous decision to cut the number of teams at the World Cup from 14 to 10, with a compromise of 12 up for discussion in Mumbai today.
Instead they reaffirmed their decision to make it a 10-team tournament and dealt the likes of Ireland, Holland and Canada a further blow with the revelation there would be no chance for associate members to qualify in four years’ time.
An qualification process will be held in 2019 but that could come too late, according to the seething Porterfield.
He said: “It’s an absolute disgrace and I don’t know how they can even comprehend doing this.
“We have done everything they asked of us over the last few years in terms of restructuring Irish cricket and I can’t come to terms with how they can just shut us out, do away with the qualification period and then try and call this a World Cup.
“We are currently ranked 10th, ahead of Zimbabwe, and there is no reason we can’t move up another position, if not two, by the next World Cup. Instead, the door has been closed in our face. It is an embarrassment.
“I don’t know what else we had to do in the World Cup, we held our own against the full members, we beat England, we got the fastest ever hundred. For them to turn around and throw that back in our face a few weeks later is an absolute joke.”
Warwickshire opener Porterfield rejected the notion that an expanded 16-team World Twenty20 would help soften the blow to associate nations and called on the influential ICC executive board – which comprises representatives from each of the 10 full member nations as well as the organisation’s chief executive, president and vice-president – to assess their reasons for making the decision.
“To come out and try to cover things up by saying there are going to be 16 teams at the World Twenty20 is ridiculous,” said Porterfield.
“They say it’s a compensation but I can’t agree with that because it is every player’s dream to play at and win a World Cup.
“Everyone in the cricketing world can see they are shutting the door on not only a lot of players, but also on the development of world cricket.
“It’s not just about Ireland. This could mean the death of cricket in a lot of countries...and all because a few full members are looking to make a few extra quid from the competitions.
“How they can turn around, shut out half the world and still call themselves a world governing body is an absolute joke.
“It is every full member’s duty to look after world cricket. Now the whole integrity of the World Cup has been brought into question because this is not a World Cup, it’s a glorified Champions Trophy.”
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom, who plans to explore every avenue available in terms of appealing the decision, said: ``We're outraged by the decision today. We're not taking it lying down.
“It’s a betrayal of sporting principles and it flies in the face of all the evidence we saw at the World Cup, which was that an associate nation could compete with the best teams in the world.
“It’s baffling but am I surprised? Not really, because clearly there are instances where protection of existing privileges is considered more important than any other principle – including those of sport, fairness and equality.
“In the last four years we have been ranked above one of the teams that now has automatic qualification for the World Cup, Zimbabwe, and there isn’t a single point you can take from that that is remotely justifiable.”
Support for a potential appeal is currently being gauged among the 95 non-Test-playing nations linked under the ICC banner.