In a scathing attack on the International Cricket Council (ICC), Scotland captain Preston Mommsen has labelled the governing body as myopic and threatened legal action over their decision to restrict future World Cups to 10 teams.
The head of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Dave Richardson in March this year, said the world governing body was unlikely to change its plans to reduce the number of teams at the next World Cup despite being impressed by the performances of the Associate nations during the 2015 tournament.
Richardson, however, left room for hope when he said the decision over the issue was not set in stone and would be reviewed later this year.
But the ICC Annual Conference recently passed without the topic being discussed, effectively confirming that the future tournaments would be a 10-team affair.
The Associates had discussed plans to take the ICC to the Court of Arbitration for Sport when it was suggested that the 2015 tournament be a 10-team event as well.
“I don’t think they have any right to call it a World Cup,” Mommsen was quoted by a cricket website as saying.
“It’s completely regressive when you compare it to other global sports. It’s beyond belief that this is actually happening in 2015.
“The idea and dream of playing in a World Cup is what inspired me to try and play for Scotland. I’m sure it was the carrot for many current and past Scottish players to play the game.”
The 2015 World Cup was termed by many former cricketers and experts as the ‘Cup of the Associates’ for their great performances at the event. Players like Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar went as far as saying the World Cup be expanded to 25 teams.
“I found out the next World Cup would only be ten teams which is disappointing because as a cricketer I want the game to be globalised as much as possible and, according to me, this is a backwards step,” Tendulkar said during the 2015 World Cup.
“It is not just about the top six or seven sides. If we are to globalise this game we have to get more and more people excited about cricket and the fan following only follows the result.”
“And see, not just 14 teams, but how can we get to 25 teams participating in the next World Cup?”
Ireland’s Niall O’ Brien, who has been part of all three World Cups the country’s featured in, said he was baffled by the ICC’s decision.
“All the other sports are expanding their World Cups and we don’t see why we should be shrinking ours,” he said.
“It’s gut-wrenching. It’s just a bit sad that potentially Ireland have played in their last World Cup.”
A 10-team tournament in 2019 has been planned since 2011, when the ICC reversed its decision to cut the 2015 edition.
One obstacle to the altering of the format could be television rights, which have already been sold on the understanding that the tournament will contain 10 teams.
“The only information that I’ve had from the ‘Big Three’ was that it was extremely difficult to unpick the TV rights and to change things,” Ross McCollom, chairman of Cricket Ireland, said.