Sydney, March 4: Former Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday labelled the Intertiol Council Cricket (ICC)’s decision to restrict the World Cup to just 10 tions as “a backward step”.
The ICC announced in December that only 10 teams will compete in the 2019 World Cup, down from 14 in the 2011 and 2015 tourments. ICC has been facing criticism for the decision, especially given the solid performances of Associate tions like Ireland and Afghanistan at the ongoing World Cup, reports cricket.com.au.
Tendulkar, part of India’s 2011 World Cup winning side, said cutting back the number of teams in the showpiece event would limit the globalisation of the game. He called on the ICC to expand the quadrennial event to as many as 25 teams.
“(The ICC’s decision) is slightly disappointing because as a cricketer I want the game to be globalised as much as possible and, according to me, this is a backward step,” the former Indian captain said at a function here.
“We’ve got to find ways of encouraging the lesser teams.”
Ireland’s victory over the West Indies in Nelson last month was the most recent occasion an Associate tion has upset a Test playing side at a World Cup. The Irish produced a shock win over England at the 2011 World Cup and also beat Pakistan in 2007.
Also, Kenya’s victories over 1996 champions Sri Lanka in 2003 and the two-time Cup champions Windies in 1996 rank as some of the most memorable moments in World Cup history.
Tendulkar said those results prove the Associate tions can match it with the full member teams and need more regular opportunities against the best teams in order to develop.
He wants ‘A’ teams from leading cricket tions to schedule regular fixtures against Associate teams in between World Cups.
“The lesser teams have, in each and every World Cup, they always surprise top teams. And they can do it on a consistent basis only if they’re given a fair platform to express their talent,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia (CA) website.
“Right now, they get up after four years on the cricket world’s biggest platform and they’re expected to play and compete with the likes of Australia, South Africa, India, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, so many top sides. It’s unfair to them,” he added.
“Why not get Australia A, England A, New Zealand A, South Africa A, New Zealand A, India A, everyone, to go and visit these countries and play them on a regular basis. And see, not just 14 teams, but how can we get to 25 teams participating in the next World Cup?”
Tendulkar pointed out that the World Cup expansion is vital to the development of the game in countries where cricket is not a major sport.
“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,” Tendulkar said.
“If the results are good then you have more fans. So it’s important that they play good cricket consistently for a longer period, not just one good performance and then suddenly they go underground for four years and then turn up if they do well in those qualifying rounds,” the 41-year-old added.
“So I would say it’s something the ICC needs to look into and I hope they look into it.”
Tendulkar is the only player to have scored one hundred intertiol centuries. He is also holds the record for most number of runs in both One-Day Intertiol (ODI) and Test cricket. (IANS)