How the Associate Nations can play a huge role in the ICC World Cup 2019
The ICC reduced the number of teams to 10 for the ICC World Cup 2019 in England and Wales. India, South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand qualified by the virtue of their positions in the ICC rankings. England, being the hosts automatically qualified while West Indies and Afghanistan made their way to the mega-event through the ICC CWC Qualifiers, 2018. However, many lower-ranked nations like Zimbabwe and Ireland and the talented Associate sides like U.A.E, Hong Kong, Scotland, The Netherlands and others missed out for a spot to the World Cup.
This has led to a plethora of legend criticising the International Cricket Board as the Cricket World Cup was the only time the smaller teams got exposure to play in front of huge crowds against the giants of the sport.
With the schedule and draw announced for the World Cup 2019, there’s a negligible chance that ICC would re-consider its decision. However, the Board has put itself into a corner by having all the 10 teams in the same group. Earlier, due to the division of the participants in 2 groups, the teams of the opposite group would play warm-up matches against each other to adjust with the playing conditions.
If the governing body lets the teams to play warm-up matches against their opponents before the World Cup it might diminish the value of their actual World Cup group match. ICC would never let that happen and so, to give the participating teams some much-needed practice they could invite the teams which could not make it to England. ICC can invite teams from Ireland, Zimbabwe, Scotland, U.A.E, The Netherlands and Hong Kong and give them an opportunity to compete against the best teams. The unqualified teams would also get a chance to prove that they deserve to play the next World Cup.
Do you agree with the opinion of having the unqualified teams invited to play the warm-up matches? Share your views in the comments box below.