Image courtesy of: cricketireland.ie
International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson has admitted that it will be “difficult to guarantee matches” for Ireland and Afghanistan.
Richardson’s comments come after both Associate nations have complained about the ICC’s decision to cut the 2019 World Cup down to 10 teams.
“It’s difficult to guarantee matches for them,” Richardson said. “I think it’s important that we provide the top Associate members the opportunity, and certainly the indications are that the Full Members will support Ireland in that objective.
“They not only will be playing matches against Full Members like England in particular, and teams visiting England, but they’ll also be playing amongst themselves quite frequently. We’re working on them having at least 10 ODIs per season leading up to qualification for that next World Cup, so I think the opportunity will be there.”
Since the 2011 World Cup, Ireland have only played 11 ODIs against Full Member nations and Afghanistan have played 10. But, Richardson believes that higher-ranked teams will be more inclined to set up series with Afghanistan and Ireland in the near future.
“Australia have been talking about tours involving Afghanistan,” Richardson said. “I don’t think we’d have gone down this route if we weren’t confident that we’d make sure that Ireland and Afghanistan are playing in the region of eight to ten ODIs per year.”
Since the top eight ODI teams as of September 30, 2017 will directly qualify for the 2019 World Cup, Richardson feels that bilateral series between Full Member nations will become a lot more important.
“Context is important. To try and make the bilateral series that take place between the countries mean something is important,” Richardson said. “In that regard we have the rankings, and going forward we have qualification for the CT and the World Cup, which will hopefully make bilateral series much more important than they have been before.
“In the past Full Members could almost guarantee places at those tournaments. I don’t think that will necessarily be the case going forward.”