Belfast Telegraph

Cricket World Cup: Ireland to benefit from ICC plans for perfect 10

BY ian callender

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat believes a “robust qualification process” can ensure the best 10 teams play in the next World Cup.

The world cricket supremo has confirmed that would still be the preferred method — and that is music to the ears of Team Ireland who are not guaranteed a place in the 2015 tournament.

“We believe that if qualification was the route through to the World Cup, that would make for a far better World Cup from a competitive point of view,” Lorgat said.

“There's been a lot of research done and debate through the chief executives and by the board itself and there was a view that currently we can engage 10 teams in a quality World Cup

“It's a balance we're trying to achieve in top-class competition, the opportunity for developing nations and to have the 10 best teams at the World Cup. If we do agree on a robust qualification process, there's no reason why we should not still see it.”

The decision is due to be taken next month with one possible scenario — suggested as fact on Indian television this week — seeing the top eight teams getting automatic entry and the next eight teams (including six Associates) taking part in a qualification tournament with the top two going to Australia and New Zealand in 2015.

Lorgat was still insistent that the World Twenty 20 was the way forward for the Associate nations.

“We are trying to achieve a balance between excellent competition and the development of the game. We are blessed with three formats. We believe the Twenty20 format is the one we could use primarily to develop the game. We've expanded that to 16 teams,” he said.

Asked if he would like to see Ireland playing more one-day internationals — there is only one match against a Full Member confirmed for 2011, against England in Clontarf on August 25 — the chief executive said: “We do our level best to try to encourage Full Member countries to play against the top associate nations and I think that is important for the development of those members.”

Meanwhile, Gary Wilson is looking forward to resuming his role as a specialist batsman with Surrey when the new county season gets under way next month after the Ireland international agreed a one-year extension to his contract.

Speaking in Chandigarh yesterday, ahead of today’s World Cup match against West Indies, Wilson said: “I enjoy playing there, there is no better place to bat (than The Oval). I finished the season last year as a batter and I’ll be looking to continue that role when the new county season starts.

“The decision is not up to me, but I feel my game has improved a lot in the last couple of years and grateful to the coaches there.”

Wilson has played in only one of Ireland’s first three World Cup games, but was looking forward to regaining a regular starting slot, with games against South Africa and the Netherlands in Kolkata ending the group stage next week.

“If we are going to qualify for the quarter finals, we are going to have beat West Indies, first and foremost, but we are targeting three more wins, yes even the South Africans,” added Wilson.

“They will come hard at us with pace but we play good pace better than good spin, in my opinion and we have a good recent record against the Dutch.”

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Tillakaratne Dilshan hit a magnificent century and then picked up four wickets as Sri Lanka trounced Zimbabwe by 139 runs to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Kandy yesterday.

Dilshan, who hit 144 off 131 balls and Upul Tharanga, who made 133 off 141, put on 282, the best opening partnership in World Cup history, but fell just five short of the all-time one-day international record set by Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya against England five years ago.

In pursuit of Sri Lanka's total of 327 for six, Zimbabwe got off to a promising start but were derailed by the loss of Brendan Taylor (80 off 72) and were bundled out for 188 with 11 overs remaining.

Sri Lanka reached 100 off just 16.1 overs and soon Dilshan and Tharanga brought up their half-centuries.

Dilshan and Tharanga paced their innings well and Sri Lanka broke loose during the batting power play which yielded 51 runs.

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