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Cricket: Irish delight as 2015 World Cup hopes get major boost

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Trent Johnston (right) celebrates with captain William Porterfield after Ireland beat England in the World Cup in March

Trent Johnston (right) celebrates with captain William Porterfield after Ireland beat England in the World Cup in March

©INPHO/Barry Chambers/Cricket Ireland

Trent Johnston (right) celebrates with captain William Porterfield after Ireland beat England in the World Cup in March

The ICC Cricket Committee are the latest body to pile the pressure on their Executive Board by calling for a qualifying tournament ahead of the 2015 World Cup finals.

Since the Board’s decision last month to make the next World Cup a 10-team Full Members event, there has been uproar from around the world demanding that the leading Associates have a chance to take part in the sport‘s only 50-over world event, as they have done for eight of the last nine editions.

Two weeks after the Board’s decision, ICC president Sharad Pawar told his Board to revisit the decision at the annual meeting in Hong Kong at the end of June, and now the influential Cricket Committee has come up with the same conclusion after its two-day meeting at Lord’s.

The Associate representative on the committee is former Ireland captain Trent Johnston who confirmed it was a unanimous decision to recommend a qualifying process.

“It was an overwhelming suggestion from everyone on the committee and is a great result,” said Johnston.

“By keeping the subject in the media spotlight it will do our chances of getting a qualifying tournament no harm at all although, ultimately, the same men that took the original decision will have the final say.

“There are some pretty powerful people on this committee, though, including Clive Lloyd, our chairman (former South Africa opening batsman) Gary Kirsten, Mark Taylor, the former Australia captain, Justin Vaughan (CEO of New Zealand, the other host country in 2015), plus (ICC chief executive) Haroon Lorgat and Dave Richardson, and they were all unanimous in recommending some form of qualifying.”

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Johnston told his fellow committee members that it was “not about money. It is about giving our players the opportunity to play in the World Cup. Our younger guys should not be denied the memories and dreams of our experiences in 2007 and 2011.

“It could kill cricket in some countries but this hopefully will keep the pressure on the executive board to change their decision”.

Ireland claimed Full Member scalps at both World Cups, with the defeat of Pakistan in Jamaica four years ago and, most famously of all, beating England in Bangalore last March, when their total of 329 for seven was the highest ever to win a World Cup match batting second.

Johnston was not daunted by the company he had in his first meeting and on his suggestion a pink ball could be used in Intercontinental Cup matches from this year.

The committee has urged the use of a pink ball in day-night first-class cricket and the committee accepted Johnston’s suggestion that the Associates’ first-class event be an ideal trial ground.

Other recommendations by the Cricket Committee included the use of the Decision Review System (DRS) in all Tests, moving the compulsory power plays in ODIs to the middle overs (from 16-40), and rather than changing the ball after 34 overs, to use two white balls, one from each end.

Meanwhile, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat wants to use ‘sting' operations to weed out cricketers who are willing to fix matches.

Lorgat claimed a ‘mystery shopper' style scheme could help identify guilty players as the world governing body attempts to tackle corruption at the highest level of the game.

He told BBC's Hardtalk: “I thought when this issue came up last year that perhaps we could have a ‘mystery shopper'.

“In other words, some people posing as bookmakers approach players and see if those players report along with our codes of conduct.”

But Lorgat admitted he faces strong opposition to the idea.


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