It is said that everyone loves the underdog. You can’t fault Ireland if they disagree.
Days after cricket’s showpiece event ended, the game’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its decision to trim the next two World Cups to just 10 teams and throw out the associate nations from the 2015 edition, featuring only its 10 full members. The 10 spots for the 2019 edition will be determined through qualification.
“This is not a World Cup, it’s a glorified Champions Trophy,” said Ireland’s captain William Porterfield, after the ICC’s decision to trim the 2015 World Cup that will see associate teams like Ireland and Netherlands miss out on the chance to rub shoulders with the best of the cricketing world.
Porterfield has a point there. Given that much of the excitement and drama of the initial group stage games of the recently concluded 2011 edition — hailed by some experts as “the best World Cup of all time” — was provided by his brilliantly spirited and gutsy team, it is difficult not to agree that Ireland may have been hard done by. Associate member nations will now have to wait until 2019 for a chance to compete again.
Without Ireland, the 2015 edition could play out rather flatly — and more worryingly — predictably. Without Ireland, we would not have witnessed one of the greatest one-day innings of all time in the form of Kevin O’Brien.