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Monday, June 27, 2011

ICC reviews ban on cricket minnows


THE ICC is reviewing its unpopular decision to limit the 2015 World Cup, in Australia and New Zealand, to the 10 full-member teams - excluding countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and Kenya.

Cricket's governing body has begun its four-day annual conference in Hong Kong with all eyes on the controversial proposal, which caused outrage among the smaller nations.

ICC president Sharad Pawar has asked his board to discuss the matter at the conference, with the governing body looking to avoid a repeat of the seven-week World Cup, deemed by some critics as unnecessarily lengthy.

Officials are believed to be in favour of retaining a 10-team limit but may consider a qualifying tournament that would give minor nations a chance of reaching the event.

The conference will also consider moves, reportedly spearheaded by India and England, to scrap the two-year rotational presidency, although details of any new system remain unclear.

The proposal is expected to be met with vehement opposition from Pakistan and Bangladesh, who are scheduled to nominate the body's next but one leader to take power from 2014.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt told reporters before leaving for Hong Kong: "It's Pakistan's turn to nominate the president or the vice-president so we will not allow anyone to snatch that right.

"We have already shown our reservations on both the amendments and since the matter will be discussed at the meeting I am not going to make it more public."

Also on the agenda will be the issue of whether the ICC should adopt the controversial Decision Review System (DRS).

The ICC has announced its desire for the DRS, whereby teams will be allowed one incorrect referral per innings to the television umpire, to be used for all Tests, ODIs and International T20s.

Decisions would be checked using video, audio, ball-tracking and thermal-imaging technology in an innovation welcomed by most countries.

But powerful India, whose huge revenues give it a dominant position in the ICC, has never agreed to its use nor played a Test or one-day series when the DRS has been in operation.

The issue will be presented formally to the ICC's chief executives' committee.

"The suggestions were made following detailed technical analysis and supported by what the committee agreed was a successful application during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011," the ICC said in a statement released ahead of the meeting.

The conference kicked off with a low-key discussion on the ICC's rankings system, with the headline issues to be dealt with over the coming days.
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