Tim has covered the main points that are wrong with the ICC’s decision to restrict the number of teams in the next World Cup. I would only point out additionally that the next World Cup is in effect a closed tournament. There is no scope for anyone to qualify and in my mind is not a genuine world tournament.
However, where the ICC have got something right is that the tournament needed changing. The tournament goes on for far too long, there are still too many games and until something more positive is done to help the likes of Kenya and Canada, too many of the games involving the Associate teams were non-contests. Given the current spirit of “We’re all in this together”, here is my format for the next World Cup.
Number of teams: 12
The eight quarter finalists from the 2011 tournament qualify automatically. The other four have to compete against other interested nations to qualify. In future years, nine teams will qualify from the previous tournament Teams to be split into two groups of 6 playing round robin. The top four teams go into quarter finals. The other two teams go into a play off.
Two games per day. This gives 15 days for the first round of matches, but allows for 3 weekends of play.
The two play off matches between teams 5 and 6 in each group come before the quarter finals, filling the off days.
One quarter final per day(Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Play off final for a place in the next World Cup on the following Tuesday
Semi finals Wednesday and Thursday
Final on the Sunday
This gives us a tournament in four weeks, gives the best teams the best chance of winning the tournament but also gives the developing teams something to play for all the way through the tournament. More importantly, it means that the World Cup is not a closed shop for the established teams, but other countries get the chance to play on the biggest stage.