So two days after the end of an enthralling World Cup, what do we get? The decision to limit the 2015 World Cup to ten teams and, moreover, give no opportunity whatsoever for other sides to qualify is staggering in its closed-mindedness. It suggests the ICC is nothing less than a cartel motivated solely by money. Which is probably about right.
There is simply no justification for the decision. Cricket should be allowed to grow in the countries that have shown progress - none more so than Ireland. Imagine, if you will, how well Ireland could have done with their best player - Eoin Morgan - not taken away from them by England?
Instead, the associates have effectively been told they are wasting their time trying to improve in the longer formats of the game. The message from the ICC is that they should stick to Twenty20 - made into a 16-team tournament in the most futile of gestures. Just when Ireland and a few others - most notably Afghanistan (who would have qualified for this tournament had the qualification process not been concluded two years ago, and almost certainly given a better representation of the minnows than Kenya and Canada, another mistake on the ICC's part)- seemed on the cusp of genuine progress, they have been told it's all a waste of time.
Instead we will witness a 10-team round robin, which will actually be more shorn of drama than this World Cup. Unless they improve a great deal, we will have to witness Bangladesh, ZImbabwe and even the West Indies being continually thrashed. A different format with more teams would actually have reduced the number of games between the best and those outside the top eight.
Today is indeed a dark day for the game, just as the Irish are proclaiming. As an interesting aside, I'd be fascinated to see the TV ratings for the games this tournament. Fans love underdogs and upsets, and I'd wager that Ireland's victory over England, as well as the Netherlands' game with England, pulled in significantly more than, say, New Zealand's game against Zimbabwe. It may actually be that, in limiting the tournament to ten and creating no scope for any sort of fairytale qualification (such as Afghanistan's to the last World Twenty20) the ICC are actually reducing the commercial value of their product - and how apt that would be.
William Porterfield was right when he said the 2015 tournament will now be nothing more than a "glorified Champions Trophy". It will be much the poorer for that.
Tell the ICC what you think - email email@example.com or complain on their twitter account. The Cricket With Balls campaign against the decision can be found here.