Former Middlesex batsman fears World Cup could be Ireland’s last

Ross McLean
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DISGRUNTLED Ireland batsman Ed Joyce has blasted plans by cricket bosses to reduce the number of teams permitted to play at future World Cups.

A total of 14 teams will contest this year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which begins on Saturday, although the International Cricket Council (ICC) have announced that number will be cut to 10 when the 2019 competition is held in England.

Teams for that tournament will be made up of the top eight in the ICC rankings, plus two teams from a qualifying event to be held in Bangladesh the previous year.

“We seem to be the only sport that has a World Cup that is contracting rather than expanding,” said Joyce. “I hate to say it, but this could be our last World Cup because it is going to be very difficult to get into that top eight, and with the qualifying tournament in Bangladesh, they are going to have home advantage.

“I wholeheartedly disagree with the reasons for that. I do not think it is the way a sport should be run, especially one that speaks about expanding and trying to get bigger.”

Australia, meanwhile, continued preparations for their World Cup opener with England on Saturday by thrashing India by 106 runs in a warm-up clash in Adelaide, during which all-rounder Glenn Maxwell blasted 122 from 57 balls. Opener David Warner also reached three figures as Australia were bowled out for 371, before paceman Pat Cummins claimed 3-30 as the tourists were dismissed for 265.