Growing the gameAlthough that decision still understandably rankles in Scottish cricket, its significance stems from the overall direction the International Cricket Council (ICC) is steering the sport. Scotland, ranked 13th in ODIs, were competing against West Indies, Afghanistan, Ireland, Holland, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe last year for the final two places in the World Cup, after the top eight ranked sides qualified automatically. It is this 10-team format – a reduction of four from 2015 and the smallest edition since 1996 – not a dodgy lbw decision that is the main area of contention for Cannon, who draws unfavourable comparisons with other more inclusive sports. “This year in particular, given the nature of our exit from the qualifier, I think it feels even more important that it [the format] is reviewed, that we look again at the structure,” the 57-year-old tells City A.M.
“The rationale for 10 teams is a commercial one brought about by the broadcasters, in particular the importance of India in the financial security of the sport. I get that, and I think everyone understands it. Read more: Chris Tremlett on England’s World Cup chances “But ultimately the ICC has to also consider strongly how best to grow the game of cricket globally. And while other sports are giving more countries the opportunity to compete in their world cups, cricket appears to be reducing those opportunities and I’m not sure that’s logical in terms of growing the game. “So, irrespective of how Scotland might feel about our exit – the fairness, whether we should be there or not – it’s actually irrelevant. We don’t want to be those whinging Scots going on about it. Other people are doing the arguing for us.”