The UAE team, celebrating after winning the ICC World Cricket League Division Two cup, are now in contention for a spot in 2015 World Cup after the ICC decided on 14 teams. Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rehman/Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The UAE can now look forward to playing in the International Cricket Council (ICC) 2015 Cricket World Cup after the ICC corrected their worst decision in recent years of banning Associate countries from participating in the World Cup and confining it to just the 10 full member nations.

The ICC annual conference, being held in Hong Kong, has decided that the 2015 World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand will comprise 14 teams and include four slots for the Associate countries.

Speaking to Gulf News from Hong Kong, Mazhar Khan, the administrator of the Emirates Cricket Board, said: "It is indeed great to be among the nations to be in contention for the 2015 World Cup."

The UAE, recent winners of the ICC's World Cricket League Division Two championship, are among the strong contenders such as Ireland and Afghanistan for a place in the 2015 World Cup.

"The UAE will look forward to the qualifications and this decision is a sigh of relief for all Associate and even Affiliate members," said Khan.

The historic decision was taken on the third day of the ICC's annual conference after the cricket body had come under scathing criticism from the Associate and Affiliate member-countries for keeping them out of the World Cup.

It was also decided that the number of teams to take part in the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Sri Lanka next year and in Bangladesh in 2014 will be reduced to 12. Earlier, it was decided that 16 teams would take part in the Twenty20 World Cup.

The decision is also a big boost for Ireland who had shocked England in the 2011 World Cup. The ICC Chief Executive committee had recommended to the executive board that a qualifying tournament for the 2015 World Cup should be held to decide on the teams to play in the event.

According to available information, the Associate members managed to overthrow the decision to make the 2015 World Cup a 10-team event as part of a deal to support the scrapping of the rotation policy in the appointment of the ICC president.

The scrapping of the rotation policy would result in Pakistani and Bangladeshi candidates missing their chance to hold the highest post in world cricket. As per the rotation policy, Pakistan and Bangladesh were to nominate the next candidate for the posts of president and vice president.

To pass the resolution, the ICC needed eight of the 10 full members and 38 of the 50 Associate member countries to vote in favour of the motion. With the Associate countries now being pacified, it appears this motion may now be passed.

Meanwhile, the Executive Board has confirmed that the Reliance ICC Rankings are suitable for use in determining qualification for ICC global events. The Board confirmed that the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 would be a 10-team event with the top eight in the Reliance ICC rankings earning their qualification automatically and the remaining two places being decided by a qualification competition.

It also confirmed the introduction of the agreed promotion/relegation system.

Other decisions

  • The Board accepted that there should be no use of the DRS in Twenty20 Internationals.
  • The Board agreed with the CEC and Cricket Committee that a Twenty20 International rankings table should be created from October 1 this year.
  • Further research should be conducted on the balls to be used in day/night Test cricket.
  • Approved use of new balls at each end which will help bowlers to get the ball to swing for longer periods.
  • Batsmen will be dismissed (obstructing the field) if they change course while running to prevent a run-out chance.
  • Bowlers will be allowed to run out a non-striker who is backing up unfairly, a rule that has not been in force in recent times.
  • The prohibition of the use of runners in all forms of international cricket.