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    Opposing viewpoints - You decide

    Below are 2 articles discussing the role
    of non-test teams in the 2003 World Cup.

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    Bacher calls for more teams at 2003 World Cup
    By Adrian Blomfield


    NAIROBI, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Ali Bacher, chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) development committee, said on Monday the number of teams at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa should be increased from 12 to 14.

    Bacher said test-playing countries had to support the development of cricket among ICC associate members to ensure the survival of the game which has been losing support in some of its traditional bastions.

    ``At this point of time, cricket is too narrowly based and there are too few countries playing at the highest level,'' he told Reuters in an interview. ``We need to give incentives to more and more associate member countries.

    ``I think we should follow the example of other sports like soccer where recently there were 16 countries competing (in some major competitions) and now there are 32,'' he said.

    Bacher, who is also managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, said Kenya and Bangladesh, which have one-day international but not test status, should be allowed automatic qualification for the World Cup, along with the nine test-playing sides.

    Bangladesh, Kenya and Scotland qualified for the 12-team World Cup in England last May and June by finishing in the top three of the ICC Trophy for associate menbers.

    ``It's contradictory that we are encouraging these countries to achieve excellence and in the same breath to say 'go to (the ICC Trophy in) Toronto in 2001 and compete for a place in the South African World Cup','' he said.

    Kenya's and Bangladesh's exemption from the ICC Trophy would give sides such as Scotland, Ireland, Bermuda and Canada more chance to qualify for the World Cup.

    An expansion of the number of teams would increase the schedule from 42 to 54 matches but that should not compromise standards if associate teams received funding and training to help raise their game, he said.

    Bacher also suggested that Kenya and Zimbabwe co-host the World Cup in South Africa.

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    Keep a Check on the Minnows

    The powers that be in international cricket want to expand the number of teams in the 2003 World Cup but, says CricketLine's Martin Gough they should look at the experiences of other minnows before they welcome more teams in.

    Ali Bacher, chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) development committee and doyen of South African cricket is prone to making sweeping remarks. He is also a big fan of globalisation and his comments on Monday encompassed both of his major roles and his greatest passion.

    The 2003 World Cup is to be held in Bacher's home country and the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB) managing director sees it as a great opportunity to spread the cricketing word throughout the world, or at least to bring some of its lesser participants into the fold with the international big boys.

    Demanding that an extra two teams be involved in the next tournament, Bacher said that Test-playing countries had to support the development of cricket among ICC associate members to ensure the survival of the game, which has been struggling for support in some of its traditional bastions.

    "At this point of time, cricket is too narrowly based and there are too few countries playing at the highest level," Bacher said in an interview quoted by Reuters news agency. "We need to give incentives to more and more associate member countries. I think we should follow the example of other sports like soccer where recently there were 16 countries competing [in the World Cup] and now there are 32."

    Bacher said Kenya and Bangladesh, who both have one-day international but not Test status, should be allowed automatic qualification for the World Cup, along with the nine Test-playing sides. Bangladesh, Kenya and Scotland qualified for the 12-team World Cup in England last May and June by finishing in the top three of the ICC Trophy for associate members but Scotland have yet to be accorded ICC blessing at the highest level and its team of amateurs have also yet to win a match against serious opposition.

    "It's contradictory that we are encouraging these countries to achieve excellence and in the same breath to say, 'go to [the ICC Trophy in] Toronto in 2001 and compete for a place in the South African World Cup'," Bacher continued.

    Kenya can claim to have justified their place in the top one-day tier with their result in Nairobi on Saturday, coming within four balls of downing Zimbabwe - one of the top nine. Their African neighbours were the last side to be granted automatic inclusion in the World Cup. That was followed by full Test status, and their progress since then has justified that inclusion. Alistair Campbell's side now stand seventh in the Wisden World Championship, the generally accepted measure of a country's Test stature.

    Zimbabwean upset wins over Australia and England in separate World Cups were viewed by the senior nations as slight aberrations prior to the team's acceptance to full ICC membership but the side are now a part of the mainstream. Regular fixtures against the larger nations, and prize money from the major tournaments, has meant that Zimbabwe can afford to develop its youth programme, and also to tempt home Zimbabwean players who had been making their livings in other countries, mostnotablyy South Africa A allrounder Neil Johnson and batsman Murray Goodwin, who had been playing Sheffield Shield cricket in Western Australia.

    However, Bacher listed one of the advantages of an expanded format as being that the absence of Kenya and Bangladesh from the ICC Trophy would give sides such as Scotland, Ireland, Bermuda and Canada more chance to qualify for the World Cup. This is where the policy falls down rather. Canada stuck its toes into the water of the major international game in 1979, when the team played in three World Cup group games. Their closest margin of defeat was the seven-wicket trouncing by Australia, when the North Americans were bowled out for 105 within 34 overs, and that was in the days of 60-over matches.

    Even among those now considered worthy of full ODI status, there are just two highlights to recommend the two newest worthies. Bangladesh came out with a famous victory during this year's World Cup when they downed near neighbours Pakistan in a group match that was meaningless for the eventual finalists.

    Back in 1996, Kenya upset West Indies having bowled out their rivals for just 93 on a dodgy wicket in Pune. All Kenyan performances since have been compared to this famous victory, although there was further fame when they downed India by 69 runs in Gwalior last year .

    Bacher was more rational in suggesting that Kenya and Zimbabwe co-host the World Cup in South Africa, in the same way that matches during this year's competition were farmed out to Ireland, Scotland and Holland as well as the county venues of England and Wales. This method may take longer to work but it is far less embarrassing for the international minnows.

    [This message has been edited by Suhail (edited September 29, 1999).]
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