Ireland coach Phil Simmons expressed his delight at the ICC’s decision to bar so-called 'minnow' countries from the next World Cup in 2015. Ireland performed admirably in the World Cup, even managing to beat England in a humdinger of a match in Bengaluru.
The ICC had earlier stated that the 2015 World Cup would consist of only 10 teams; which caused outrage amongst the various second-tier countries. However, the ICC announced on Tuesday that four non-Test playing nations would compete in a 14-team World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2015, with 10 places going to the Test-playing nations and the second-tier teams having to pre-qualify for the remaining four places.
"The real work starts now," he said in a statement issued by Cricket Ireland (CI).
"We've got to show the ICC and the Full Members that we can perform in the final stages. That means reaching semi-finals and finals, not just the occasional shock.
"We've got to take our cricket to the next level and show we belong as a right at these global events. We've certainly progressed in recent years, but we have got the potential to grow much further. That's what I'll be looking for from this Ireland team in the next four years up to 2015." he said.
Ireland batsman Kevin O'Brien, who blasted the fastest ever World Cup century in the win over England, added: "I think it's the right decision from the ICC, not just for Ireland, but all the other 95 countries who aspire to play in World Cups."
Although Ireland’s performances matched world standards, other second tier countries like Kenya, Canada and the Netherlands failed to compete at the World Cup and hence that has raised a few eyebrows after the ICC’s decided to revert back to a 14-team event.
The ICC also revealed on Tuesday that the next two World Twenty20 tournaments would be reduced back to 12 teams.