Latif backs ICC’s decision to reduce number of Associate members in next World Cup

Sunday, February 27, 2011

LAHORE - Afghanistan cricket team head coach Rashid Latif has said the International Cricket Council has taken a right decision to reduce the number of teams to 10 in the next World Cup.

“I think this is a good decision from the ICC to reduce the number of Associate members playing at the next world cup,” quoted Latif, as saying.

To compensate for the exclusion of Associate members from the next World Cup, the ICC has decided to increase the number of competing teams at the Twenty20 World Cup to 16. However, Latif feels that the Associate teams should instead concentrate on competing in the longer format.

“Associate members can not improve their cricket through ODI and T20 cricket, they need 3, 4 and 5 day matches throughout the year,” Latif said, adding “Associate members play barely 15 matches in a year which is why they are not improving their cricket and are stagnated at the same place where they started.”

Kenya provides an apt ideal example to substantiate Latif’s hypothesis. After a memorable debut in the 1996 World Cup and qualification for the 2003 World Cup semi final, they have regressed to a stage where they are no longer considered competitive.

In what comes as good news to Afghanistan and other teams, the ICC has recently announced that Zimbabwe will be reinstated as a Test playing nation.

“The ICC needs to give Test status to one or two teams over the next three years. Associate members will improve domestic cricket after getting Test status,” the coach said.

Latif, who played 37 test matches as a wicketkeeper for Pakistan through the 1990s, is impressed with the improvement in Afghanistan cricket particularly in the longer format.

“Afghanistan cricket team is much better in four day or five day games and that’s why we have won previously against Zimbabwe, Ireland, Kenya, Canada, Holland and Scotland in the Intercontinental Cup,” he said.

“I am not interested in solely qualifying for the World Cup for Afghanistan. I am trying hard to get us Test status which will then mean we will automatically play all kind of cricket and in World Cups too,” he added. (ANI)

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