Cricket: Bacher's expansion call

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The Independent Online
ALI BACHER, chairman of the International Cricket Council development committee, said in Nairobi yesterday that 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 said. "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."

Bacher, who is also managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, said Kenya and Bangladesh, who 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 summer by finishing in the top three of the ICC Trophy for associate members.

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