England's low seeding

Humiliation is likely to be heaped on embarrassment when the seedings for cricket's 1999 World Cup are announced in a fortnight, writes David Llewellyn. Having failed to beat a single Test-playing country during their disastrous World Cup campaign last winter, when they were beaten in the quarter finals by Sri Lanka, the eventual champions, Mike Atherton's men are likely to be ranked eighth of the 12 competing nations in the tournament of which they are hosts.

The draw and format for the 1999 tournament - the fourth time England have hosted the World Cup - will be made on 11 July, when details of the International Cricket Council's annual meeting will be made public. Among other matters will be the role of the ICC in world cricket.

If a proposal by David Richards, the chief executive, and Clyde Walcott, the chairman, to be granted powers of intervention is approved by the meeting, then the previously toothless ICC will acquire a set of dentures and be able to legislate in certain matters. The recent accusations of bribery against Pakistani players by some Australians is a case in point.

Richards is confident that the proposal will be passed, thus allowing an executive committee to convene at short notice to react to contentious issues rather than, as has been the case in the past, merely referring the matter to the respective cricket boards.

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