Scotland wash hands of WCQ tournament
Jon Coates (The Scotsman)
Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith has revealed that the body relinquished the right to host the 2015 World Cup Qualifier in favour of a more equitable qualifying format.
The ICC announced yesterday that the Qualifier will be staged in co-host New Zealand in 2014, having declared six years ago that the event would be held in Scotland in 2013.
It would have been the first senior ICC tournament to have been taken place in this country – Ireland has hosted both the World Cup and World Twenty20 Qualifiers – but CS were not entirely enraptured when the tournament came Scotland's way, having had their eyes on hosting the glamorous World Twenty20 finals instead.
However, in the myriad of negotiations that took place in the wake of the ICC's attempt last year to scrap qualifying for the 2015 World Cup altogether, Smith and CS chairman Keith Oliver – who sits on the ICC board – agreed to forgo hosting rights.
"When the WCL [World Cricket League] championship came in, [it was decided that] the league would not finish until 13 December so the qualifier could not be in summer 2013,' said Smith last night.
"On this basis we agreed to withdraw as host as we are all in favour of the new format.
"The new Qualifier had to be in early 2014, which obviously ruled us out."
The new qualifying format pits Scotland against fellow associate nations in a home-and-away round-robin over a three-year period, and is seen as a more meritorious method than the previous model of a single championship deciding the qualifiers.
But by giving away home advantage, CS have made life more difficult for Scotland ahead of what will be the last World Cup comprising 14 teams for the foreseeable future.
The ICC also announced yesterday that the 2019 and 2023 events will both, as expected, be confined to 10 teams, with eight Test nations guaranteed a place and two other nations qualifying.
In a further sign of things to come, the United Arab Emirates has been granted the right to host a third consecutive World Twenty20 Qualifier in October 2013, ahead of the finals the following year.