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Anger at refusal to expand T20 champs

cricket Updated: Jun 30, 2011 15:15 IST

AFP
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Cricket's governing body said Thursday it would limit the World Twenty20 championship to 12 teams despite complaints by second-tier countries that the decision would stunt the sport's global growth.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) resisted pressure from minor nations to expand the tournament, despite having overturned a decision to reduce the number of countries contesting the next 50-over World Cup.

The second- and third-tier associate and affiliate members "expressed some disappointment at the decision to maintain a 12-team ICC World Twenty20 in 2012 (Sri Lanka) and 2014 (Bangladesh)," the ICC said in a statement after its annual full council meeting, held this year in Hong Kong.

It had been widely anticipated that the 2012 tournament would host 16 nations and the qualification process is already underway -- but will now be for just two spots instead of six.

"We will challenge that decision, we won't sit back," Africa Cricket Association chief executive Cassim Suliman was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

"It's about giving opportunity to everybody and globalising the game. We still have time to work on this and we will."

The move was in contrast to to the ICC's decision earlier in the week to reverse controversial plans to bar so-called "minnow" countries from the 2015 World Cup.

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.

The move was greeted with relief by the minnows, who had been told in April that there would be no places for them in a 10-team format.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the organisation acknowledged the "disappointment" of the minor nations over the Twenty20 decision.

"The decision to have 14 teams in the ICC Cricket World Cup and 12 teams in the ICC World Twenty20 is a return to the current format for ICC events," he said.