Ireland captain William Porterfield fears the International Cricket Council will be running a competition for ‘members only’ rather than a proper World Cup if it presses ahead with streamlining plans.
The ICC remains committed to reducing the number of teams competing in the next World Cup, in England in 2019, to 10 rather than the 14 who took part in the ongoing one in Australia and New Zealand.
Porterfield is tempted to ask himself “What’s the point?” in continuing on that basis, as the world governing body is effectively “shutting doors in the face” of improving associate nations like his own.
Ireland have beaten Test-playing countries at each of the last three World Cups, including a famous run chase against England in 2011 and another against West Indies to begin their campaign this year.
But Porterfield worries Ireland, and others, will have minimal opportunity to qualify for the tournament next time - because they are granted so few fixtures against teams they need to beat.
“It’s a decision that not only I but a lot of other people completely disagree with,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“If you look at any other sport around the world, they’re looking to expand and develop.
“The way the ICC are going... they don’t seem to be doing that really.”
Instead, after this week’s remarks from ICC chief executive David Richardson, Porterfield senses financial considerations are over-riding any intention to make cricket a truly global sport.
“Cutting teams is not the way forward,” he said.
“It’s only full members, pretty much, they’re giving the opportunities to - it may as well be a members’ cup, as opposed to a World Cup.”
Ireland reached the second stage of the 2007 World Cup, and narrowly missed out on a last-eight place in the current edition.
“That’s what everyone wants to see,” said Porterfield.
“Nobody wants to see the favourites just go out there and dominate a competition.
“I think how we’ve done, and what we’ve shown over the last few years, merits a place at the World Cup.
“But the ICC just seem to be shutting doors in your face really.
“The last four years between World Cups, we’ve played nine games against top-10 teams. Even if we’d won every single game we played, we still can’t break in - so that’s what we’re up against.”
Porterfield fears not just for Ireland’s future, but that of many aspiring nations.
“It’s almost getting to the stage of ‘What’s the point?’ for a lot of the teams,” he added.
“If you keep closing the door, they can’t get on to the world stage.
“I’d like to know what his [Richardson’s] vision for the game is.
“It’s not just Ireland here – we’re talking about a global game.
“This is the International Cricket Council. If his vision for the game is to shrink it and make as much money for the top few nations as possible, then come out and say that.
“It’s frustrating when we keep doing everything that’s asked of us by the ICC, and then they keep slapping you in the face with decisions like this.”