Ireland captain William Porterfield has once more attacked the International Cricket Council’s decision to cut the number of teams at the next World Cup.
This year’s edition features 14 teams, but under the ICC’s plans that will be reduced to 10 for the next tournament to be held in England in 2019.
Eight places will be decided according to the world rankings and it is likely the associate nations, including the Irish, will have to battle it out for two qualifying spots.
It has prompted much indignation, especially in the wake of Ireland’s spirited displays in recent weeks, having beaten Test-playing sides West Indies and Zimbabwe as they fell just short of reaching the knockout phases.
Porterfield himself expressed his dismay at the decision last month and speaking after his team’s defeat to Pakistan - which ensured Ireland missed out on a quarter-final spot on net run-rate alone after finishing level on points with the Windies in Pool B - he again called on the ICC to help develop the game.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, he said: “Why don’t 10 teams just play cricket and every other country in the world not bother?
“You’ve got a Champions Trophy every two years and that’s the top eight sides so you’re just making a World Cup every other year for the top eight to 10 sides, I don’t think it’s right.
“I’m sure they’re (the ICC) hoping everything blows over in the next few weeks and they don’t hear much from us, then it’s just easy to brush it under the carpet, but I think something has to be done if they want to grow the game.
“We have to be playing in these competitions and we’ve shown what we can do in them. We’re unlucky we’ve missed out on the quarter-finals on net run-rate.”
In between the current and previous World Cups, Ireland had played just nine matches against Full Member nations.
Porterfield added: “We’ve shown what we can do when we get to these competitions with the minimal fixtures that we’ve had, so I think when we do get more fixtures then we’re only going to keep improving and it’s the same with any other country.
“You’ve got to keep growing the game.”
Ireland have the chance to earn Test status in two years’ time, and Porterfield hopes they can play more shorter-format matches against the top nations to continue their development.
He said: “We need more fixtures, we’ve shown how we can grow in one-day internationals.
“Any time we’ve been on a tour or a World Cup for eight to 12 weeks we’ve shown what we can do, but when we go back now as a national side we’ve got six weeks until our next game (against England).
“It’s a big gap in a calendar, especially at the start of a season back home, so those are the gaps we need filling before we look to start building for Test status.
“It’s something we all want and there is that pathway there for Test cricket but we need to improve the volume of fixtures before we get to that stage.”