Windies legend Holding hits out at WC minnows

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Hamilton:Former West Indies Test star Michael Holding believes the World Cup will be devalued by the number of non-Test playing nations taking part.

The fast bowling legend insists that only the top-ranked Associate country in the world should be allowed to take part.

When the 2007 World Cup gets underway in the Caribbean on March 11, there will be six non-Test teams involved, seven if Zimbabwe, who have temporarily lost their Test status, are included.

"I do not believe the World Cup should go on for as long as it does (almost two months) and that is partly because there are far too many teams in the competition who are not good enough to be there," the 53-year-old told the Royal Gazette.

"Ive argued about this with the ICC for some time. I simply do not believe that if you come fourth in the ICC Trophy that you should be entitled to play in the World Cup.

"It does not make sense to me. What is gained by a team playing in the World Cup and getting absolutely hammered? In my opinion it is counter-productive.

"What I believe should happen is that all the non-Test playing nations should continue to play amongst themselves, to have their own competition where only the top-ranked country goes through to the World Cup.

"I see nothing wrong with giving the smaller teams the odd tour and a few games against the bigger teams from time to time. And I think the ICC should continue to invest in non-Test playing nations to improve their cricket and their infrastructure and things like that.

"But its a big jump from that to having six non-Test nations all playing against the cream of the crop. Its not good for cricket."

The 16-nation tournament will include Scotland, Netherlands, Bermuda, Canada, Kenya and Ireland, all of whom have yet to play Test matches.

Meanwhile, Holding insists that the marathon tournament will be a success despite ongoing problems with stadium construction, soaring hotel prices, visa problems and reports of sluggish ticket sales.

"There have been some problems in some aspects of the preparation, but the logistics of organising a World Cup which is spread out over a region made up of many sovereign nations, with different laws, governments and currencies, was always going to be hard," he said.

"We tend to do things at the last minute in the Caribbean - its part of our culture.

"Even on the morning of a Test match theres always people hammering in nails somewhere or somebody painting something. Its the same with tickets as well.

"People in the Caribbean dont buy tickets months in advance, they tend to do it on the day of the game or a couple of days before."


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