Cricket: Johnston hails World Cup boost
Ireland's hopes of playing at the next World Cup have been reignited after a senior International Cricket Council (ICC) committee recommended yesterday that a qualifying system be considered for 2015.
The ICC had previously suggested that the World Cup would be trimmed from this year's 14 teams to just the 10 Test nations for the next tournament, but ICC president Sharad Pawar requested a review on behalf of second-tier teams such as Ireland.
Ireland only narrowly missed out on a quarter-final berth in this year's tournament in India after beating England, and the committee -- which is chaired by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd and includes players, coaches and match officials -- has backed Pawar.
ICC general manager David Richardson said one possibility is that the official one-day rankings could be used to help determine qualification.
Ireland are currently ranked No 10, above Test nation Zimbabwe. Canada, Kenya and the Netherlands were the other associate members at the last World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The ICC wanted to trim the tournament in order to shorten the World Cup from its present seven-week schedule. But this year's World Cup was already two teams light compared to four years earlier and was widely considered a more interesting event than that previous competition in the Caribbean.
Ireland all-rounder Trent Johnston, who is on the committee as an associate representative, reacted to the recommendation on Twitter.
"Unanimous decision by ICC Cricket Committee to recommend to the Chief Exec Committee there be a qualifier for CWC 2015. A great result!" Johnston wrote.
Meanwhile, Dubliner Eoin Morgan has been given the chance to press his claims to fill Paul Collingwood's Test place after being named in the England Lions squad to face Sri Lanka in Derby next week.
Morgan, who has been playing in the Indian Premier League, will, however, face opposition from Ravi Bopara, who has also been selected in the 12-man Lions squad to raise the prospect of a 'bat-off' between the duo ahead of the first Test against the Sri Lankans which begins in Cardiff on May 26.
Morgan is joined in the squad by two of his fellow Ashes winners with Steven Finn and Ajmal Shahzad both selected.