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Petitioning INTERNATIONAL CRICKET COUNCIL

Reverse the decision to reduce the 2019 World Cup to ten teams.

Associate nations have proven already, in the ongoing World Cup and in previous editions of the tournament, that they are more than capable of competing with full member nations in international cricket.

Associate nations greatly enrich the competition: Kevin O'Brien's century in Ireland's victory over England in 2011 was voted the second-greatest World Cup moment of all time, and the ICC's own twitter header picture used to feature a still from that match. There are many other examples of memorable associate victories over full members, and the gap between the two has never been smaller, if it even exists at all any more.

A two-stage format similar to the current World T20 competition would not correct this problem, as it severely limits the opportunities that associate nations get to learn from playing against the top professionals in the world - and, occasionally, beating them. The only way they will improve on their already impressive developments, and the only way cricket can improve, is by keeping associate nations and full members in the same draw at the World Cup.

No other global sport is seeking to contract its show-piece event, and neither should cricket. The decision to reduce the 2019 and 2023 World Cups to ten teams threatens not only the development of cricket in top associate nations like Afghanistan and Ireland, but the growth of cricket into a truly global sport. This should be the ICC's greatest ambition, and a ten-team World Cup would shatter that dream. The decision must be reversed.

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