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ICC chief criticized by smaller nations over WCup

 Kenyan batsman Steven Tikolo looks back to see the bails being dislodged from the wickets resulting in his dismissal during the cricket World Cup war...
 Ireland's William Porterfield hits a shot during the World Cup warm-up cricket match between against New Zealand, at Vidarbha Cricket Association sta...
 Kenya's bowler Steve Tikolo, right, bowls during their World Cup warm-up cricket match against Netherlands at the Sinhalese Sports Club Cricket Groun...
 FILE- Haroon Lorgat, chief executive of  the International Cricket Council, speaks in Karachi, Pakistan on in this Thursday, April 15, 2010 file phot...
 Canada's cricketers from left, Amabhir Hansra, captain Ashish Bagai and Rizwan Cheema seen during a practice session at Mahinda Rajapaksha Stadium in...

Sri Lanka Kenya West Indies Cricket WCup

Kenyan batsman Steven Tikolo looks back to see the bails being dislodged from the wickets resulting in his dismissal during the cricket World Cup war...

India New Zealand Ireland Cricket WCup

Ireland's William Porterfield hits a shot during the World Cup warm-up cricket match between against New Zealand, at Vidarbha Cricket Association sta...

Sri Lanka Netherlands Kenya Cricket WCup

Kenya's bowler Steve Tikolo, right, bowls during their World Cup warm-up cricket match against Netherlands at the Sinhalese Sports Club Cricket Groun...

Pakistan India Cricket WCup Lorgat

FILE- Haroon Lorgat, chief executive of the International Cricket Council, speaks in Karachi, Pakistan on in this Thursday, April 15, 2010 file phot...

Sri Lanka ICC WCup Cricket Canada

Canada's cricketers from left, Amabhir Hansra, captain Ashish Bagai and Rizwan Cheema seen during a practice session at Mahinda Rajapaksha Stadium in...

ICC chief Haroon Lorgat has defended the ruling body's decision to cut the number of World Cup teams from 14 to 10 in the 2015 edition, triggering a barrage of criticism Friday from smaller nations Kenya, Ireland and Canada.
The three countries all said reducing the number of teams at the World Cup was a major setback for them, despite Lorgat's claim that smaller teams would do better in a less-skillful Twenty20 format.
The International Cricket Council, which decided on the team reduction last year, has now faced criticism from three of the four non-test playing nations at the 2011 World Cup. Its move is likely to exclude the likes of Kenya, Ireland, Canada and Netherlands from the 50-over showpiece in Australia and New Zealand in four years.
ICC chief executive Lorgat told a news conference earlier Friday that 50-over cricket was "more skill-based" and that the world body wanted to spread the game through the Twenty20 format instead.
"We felt in the past few years that Twenty20 is the format best disposed to develop the game and provides a better environment for competition," Lorgat said.
"Twenty20 is the format needed to develop the game and we plan to increase that (world championship) to 16 teams."
The most recent World Twenty20 event, won by England in the Caribbean last year, was a 12-team championship.
The 2011 World Cup, which opens on Saturday in Dhaka with Bangladesh's game against fellow co-host India and closes on April 2, is a 14-team event.
The ICC maintains that countries like Kenya, Ireland, Canada and Netherlands will have a chance to qualify for 2015, though that process is only likely to be decided in April.
However, Kenya's veteran batsman, Steve Tikolo, who is at his fifth World Cup, said cutting the number of teams at the World Cup would hurt the expansion of the game beyond traditional cricket-playing countries.
"If we as cricketers really want to spread the game all over the world a lot of countries should be given a chance to play," Tikolo said. "Making it (the World Cup) a 10-team affair, I don't think it's the right way to go if you want to globalize the game. That's my personal view."
Ireland batsman Ed Joyce told The Associated Press that reducing the number of places at a World Cup, and making it harder for the Irish team to qualify, would hinder cricket's development in his country. Offering an extra four places at the World Twenty20 instead was "small consolation," he added.
"It would be a backward step for us not to be at the (50-over) World Cup," Joyce said in a phone interview from the team's hotel in Dhaka. "It's disappointing, but it's out of our hands."
Joyce, who also played one-day international cricket for England, said he understood why the ICC was placing more focus on the shorter Twenty20 format for developing nations, but added: "I don't completely buy it.
"I don't see why it (an expanded World Twenty20) should affect the number of teams at the 50-over World Cup."
Canada's Sri Lankan coach Pubudu Dassanayake said cutting four teams from the World Cup was a "severe setback" for the Canadians.
"We are disappointed," he said. "(The) ICC helped us a lot in the last couple of years to come to this place (the World Cup). Right now we are in a situation where we have lots of talent in the country.
"It would have been nice to play continuously. If the ICC has decided, we can't help it, but it's a severe setback for us."
On Thursday, Cricket Kenya chief executive Tom Sears criticized the ICC and told AP that a reduced tournament was "a farce" and that smaller countries "need to play at World Cups to improve."
Sears conceded World Cups were too drawn out, but said there were other ways of solving that problem without removing teams.
Separately, Lorgat also felt the World Cup had become too long in recent editions.
"The previous event was longer than was perhaps comfortable," he said about the 2007 edition in the Caribbean, which featured 16 teams.
"We have shed some days in this particular event. In a 14-team format, this was the most compact way we could produce the event. Regardless of T20 cricket, World Cup is our flagship tournament. We want to ensure that all three formats survive," said Lorgat, who also confirmed that the format in this edition was made to help top teams come through the group stage.
"You can't predict competition, but this tournament gives a chance for best teams to qualify for the knockout stage," said Lorgat.
India and Pakistan both failed to make it to the knockout phase at the 2007 event, which used a different format to this year's edition.
Lorgat also clarified that host teams would get to play in their own country in the knockout stage.
"In the case of the quarterfinals and semifinals, hosts will play at home. In the event of two hosts clashing, the higher ranked team will be the host," he said.
Two quarterfinals are scheduled to be held at Dhaka while Ahmedabad and Colombo are scheduled to host one each. The venues for the semifinals are Mohali and Colombo.
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Gerald Imray in New Delhi contributed to this report.