Simmons backs Associates for next World Cup
Newly appointed West Indies coach Phil Simmons is encouraging the International Cricket Council (ICC) to keep faith with Associates teams for the next World Cup.
The Trinidadian is coming off an eight-year stint with Ireland, including leading them to the last two World Cups, where they made a significant impact despite failing to reach the second round.
With the ICC planning to reduce the complement of teams at the one-day showpiece even further, Simmons believes marginalising Associates teams, like Ireland, would be a mistake.
"There shouldn't be a World Cup without Associates, and no disrespect to the others, but definitely not one without Ireland," Simmons said.
"I would hope the ICC reassess, because some of the best games at this World Cup have been played by the Associates. Other sports have at least 20 teams, so why can't cricket have 14 teams regularly."
He added: "We were saying the same at the end of the 2011 World Cup (about reducing the number of teams at the World Cup) and the pressure wasn't half as much then as it is now, so I hope they reverse their decision and that there will be 14 teams in the next World Cup."
Ireland played outstandingly at the current World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, shocking West Indies by four wickets in their opening game en route to winning three of their first four games.
They narrowly missed out on the second round, finishing level on points with West Indies in fourth spot but with an inferior net run rate.
At the previous World Cup in India, Ireland also made headlines when they produced a superb run chase to shock England by three wickets in Bangalore.
Simmons praised the way Ireland played in the ongoing World Cup, especially the way they upset West Indies.
"The players' attitude was superb throughout, fronting up to those big games. We left saying we needed to win three games, and that's what we did. We just didn't allow for Pakistan beating South Africa," Simmons explained.