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'The ICC can cash in with a big cheque, and a lot of teams are leaving here with nothing'

Ireland won’t be at next summer’s World Cup, and William Porterfield has once again vented his frustration at the way the sport is being governed.

IRELAND CAPTAIN WILLIAM Porterfield has launched a passionate and scathing denunciation of the International Cricket Council (ICC) after his side missed out on a place at the contracted 2019 World Cup.

924863912 William Porterfield speaking at today's post-match press conference. Source: Nigel Roddis - IDI

After being handed an unlikely lifeline to secure a place at next summer’s 10-team tournament, Ireland’s hopes of competing at a fourth consecutive World Cup were left in tatters with a five-wicket defeat to Afghanistan this afternoon.

Graham Ford’s side had already suffered heavy reversals to West Indies and Zimbabwe but other results went their way, providing them with one final chance, only for Ireland to produce a feeble effort with the bat.

Ireland’s 209/7 off 50 overs was never going to be enough and despite a spirited display with the ball, most notably from Simi Singh, Porterfield and his team-mates fell heartbreakingly short in Harare.

Instead, Afghanistan will join fellow qualifiers West Indies in next summer’s tournament, which will be made up of 10 teams for the first time as the ICC look to increase its revenue from TV deals sold to the big three of India, England and Australia.

Under the new format, those nations are guaranteed nine televised World Cup fixtures, thus allowing the governing body — which purports to want to expand the game — maximum its revenue streams from TV rights.

It means the likes of Ireland, Scotland, Zimbabwe, Netherlands and UAE all miss out at the showpiece tournament, further reducing the opportunities for lower ranked nations.

While Porterfield acknowledged the fact his side had a golden chance to secure the final qualifying place, he used his post-match press conference to vent his frustration at the ICC’s short-sighted and money-orientated decision.

“It’s been a fantastic tournament,” the Ireland captain said.

“But how there’s only two teams going to a competition that’s played every 208 weeks and you’ve got a six-week competition, to just play it so two or three big teams can play nine games on TV so the ICC can cash in with a big cheque, and a lot of teams are leaving here with nothing in their pocket.

“What have they got to look forward to now for the next few years? It’s going to be so hard for them. The big cheque they’re getting [from the World Cup] has to be pushed back down through.

“All I hear is how good this competition has been, how everyone has beaten everyone, it’s gone round in a circle.

Ireland v Afghanistan - ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier Source: Julian Herbert-IDI

“It has to be put back into the game because if countries don’t have a World Cup to look forward to or the possibility of getting to the World Cup; if they actually give that carrot, dangle it in front of countries, surely cricket is going to get better in those countries and actually expand.

“I’m not just saying that because we didn’t get there but I feel sorry for a lot of countries that are leaving here that don’t know what’s going to happen next week.”

Porterfield added: ”I feel sorry for Scotland how it ended for them. But they go back now and they’ve probably got three games of cricket this summer. For them to progress I think it’s going to be harder.

“I feel sorry for a lot of other teams that are leaving here. Obviously ourselves and Afghanistan got elevated, which we’re grateful for, but we need to keep getting funding in to improve facilities, get those extra fixtures.

“We leave here, yes we’re gutted now, but in a couple of weeks’ time we’ve got to regroup and build up towards the Test match and we’ve got a few other fixtures this summer.”

Qualifiers West Indies and Afghanistan join defending champions Australia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, hosts England, South Africa and New Zealand in next summer’s World Cup.

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Heartbreak for Ireland as Phil Simmons’ Afghanistan beat them to final Cricket World Cup place

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Ryan Bailey

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