Although the ICC announced that the format for the 2011 World Cup has yet to be agreed, has learned that a proposal submitted by the hosts has been approved. It consists of two groups of seven with the top four in each group progressing to a knock-out stage.
In a letter dated December 18, 2007 and written on behalf of the four CEOs of the Asian countries, Shafqat Naghmi, the chief operations officer of the Pakistan Cricket Board, put forward three alternative proposals, of which their preferred option was the one approved by the ICC executive board on Tuesday.
The 14-team format will consist of two groups of seven teams - each group containing two of the four qualifying Associates - who would play each other. The top four sides would then progress into the quarter-finals.
It was estimated that the competition length could be reduced from 47 days to around 38 by using this format. The total number of games - 49 - would also meet the requirements of the television deal with ESPN-Star, which stipulates a minimum of 47 matches. There would also be more of what the letter referred to as "A-team games", defined as those involving the top eight Full Member countries.
The letter unanimously recommended this option to Campbell Jamieson, the ICC's general manager - commercial. It was subsequently presented to the ICC chief executives' committee in February where, so some Associates insist, it was treated as a done deal.