The ICC are reportedly seriously pondering the idea of expanding the 2027 World Cup to a 14-team affair, and the council are also said to be keen on re-introducing the ‘Super Six’ stage that was last seen in 2003. The 2019 WC featured just 10 teams, and the same will be the case come 2023.
There could be a ray of hope for associate nations as, according to Telegraph Sport, the International Cricket Council (ICC) are all set to expand the 2027 Cricket World Cup to 14 teams. Both the 2011 and the 2015 World Cups oversaw the participation of 14 teams, but this figure was cut down to just 10 in 2019, a decision that was condemned not just by associate nations but also several greats of the game. The 2023 World Cup will also follow 2019's suit and oversee just 10 teams, but, reportedly, it is now highly likely that the ICC will revert back to the decision of having 14 teams for the 2027 World Cup.
“The format is being discussed at the ICC board meeting, which begins on Tuesday. While the changes could be agreed this meeting, ultimate confirmation could well be delayed until later in the year, with the ICC and member countries currently mapping out the global calendar for 2023-31,” Telegraph Sport reported.
According to Telegraph, it is also likely that the 2023-31 cycle will see countries play out eight ICC events - two more than the ongoing cycle - with the Champions Trophy (50-over) set to make a return.
“There is also a growing expectation that boards will agree to there being eight ICC men's global events - rather than six - during the cycle, which would see a Champions Trophy style ODI competition played.”
Most importantly, however, the 2027 World Cup, it is believed, could also see the return of the ‘Super Six’ stage that was last seen in 2003. Each of the last three World Cups boasted formats that were devised to safeguard higher ranked sides - in order to maximize broadcast revenue - but the 2027 World Cup could reportedly see the return of the Super Six stage.
“Under the Super Sixes model, the 14 teams would be placed in two groups of top seven, each playing six group games. The top three teams in each pool would then progress to the Super Sixes stage, with sides carrying forward points from the first group stage. In the Super Sixes, teams would play the three other teams to qualify from the other group stage. The top four teams from the Super Sixes would then reach the semi-finals,” the report claimed.
The controversial decision to devise formats that safeguarded ‘favourites’ was taken post the 2007 World Cup, a competition in which both India and Pakistan - two sides that drive huge revenue and viewership - were knocked out of the group stages. Since then, barring England's infamous exit in the 2015 World Cup, there have been no notable shock eliminations.