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    ICC reverses WC decision, raises hopes for Afghanistan

    KABUL (PAN): The International Cricket Council (ICC) executive board has reversed its previous decisions and approved a 14-team format for the 2015 World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand, raising hopes for Afghanistan to feature in the event.

    The council also approved a 12-team format for the ICC World Twenty20 events in 2012 (Sri Lanka) and 2014 (Bangladesh).

    The board had previously decided in October 2010 that the World Cup would comprise a 10-team event and that the World Twenty20 events would involve 16 teams.

    Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) welcomed the decision, calling it a gaint leap toward the promotion of the game.

    ACB chief executive, Nasimullah Danish, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the council's previous decision left cricket lovers in Afghanistan outraged.

    "Cricket is gaining popularity in Afghanistan. The game lovers cheered the ICC decision," he said.

    In April 2011, the board had agreed that only the full members would participate in 2015 and that all members would be given an opportunity to participate in the 2019 World Cup through a qualification process.

    The ICC executive board, which met in Hong Kong, opted to retain the 14-team format that was used at the highly successful and universally acclaimed World Cup 2011 in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka with the 10 full members being joined by four associate or affiliate qualifiers.

    The World Twenty20 in 2012 and 2014 will now remain as 12-team events (10 full members and two associate/affiliates), which has been the format for the World Twenty20 events since its inception in 2007.

    The board also confirmed the introduction of the promotion/relegation system previously agreed.

    The Future Tours Programme for the period May 1 2012 to April 30 2020, which was proposed by the ICC chief executives’ committee on Monday, was adopted by the executive board.

    It was also agreed that compensation for unequal tours would remain unchanged.

    The board agreed with the CEC and cricket committee that a Twenty20 international rankings table should be created from October 1 2011, revised formats for one-day internationals and the need for further research on the balls to be used in day/night Test cricket.

    They also agreed that batsmen should be dismissed (obstructing the field) if they change their course while running to prevent a run-out chance, the running out of a non-striker who is backing up unfairly and the prohibition of the use of runners in all forms of international cricket.

    Meanwhile, Palestine won 2-0 away against Afghanistan in Wednesday's first leg of their World Cup qualifier, boosting its chances of reaching the second round.

    The match was nominally Afghanistan's home match but was played in Tajikistan due to the security situation in Afghanistan.

    Murad Alyan opened the scoring for Palestine in the 28th minute and Ismail Alamour got the second in the closing stages of the second half.

    Palestine will host the second leg on Sunday, with the aim of progressing to a second-round meeting with Thailand.

    pr/ma