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Last Updated:  Sunday, 2 March, 2003, 09:41 GMT

Holding calls for World Cup rethink
Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding
Holding has a say in the organisation of the World Cup
The World Cup has been undermined by giving Zimbabwe and Kenya points forfeited by England and New Zealand for refusing to play in those countries, West Indies great Michael Holding believes.

The former fast bowler, a member of the World Cup's technical committee, believes the qualification for the Super Sixes stage needs rethinking.

"The Super Six were meant to be those teams that had played the best cricket in the 42 preliminary matches and had finished in the top three positions in their respective groups," Holding wrote in his syndicated column.

"But unfortunately the off the field activities have ensured that may not be the case.

"Should teams be allocated points as freely as this in such a prestigious and financially rewarding tournament?

"Should teams who have played their guts out - giving of their best and heaven forbid, suffered injuries in the process - be allowed to be sent home because another team pocketed unearned points and leapfrogged ahead of them?

The ICC has got to find ways of stopping these forfeiting of points for reasons they obviously don't find legitimate
Michael Holding

"The simple answer is no."

Kenya became the first non-Test playing nation to book their place in the Super Sixes, while Zimbabwe have a chance if they defeat Pakistan by a big margin on Tuesday.

Holding believes the answer lies in taking a leaf out of what happens in other sports.

"Take Fifa [football's governing body] for example. You miss a game for a reason that they dont find acceptable and you are out of the tournament and the points for those games gone and those coming are null and void," Holding wrote.

Should Kenya have been awarded four points for a forfeited match?
The Kenya players celebrate their qualification for the Super Sixes
"The International Cricket Council (ICC) certainly may not see reason to be as draconian as Fifa but it has got to find ways of stopping these forfeiting of points for reasons they obviously don't find legitimate.

"It happened in the World Cup in Asia eight years ago when both the West Indies and Australia refused to tour Sri Lanka, while other teams did without the slightest hint of a problem.

"There seemed to be no plan put in place to prevent a repetition after that tournament and it has happened here again here.

"It is time for some action, ICC."



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