Sachin: Smaller teams have to be encouraged

Former India player, and batting great, Sachin Tendulkar has pleaded with cricket's governing body not to reduce the number of teams participating at the next World Cup.

The ICC have said that the next global tournament, which will be held in England in 2019, might be reduced to a maximum of 10 teams, from the current 14. That statement has angered all the Associate nations currently participating at the showpiece event in New Zealand and Australia.

Many other former players and pundits have also called on the governing body not to reduce the number of participants, as this would not globalise the game.

Tendulkar, who is an ambassador for the ICC at the current World Cup, said: "I found out the next World Cup would only be ten teams.

"Which is slightly disappointing because as a cricketer I want the game to be globalised as much as possible and, according to me, this is a backwards step. We've got to find ways of encouraging the lesser teams."

Tendulkar also said established cricketing countries should do more to help the smaller nations. They could, for instance, send their second-string side's to go an play the Associate teams.  

The first player to score an ODI double-ton, Tendulkar said: "The lesser teams have, in each and every World Cup, they always surprise top teams. And they can do it on a consistent basis only if they're given a fair platform to express their talent.

"Why not get Australia A, England A, South Africa A, New Zealand A, India A, everyone, to go and visit these countries and play them on a regular basis."