Pakistan former captain Rashid Latif has criticised the 2011 World Cup format and believes the International Cricket Council itself has opened the window for spot-fixing in the tournament.
"What sort of format or formation have they applied in such a big event? It is obvious that the real competition will only start from the quarter final stage. This means it encourages bookmakers to try to corrupt players to indulge in white collar spot-fixing crime in the group matches," Latif told PTI.
He pointed out that as far as the present formation of teams was concerned, it was obvious that the top eight test playing nations would make the quarter finals from the two groups.
"The formation is such that even if a top team loses a match or two this really will not stop it from qualifying for the quarter finals," he said.
"Take for example group A. How can the ICC expect teams like Kenya or Canada to cause any upset and it is obvious Zimbabwe is weaker compared to Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand."
The former wicketkeeper batsman, who blew the whistle on match-fixing 16 years back, said he was surprised that the ICC despite having a large staff and some of the best cricket and management minds could not come up with a more competitive format and formation.
"My fear is this format and formation only encourages spot-fixing and it is difficult for anyone to identify such things. Even our three players were only caught because their own partner got greedy," said Latif, who played 37 tests and 169 ODIs.
Latif felt that the best format for the next World Cup should be that the top eight test teams compete for the honors on single league basis.
"This format will do two positive things. It will raise the bar of competition among teams in the four-year cycle to finish among the top eight to qualify for the World Cup and give more meaning to the series played the year around," he said.
"The second good thing would be that the single league format would encourage top competition and no team would be able to take any match lightly," he added.
Latif said if the ICC wanted to encourage the associate and weaker teams they should hold competitions for these teams all the year around.
"Don't expect these weaker teams to improve by just playing a few tournaments in the year. They require exposure against top teams and also the ICC must help them improve their domestic structures," he said.
Pakistan's former captain, Imran Khan has also said that the real competition in the World Cup will only start from the quarter-finals as many of the group matches will be meaningless.
World Cup '11 Format Will Encourage Spot-Fixing: Latif
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