Firstly is something we can all agree on: there are too many ODIs being played, with too little context. After a triangular tournament in the West Indies, which I approved of in its concept and brevity, although not the fact that a Test series was ousted to accommodate it, India have departed to Zimbabwe to play five one-sided ODIs, the West Indies hosted Pakistan and lost 3-1, and Sri Lanka have returned home to face South Africa. Not one of these tours has any real context, and not one of them has a single Test match attached.
I don't really see what is to be gained by each of these series lasting five games. Granted, the result would have been slightly different for Pakistan (a 1-1 draw rather than the victory they sealed in the last two games) but ultimately it would have been better for cricket for the first or last five days of that series to have been spent in whites, in particular the time spent with Guyana and Pakistan playing a 14-a-side non-event. Indeed, Ashes aside, the only team with any apparent commitment to Test cricket is South Africa. Their tour of the UAE (to play Pakistan) and subsequent home series against India and Australia boast a respectable eight Test matches. England and Australia seem perfectly happy to tour the West Indies and India without playing a single red-ball fixture though, and the India-Australia seven-game ODI-athon presents precisely what's wrong with ODI cricket.
Despite widespread indifference, ODIs are still a money-spinner.
Imagine, for a second, that the Associates are involved. I'm not on about a seven game ODI series where Canada get mauled by the Indian third XI, I'm just on about them getting a cut of the proceeds, so to speak. For instance, the India-Australia series could still last seven matches, but as a tri-series, with an Associate involved. Six round-robin games and a final. It's difficult to find any information on how much money floats around these ODI series, but imagine what Afghanistan could do with even ten percent of what must be several million dollars that such a tournament would earn? Or the cut that Ireland could have taken out of being the third wheel in the England-New Zealand series earlier this summer? Or even what Kenya could get out of elbowing into the low-profile series currently going on in Zimbabwe.
The possibilities for such inclusion of Associates are endless, and by no means does every single series have to look that way. In my head was a quota whereby each Full Member has to play a minimum of two or three ODI matches against Associates every year. These fixtures would probably end up being biased towards the stronger teams like Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland or the Netherlands, but I don't see a problem with that; the stronger sides are the ones who need the exposure most.
Top-end Associates can really learn from Full Member sides.
These double-standards within the same competition are confusing and unnecessary, especially when Canada are to be found at the foot of the table, with only one win to their credit, comfortably below both of these non-ODI teams. I believe that all 26 non-ODI fixtures from this tournament should be retrospectively given full ODI status simply because it is a slight on the Namibians and especially the Emiratis (who have defeated ODI opponents no less than five times already in their ten matches to date) for them not to be.
So, to conclude, I just want those changes (which are actually quite small) to be made so as to make cricket a fairer and more democratic sport. Is it too much to ask?