Associate nations, like Ireland and the Netherlands, may not be dumped out of the 2015 cricket World Cup, as the ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) on Monday recommended that there should be a qualifying tournament for participation in the elite event.
The ICC in April had decided to restrict the 2015 World Cup to the top 10 nations only, much to the dismay of the associates, who strongly protested the decision.
The decision to put a cap on the teams was due to criticism over the tournament's lengthy format.
The CEC stopped short of putting a seal on the number of teams for the tournament but the decision raised hopes of teams like Netherlands, Ireland, Canada and Kenya to feature in the 2015 edition of the event to be held in Australia and New Zealand.
"The CEC recommended that there should be a qualification process for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 but did not make a recommendation to the ICC Executive Board on the number of teams that should compete in the event to be held in Australia and New Zealand," the ICC said.
ICC president Sharad Pawar had taken up the cause of the minnows by asking its Board to reconsider the decision.
In other key decisions, the CEC decided that a captain will now be suspended for two over-rate breaches in a 12-month period in any one format of the game rather than the current position which is three breaches prior to suspension.
"The CEC, like the ICC Cricket Committee, was concerned at the slow over-rates in Test match cricket and agreed on stricter sanctions against captains for over-rate breaches," a statement from the ICC said.
The CEC also agreed with the Cricket Committee's recommendation to abolish runners in international cricket.
In a decision with regard to One-day cricket, the CEC restricted elective powerplays to between the 16th and 40th overs of each innings and also to the use of two new balls per innings -- one from each end. This will come into effect from October 1.
"Even though the success of 50-over cricket played during the World Cup 2011 was universally acknowledged, the CEC rightly supported the enhancements recommended by the ICC Cricket Committee to strengthen the format further, including encouraging members to trial some specific innovations in their domestic cricket," ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said.
These innovations include a review of the maximum number of overs that a bowler can bowl, an increase from one to two for the number of short balls permitted per over, no compulsory requirement for close catchers and a maximum of four fielders outside the 30-yard circle during non-powerplay overs.
Other ICC Cricket Committee recommendations include continued research into the use of different colour balls to facilitate day/night Test matches.
CEC also approved that batsmen can be given out for obstructing the field if they change their direction when running between the wickets to block a run-out chance.
The two-day ICC Executive Board meeting will begin in Hong Kong on Tuesday.