Sachin Tendulkar was awarded the Bharath Ratna after he retired from international cricket © PTI
Sachin Tendulkar was awarded the Bharath Ratna after he retired from international cricket © PTI

New Delhi: India’s batting great Sachin Tendulkar has once again thrown his support behind Associate nations, calling on the International Cricket Council  (ICC) to provide more opportunities for these teams in the sport’s pinnacle events. The ICC came under severe criticism from supporters of nations like Ireland and Afghanistan after it proposed a 10-team World Cup in 2019 unlike the 2015 edition where 14 teams participated. Associate nations like Afghanistan and Oman produced some top-quality performances in the qualifying round for the ongoing World T20, with the former continuing their spirited run in group games against Sri Lanka and South Africa. READ: T20 World Cup 2016: Virat Kohli’s game has glimpses of Sachin Tendulkar, feels Steve Waugh

Meanwhile, rain played a spoilsport in some of the matches and hampered the progress of teams like Netherlands and Ireland. In the wake of Afghanistan’s spirited show against South Africa, former England skipper Michael Vaughan reiterated his criticism of the 10-team format that has been agreed for the next World Cup and urged the cricket’s governing body to rethink their decision. READ: VIDEO: Virat Kohli bows down to Sachin Tendulkar after scoring half-century against Pakistan in ICC T20 World Cup 2016

Echoing similar views, Tendulkar said on Twitter, “Completely agree. Spirit & performance of teams like Afghanistan & Oman echo the need for more teams at WC & beyond!” Afghanistan will next play against England in their penultimate Group 1 showdown in New Delhi on Wednesday. READ: Virat Kohli: Happy to play match-winning innings in front of Sachin Tendulkar and Eden Gardens

Tendulkar recently was in the stands at the Eden Gardens, overseeing India beat Pakistan in the T20 World Cup. Man of the match Virat Kohli bowed to Tendulkar after he scored a match-winning fifty. “I can’t express the feeling…Sachin Tendulkar was up there in the stands. I have seen Sachin paaji do that for India for years together and seen how people shout for him. I have gotten a chance to do it in front of him and he was celebrating,” Kohli told ‘bcci.tv‘.