England learn World Cup fate
England will face India and South Africa in Group B of the 2011 ICC World Cup, as part of an expanded seven-team first round.
The new format - two groups of seven teams followed by quarter-final knockout - was confirmed by the International Cricket Council today.
England were placed in Group B, with West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland and the Netherlands their four other opponents.
The structure for the tournament, to be held in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, will see the overall number of games reduced from 51 to 49.
Group A and B will both see 21 matches, and the top four teams in each group will progress to the quarter-finals.
It replaces the itinerary of the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, which began with four groups of three and progressed to a Super Eight stage, which then decided the four semi-finalists.
ICC president David Morgan said the new format takes into account criticism that the last edition of the tournament was drawn out.
“We’re already certain that it will be shorter. You can be sure that we at the ICC had learnt from past mistakes,” Morgan said following a two-day board meeting in Johannesburg.
“I mean there is no doubt that the ICC World Cup in the Caribbean was unsuccessful in some aspects. We’ve learnt from that and I think that it’s not worthy that we’ve now staged three highly successful events - 2007 and 2009 - World Twenty20 and now the Champions Trophy in the same years.”
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat added: “We’re on record as saying that we acknowledged that 2007 might have been longer than desired. So we want to take a week off, if not more.”
Group A: Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada, Kenya
Group B: India, South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands