Why not just have 11 teams and make everyone happy?
Lets not have 14 teams, Lets not have only 10 full members either. Lets have 10 full members + 1 associate (the WCL Div 1 winner). If a round robin is held, it will be 55 games. These can be wrapped up in 27 days, then another week for the semis and final. You get the 34 day world cup, and you also get the round robin that is apparently so important. Additionally associates are not completely blocked, there is a small entry point, albiet only for 1.
One entry point does help if one associate country is out performing all the others by a big margin, like Ireland seem to be doing right now, and like Zimbabwe and Srilanka have done in the past. Where it doesnt help is, that the winner is not always the best associate. Ireland in 2007 were the 2nd associate to qualify (Scotland was the best), Canada was 3rd in 2003 (Netherlands and Namibia were higher), Kenya was 2nd in 1996 (UAE were higher). Only in 1999 was the associate with the most impact made the top qualifier (Bangladesh), and that was off the last ball in their ICC Trophy qualifier against Kenya. So the ICC will have to pick the top associate based on a large number of performances, and not just one tournament.
Many people incorrectly believe that the world cup is about finding the best team. Thats not really the case. Australia was best in 1975, but WI won. WI was best in 1983, but India won. Pakistan/India were best in 1987, but Australia won. England/NZ were best in 1992, but Pakistan won. SA were best in 1996, but Srilanka won. SA were best in 1999, but Australia won. The world cup is about winning a tournament that has the maximum challenge from the world. It is about celebrating the “global” nature of the sport. It is about celebrating the cricketers from all over the world, about giving them a stage, and about giving them the same experience as the best get. It is NOT supposed to be a “quick FTP”.
A world cup is also about big matches. As dumb as it sounds, Ireland knocking out Pakistan and Bangladesh knocking out India, or Kenya almost knocking out WI in 1996, is exactly what a world cup is. No minnow in any sport can be expected to go an beat a champion nation over a 7 game series. Someone can come and say that the semi finals should be a best of 5 series, followed by the final to be a best of 7 series, but thats just not the case. In my opinion a round robin league where everyone plays everyone else was good in 1992 when there was no FTP, and cricket was played sparsely. But now the same thing cannot be looked at as exciting.
Neither is a drubbing of a minnow for that matter. ICC should focus on raising the standards of the 4 associate qualifiers, and fix their stupid scheduling next time. The rest will take care of itself.