The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced a number of developments which will affect Associate and Affiliate member countries, including an expanded 16-team qualification tournament for the ICC World Twenty20.
An eight-team tournament, won by Afghanistan, was held in 2010 and this will be expanded for 2012 with the six Associates with ODI status will be joined by ten qualifiers from regional events, which will be announced in due course.
The ICC is aiming to give 'all 94 Associate and Affiliate Members a clear pathway of opportunity towards the finals of this truly global tournament'.
Furthermore, the ICC Development Committee, which has just concluded a meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, has pledged $US 2 million towards developing cricket facilities in Associate and Affiliate countries.
The top-six ranked Associates, China, USA and a member nominated by each of the Africa, East-Asia Pacific and Europe regions plus any member which is scheduled to host events will be eligible to apply for funding.
“These are two extremely exciting, strategic and encouraging developments for the future of our great sport. They represent a clear sign of our ongoing commitment to growing the game beyond its traditional boundaries and ensuring that each of our members has the opportunity to develop and become the best they can be," ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said.
“Cricket has never been stronger. We now have three viable formats of the game at international level – something no other sport can boast – and cricket continues to grow in popularity in almost every corner of the globe. These initiatives are steps along the path towards continued sustainable growth.
“Overall, it was a very productive meeting and I would like to thank Cricket Indonesia for hosting it so effectively and for welcoming all the delegates so warmly,” he added.
The ICC also confirmed that Seychelles have applied for Affiliate membership of the ICC and their application will now be forwarded to the ICC Annual Conference later this year.
The Development Committee has also decided that World Cricket League events for the coming period will be held in Hong Kong and China (Division Three in January 2011), United Arab Emirates (Division Two in April 2011) and Botswana (Division Seven in March/April 2011).
The ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier, which will determine which four teams join Australia, England, India and New Zealand at the 2013 Women's World Cup in India, will be held in Bangladesh in November. The West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan will be joined by a qualifier from the Americas and two apiece from Africa and Europe. It will also double as the qualifying event for the 2012 ICC Women's World Twenty20 which will be held in Sri Lanka.
The eight-team ICC World Cricket League Division Eight, which will be held in Kuwait in November will comprise two groups of four and they have been allotted as follows:
Group A: Bhutan, Kuwait, Suriname, Vanuatu
Group B: Bahamas, Gibraltar, Zambia and one European qualifier
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