WC 2003 - ICC announces new programme for non Test-playing teams
Published: Friday, March 7, 2003, 1:00 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Johannesburg: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday announced a new programme by which the non Test-playing nations will compete against each other on a regular basis.The program, called the World Cup Qualifying Series (WCQS), will have the ICC's 27 affiliate members and 47 associate members split in small groups of similar ability with promotions and relegations on the lines of the Davis Cup in tennis.This series will be in addition to the existing ICC Trophy which throws up qualifiers to join the 10 Test nations in the four-yearly World Cup.Canada, Namibia and the Netherlands, which played in the current World Cup, will meet again in Nairobi this summer along with Kenya, United Arab Emirates and Scotland in Division 1 of the world group.Division 2, comprising Ireland, Denmark, United States, Bermuda, Uganda and Nepal, will play in Los Angeles at the same time between July and October.Malaysia, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Singapore and Argentina will form Division 3 and play in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The remaining teams will compete in Division four with the top three promised a promotion in the previous Division.12 teams will feature in the next ICC Trophy for qualification for the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean: the six teams from Division 1, the top five teams from Division 2 and the winners of Division 3."The new structure will provide increased exposure for all developing nations," said ICC's Development Manager Andrew Eade. Veteran Dutch captain Roland Lefebvre said cricket standards in his country would have improved quicker if the players had been exposed to this type of regular competition."The only way to become a stronger cricket nation is to play on a regular basis against stronger opponents. The World Cup Qualifying Series will be such an opportunity," said Lefebvre.