Minnows compete for World Cup entry

Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:International cricket's minnows are gearing up for the long process of 2007 World Cup qualification with eight selected for the first qualifying tournament.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said the Cayman Islands, Fiji, Italy, Kuwait, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Qatar and Zambia will compete in the qualifying tournament in Malaysia from February 22-27.

The winner of the Malaysian tournament will travel to Ireland next July for the ICC Trophy from which the five highest ranked teams qualify for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

ICC global development manager Matthew Kennedy said the qualification structure provided greater opportunity for nations seeking to gain a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup.

"The new qualification structure, which has been developed and refined over the past few years, has really opened up participation opportunities for associate and affiliate nations," said Kennedy.

"The structure not only provides more competition for these nations, but gives them a clear path to follow and a realistic chance to qualify for cricket's pinnacle One-day International tournament."

Teams competing in Malaysia qualified either by winning their own regional qualifying series, or by narrowly missing out on direct qualification for the ICC Trophy.

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