World Cricket League to continue and expand
Division Five of the World Cricket League is currently underway in Jersey, but we can reveal some information on the future of the event, with exciting news of an expansion to eight divisions.
Tournaments at Division Six and Division Seven will be held in 2009 alongside the already scheduled Division Three and ICC World Cup Qualifier tournaments. Division Eight will be played for the first time in 2010.
ICC spokesman James Fitzgerald says of the expansion, "It's all part of the ICC's commitment to giving all teams a clear pathway to the ICC Cricket World Cup. In the short term it gives them the opportunity to play against similarly ranked sides regardless of where those sides are in the world.
The expansion is great news for those nations currently just outside the World Cricket League structure, such as Suriname, Panama, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Zambia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Bahrain, Gibraltar and Guernsey.
Guernsey Cricket Board chairman David Piesing says of the plans, "I think it would be a fantastic development for the world game and can only see positives from it. Obviously funding is a huge factor but if the funding is there then its hard to find any negatives whatsoever.
"For me the biggest benefits are the opportunity to experience competitive cricket in other parts of the world and to see how the regions compare in terms of playing strength. However the biggest benefit has to be the absence of any ceiling on how far every member country can progress up the world ladder."
Funding is of course the main issue for such an ambitious project, and it all still needs to be approved at the ICC's annual conference in Dubai next month. News is emerging that a major increase in funding for the associate and affiliate members of the ICC is in the pipeline, just what is needed after their places in the World Cup were cut by the full members.
The provisional plan for future World Cricket League tournaments from 2009-2013 is as follows:
WCL Division Three in Argentina: Argentina, Cayman Islands, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, 1st and 2nd from 2008 Division Four
WCL Division Five: 5th and 6th from 2008 Division Four, 3rd and 4th from 2008 Division Five, 1st and 2nd from 2009 Division Six
WCL Division One in Netherlands (TBC): 1st-6th from 2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier
WCL Division Five: 5th and 6th from 2010 Division Four, 3rd and 4th from 2010 Division Five, 1st and 2nd from 2011 Division Six
WCL Division Three: 5th and 6th from 2011 Division Two, 3rd and 4th from 2011 Division Three, 1st and 2nd from 2012 Division Four