Some of the very best cricketers from ICC’s Associate and Affiliate members countries will assemble in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month when the 16-team ICC World Twenty20 UAE 2012 will be staged across five venues of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. All 16 squads for the event, which will be staged from 13 to 24 March, have now been finalised.

At stake in the UAE will be the two available places in the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka which will be played in Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele from 18 September to 7 October.

A total of 72 matches will be played over 12 days and the first qualifier will emerge after the 61st match while the second qualifier will be known after the 71st match. The winner of the 72nd and final match of the tournament will complete Group B by joining Australia and West Indies while the runner-up will team up with defending champion England and former winner India in Group A.

Afghanistan will be defending the title it had won in 2010 when the qualifying tournament was an eight-team event. The Asian side had beaten Ireland in the final in Dubai by eight wickets but both the sides qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 2010 which was staged in Barbados, St Lucia and Guyana.

Afghanistan has named eight players in the squad who were members of the side which made history in the UAE two years ago. Captain Nawroz Mangal, Merwais Ashraf, Mohammad Nabi, Hamid Hassan, Mohammad Shahzad, Karim Khan Sadeq, Samiulah Shinwari and Shahpoor Zadran will again be returning with a challenge to guide their side to the second successive ICC World Twenty20.

Ireland, which missed the inaugural event in 2007 but appeared in 2009 and 2010, has named a formidable side as it has retained no less than 10 players from the 2010 campaign. Returning to the UAE will be captain William Porterfield, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Andrew White and Gary Wilson.

The four new faces in the Ireland squad for this event are 29-year-old all-rounder Nigel Jones, 33-year-old Ed Joyce, who has also played ODIs and two T20Is for England as an opener, 27-year wicketkeeper-batsman Rory McCann and an uncapped 26-year-old fast bowler Max Sorensen.

Peter Borren will once again lead the Netherlands which played in the 2007 event and upset England in the tournament opener at Lord’s. The other survivors from the unsuccessful 2010 qualifier event include Mudassar Bukhari, Atse Buurman, Tom De Grooth, Tim Gruijters, Alexei Kervezee and Pieter Seelaar.

While the Dutch side will be without the services of Ryan ten Doeschate, the Associate ODI Player of the Year in 2008, 2010 and 2011, it will be bolstered by the inclusion of fast emerging Tom Cooper. The 25-year-old opener is yet to make his T20I debut but averages 54 from 18 ODIs and just under 40 from as many first-class matches.

The other popular name in the Associate and Affiliate world, Ashish Bagai of Canada, will also be missing from next month’s action. The wicketkeeper batsman captained his side in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

The event will see in action two international stars of the recent past – Michael Di Venuto and Geraint Jones.

Di Venuto, who will represent Italy, has played nine ODIs for Australia in 1997 while Jones, who will play for Papua New Guinea (PNG), has played 34 Tests, 49 ODIs and two T20Is for England between 2004 and 2006. The 38-year-old Di Venuto has become eligible after securing an Italian passport while 35-year-old Jones can play for PNG as he was born in Kundiawa, the capital of Simbu province in PNG.

Squads:

Afghanistan - Nawroz Mangal (captain), Javed Ahmadi, Merwais Ashraf, Mohammad Nabi, Hamid Hassan, Mohammad Zamir Khan, Mohammad Shahzad, Gulbadin Naib, Shabir Ahmed Noori, Karim Khan Sadeq, Samiullah Shinwari, Dollat Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Shapoor Zadran

Bermuda - David Hemp (captain), Jason Anderson, Lional Cann, Fiqre Crockwell, Terryne Fray, Joshua Gilbert, Stefan Kelly, Kamau Leverock, Stephen Outerbridge, Josclyn Pitcher, Samuel Robinson, Curt Stovell, Rodney Trott, Janeiro Tucker

Canada – Jimmy Hansra (captain),Manninder Aulakh, Harvir Baidwan, Rustam Bhatti, Rizwan Cheema, Khurram Chohan, Tyson Gordon, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Zahid Hussain, Nitish Kumar, Henry Osinde, Hiral Patel, Raza Rehman, Junaid Siddiqi

Denmark - Michael Pedersen (captain), Aftab Ahmed, Shehzad Ahmed, Sair Anjum, Bobby Chawla, Basit Javed, Frederik Klokker, Jacob Larsen, Kamran Mahmood, Rizwan Mahmood, James Moniz, Martin Pedersen, Bashir Shah, Hamid Shah

Hong Kong – James Atkinson (captain), Irfan Ahmed, Muhammad Moner Ahmed, Nadeen Ahmed, Waqas Barkat, Babar Hayat, Asif Khan, Mohammad Aizaz Khan, Mohammad Nizakat Khan, Courtney Kruger, Roy Lamsam, Kinchit Shah, Daljeet Singh, Maxwell Tucker

Ireland - William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, Rory McCann, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Andrew White, Gary Wilson

Italy - Alessandro Bonora (captain), Gareth Berg, Damian Crowley, Gayashan Munasinghe, Luis Di Giglio, Michael Di Venuto, Dilan S. Fernando, Damian C. K. Fernando, Andrew Northcote, Hayden Patrizi, Dell’agnello, Vincenzo Pennazza, Peter Petricola, Stanly H. J. Samaraweera, Carl Sandri

Kenya - Collins Obuya (captain), Ragheb Aga, Duncan Allan, Tanmay Mishra, James Ngoche, Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, David Obuya, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Rakep Patel, Hiren Varaiya

Namibia - Craig Williams (captain), Sarel Burger, Merwe Erasmus, Hendrick Geldenhuys, Zhivago Groenwald, Louis Klazinga, Christiaan Opperman, Bernard Scholtz, Nicolaas Scholtz, Gerrie Snyman, Ewald Steenkamp, Louis Van Der Westhuizen, Raymond Van Schoor, Christoffel Viljoen

Nepal - Paras Khadka (captain), Pradeep Airee, Mahaboob Alam, Prithu Baskota, Amrit Bhattarai, Shakti Gauchan, Krishna Karki, Paresh Prasad Lohani, Gyanendra Malla, Anil Kumar Mandal, Basant Regmi, Sanjam Regmi, Chandra Sawad, Sharad Vesawkar

Netherlands - Peter Borren (captain), Wesley Barresi, Mudassar Bukhari, Atse Buurman, Tom Cooper, Tom De Grooth, Tim Gruijters, Timm Van Der Gugten, Tom Heggelman, Alexei Kervezee, Ahsan Malik, Stephan Myburgh, Pieter Seelaar, Michael Swart

Oman - Hemal Mehta (captain), Sultan Ahmed, Qais Bin Khalid Al Said, Syed Amir Ali, Adnan Ilyas,Syed Aamir Kaleem, Awal Khan, Farhan Afzal Khan, Ajay Lalcheta, Sufyan Mehmood, Rajeshkumar Ranpura, Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqi, Jatinder Singh, Vaibhav Wategaonkar

Papua New Guinea - Rarua Dikana (captain), Geraint Jones, Jack Vare-Kevere, Jason Kila, Willie Gavera, Chris Amini, John Boge Reva, Tony Ura, Assadollah Vala, Chris Kent, Mahuru Dai, Vani Vagi Morea, Joel Tom, Hitolo Areni

Scotland - Gordon Drummond (captain), Richard Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Joshua Davey, Ryan Flannigan, Gordon Goudie, Majid Haq, Calum Macleod, Preston Mommsen, Matthew Parker, Safayaan Sharif, Jan Stander, Craig Wallace, David Watts

Uganda - Davis Arinaitwe (captain), Arthur Kyobe, Brian Masaba, Deusdedit Muhumuza, Roger Mukasa, Benjamin Musoke, Frank Nsubuga, Jonathan Sebanja, Asadu Seiga, Ronald Semanda, Laurence Sematimba, Henry Ssenyondo, Charles Waiswa, Arthur Ziraba

United States of America - Sushil Nadkarni (captain), Orlando Baker, Adil Bhatti, Ryan Corns, Muhammad Ghous, Elmore Hutchinson, Asif Mehmood Khan, Aditya Mishra, Azrudeen Mohammed, Nauman Mustafa, Abhimanyu Rajp, Gowkaran Roopnarine, Usman Shuja, Steven Taylor

About ICC WT20Q UAE 2012

The ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2012 involves two groups of eight teams with Afghanistan, the Netherlands, Canada, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Hong Kong, Bermuda, Denmark and Nepal making up Group A while Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, Namibia, Uganda, Oman, Italy and USA will fight it out for supremacy in Group B.

Ireland, Kenya, Canada, the Netherlands, Afghanistan and Scotland have directly qualified for the qualifier on the basis of their ODI status however, regional qualifying events were held across the ICC’s five regions to provide a qualifying pathway to the 16-team qualifier.

From these events the following teams qualified accordingly – Asia – Hong Kong, Oman and Nepal; Africa – Uganda and Namibia; Americas – USA and Bermuda; Europe – Italy and Denmark; East Asia-Pacific – Papua New Guinea.

A total of 72 matches will be played over 10 days with Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium hosting 12 group stage matches, Sharjah Cricket Stadium hosting 14 games, while the ICC Global Cricket Academy Ovals will play host to 32 matches between them. Dubai International Cricket Stadium at Dubai Sports City will stage eight group stage matches plus five knock-out games and the final.

Admission for spectators to all of the matches in the tournament is free of charge.