The ICC World T20 Qualifier will commence from tomorrow in Ireland and Scotland. 14 teams, split in two groups will fight it out in order to qualify for the 2016 ICC World T20, to be played in India. The top 6 teams in the qualifier will be a part of the ICC World T20 2016. The event beginning from tomorrow is a great move by the ICC as it will present the Associate and Affiliate nations with a shot at qualifying for the main events. 14 nations will battle it out to play alongside the top teams in the T20 World Cup. By the virtue of holding a qualifier, the ICC has ensured that cricket as a sport gains more recognition globally.
Financially as well, the ICC is leaving no stone unturned in encouraging the Affiliate members. From 1958 to 2007, the ICC invested USD $65 million for the ICC Development Program. The expenditure in this cycle has increased substantially to USD $265million and in the next cycle approximately USD $300million will be invested. This will surely increase the reach of the game as more people across the globe will be aware of the sport.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson was quoted saying, “ Cricket around the world is in rude health with more people playing the game outside the Full Members than ever before. This is a tribute to the hard work, passion and dedication of people within the Associate and Affiliate Members as well as the significant financial and other resources passed on from the ICC.”
“As the final preparations are put in place for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, this is another special opportunity for those Associates to claim a place at a major ICC event. The ICC World Twenty20 2016 in India will no doubt be a spectacular tournament. No fewer than six places are available for the best sides outside of the Full Members and I know that competition will be fierce over the next three weeks or so as we determine exactly which teams will be traveling to India next year,” said Richardson.
Richardson also said, “The ICC is committed to growing the game beyond the historical heartlands and our Development Program is reaping the rewards of its investment. All over the world, people are taking up cricket for the first time and, through the game’s unique spirit, lives are being changed for the better.
“While this qualifying tournament is all about Twenty20, the ICC is also working to improve the quality and depth of ODI cricket and Test cricket. Indeed, the ICC Intercontinental Cup is the clear pathway to Test cricket for the Associates and the decision to include the top Associates in the OD FTP with the Full Members provides a great opportunity for the best AMs to break into the hierarchy of the ODI game,” concluded Richardson.
Any move that is taken for the overall development of cricket is definitely a move worth praising and welcoming.