ICC World T20 Asia Qualifier kicks off in Kuwait
The journey to the men's ICC World T20 2020 continues in Kuwait and Nigeria this week as all 12 regional qualification groups are confirmed, with 62 teams in action aiming to qualify for the main event.
The 62 teams will compete in 12 regional qualification groups during 2018 - Africa (three groups), Americas (two groups), Asia (two groups), East Asia Pacific (two groups) and Europe (three groups).
The top 25 sides from these will then contest five regional finals in 2019 with eight progressing to the ICC World T20 2020 qualifier.
The ICC World T20 Asia group A qualifier starts on April 20 in Kuwait, with Bahrain, Maldives, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the hosts all competing for three spots to reach the Asia regional final in 2019.
The ICC World T20 Africa group A qualifier is currently taking place in Nigeria, with the hosts competing alongside The Gambia, Ghana and Sierra Leone for two qualifying spots.
As well as reducing the number of steps towards a global event to four, the new process also provides more regular competitive opportunities for more Members. The enhanced qualification pathway aims to foster the continued improvement of Associate Member cricket and better prepare those teams that ultimately qualify for the global showpiece event in Australia.
Ten different countries will host 62 teams in the 12 qualifying events across five continents, including an 18-team Europe qualifier in the Netherlands in August. Bermuda and Cayman Islands have secured the first two spots in the Americas regional finals in 2019, after qualifying from the Americas Group B.
Haider Farman, President of Kuwait Cricketm said, "We are delighted to be hosting the first qualifying group in Asia for the ICC World T20 2020. The new qualification process is providing more opportunities for Associate teams and having this tournament at home means, we can showcase cricket to the people of Kuwait, neighbouring countries in GCC and all of Asia. T20 is an exciting format of the game and we hope to encourage more people to become fans during the event."
ICC General Manager - Development, William Glenwright is thrilled by the opportunity that the enhanced World T20 qualification pathway provides for Associate Members.
"The ICC's significant investment in Associate Member cricket includes a commitment to providing more access to competitive opportunities in T20 cricket, with 62 Associate Members competing in 12 different competitions in 2018 in their bid to reach the ICC World T20 in Australia.
"We are delighted that the qualifying groups will be hosted in ten different Associate Members as part of our focus on the T20 format as the international growth vehicle for cricket. This simplified structure provides more regular playing opportunities for our Associate Members and ensures that our best performing members are adequately prepared for both the Global Qualifier and, ultimately, the ICC World T20 in 2020."