Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
ZIMBABWE is angling to host the 2022 Cricket World Cup Qualifier to fill the remaining two slots for the Men’s ICC Cricket World Cup finals set to be held in India a year later.
The Qualifier is set to feature 10 nations, from which only two teams will make it to the finals.
These successful teams will join hosts India, and the seven others, who would have made it directly from the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, a new qualification pathway that was officially launched by the ICC yesterday.
The ICC are yet to make formal announcements on the 2022 World Cup Qualifier hosts.
But, Zimbabwe Cricket chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani, revealed yesterday the country, which hosted the Global Qualifier for the last World Cup, was in line again for another major cricket event.
“What is going to happen is that there will be 13 teams in the Super League,” Mukuhlani said.
“The Super League will determine the top seven teams that will join hosts India straight to the 2023 World Cup finals.
“The bottom five will then go through a qualifying tournament that is set to be hosted by Zimbabwe, that is, if we do not make it automatically to the World Cup finals, among the top seven, in the Super League.”
The ICC yesterday officially launched the inaugural ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, which begins this Thursday, with a series between world champions England and Ireland.
It will feature 13 teams, that include the 12 ICC Full Members and the Netherlands, who qualified by winning the ICC World Cricket Super League 2015-17.
The Super League will see each side play four home and four away three-match series.
However, the coronavirus has disrupted the international fixtures, with Zimbabwe having to cancel dates against Ireland, India and Australia, which also fall under the Super League.
The Chevrons are still expected to tour Pakistan and Sri Lanka, before the end of the year, subject to the relaxation of the coronavirus travel restrictions.
“Apart from the reasons given by ICC, for the establishment of the Super League, this will, obviously, guarantee more game time for us,” said Mukuhlani.
”For instance, in the case of the postponed series against India and Australia, we are now sure they will go ahead, no matter what.
“I am sure the ICC cricket operations will engage the chief executives of the member boards on the way forward and the rescheduling of the postponed games.” The ICC said the Super League, which will determine qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, was introduced to bring context to One-Day International cricket.
Previously, qualification was determined by rankings, with the top eight teams joined by two that came from the Global Qualifier.
But, this time, 13 nations – Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Netherlands – will be involved in a Super League.
Each team will play an ODI series against eight of the 12 opponents, four series at home and four away.
Each series will feature three ODIs.
At the end of the process, the top seven teams will automatically book their spot at the 2023 World Cup event in India.
The remainder will have to go through the Global World Cup Qualifier.
The Associates to the Qualifier include the top three teams from the 2019–22 ICC Cricket World Cup League 2, and the top two teams from the 2022 ICC Cricket World Cup Play-Off.
Two sides will qualify from this tournament to complete the 10-team World Cup field, while the bottom eight teams in this competition will be eliminated from the World Cup.
“We are delighted to get the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League underway with World Cup winners England against Ireland,” ICC General Manager – Cricket Operations, Geoff Allardice, said.
“The league will bring relevance, and context, to ODI cricket over the next three years, as qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 is at stake.
”The Super League gives cricket fans around the world even more reasons to watch as the drama of league cricket unfolds.
“The decision last week to move the World Cup back to late 2023 gives us more time to schedule any games lost due to Covid-19 and preserve the integrity of the qualification process, meaning it will be decided on the field of play, which is important.”