By RON FANFAIR
Canada is among eight teams that will take part in the 2011-2012 Intercontinental Cup cricket tournament that has been reversed to a single division series.
The tournament’s sixth edition will run from May 2011 to December 2012 with the top six Associate and Affiliate teams with One Day International status from 2009-2012 automatically included. They are Canada, Ireland, Kenya, The Netherlands, Scotland and Afghanistan.
The remaining two spots will go to the top two teams in next April’s International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup League Division two event in Dubai. Bermuda, the United Arab Emirates, Namibia, Uganda and two qualifiers from the Division Three competition in January will contest the Division Two tournament.
The Intercontinental Cup will be played on a round-robin basis with the top two teams contesting the final.
The ICC has aborted the Intercontinental Shield experiment.
“Due to Zimbabwe XI no longer participating, it has been decided to revert to the previous Intercontinental Cup structure of eight teams with more guaranteed games for all,” said ICC Global Development manager Matthew Kennedy. “In making this decision, consideration was given to the international cricket opportunities now provided to all 95 Associate and Affiliate members across all three formats of the game.
“With balancing these formats in mind, it is important to offer the best non-playing nations the opportunity to compete in meaningful multi-day cricket. And as a result of this expanded I-Cup, the second division that was the Intercontinental Shield is no longer required.”
Canada finished second in the inaugural 12-team competition in 2004 in which there were four regional groups of three teams with the winners advancing to the semi-finals. The format was adjusted after the 2005 season whereby there were two groups of four with the winners proceeding to the final. The tournament underwent another overhaul in 2007-2008 with each side playing the other once in a simple league format.
Afghanistan defeated Scotland by seven wickets in the 2010-2011 final played in Dubai last week.