The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday confirmed that Nepal along with Kenya will take part in the 2015-17 ICC World Cricket League Championship — the ICC’s one-day competition for the leading Associate and Affiliate sides.
According to a press statement of the ICC, the decision was taken during its board meeting held on Wednesday. The two sides will join Hong Kong, Namibia, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates in the two-year competition, which is scheduled to start in mid-2015 .
“The final two positions in the ICC World Cricket League Championship will now be filled by Kenya and Nepal, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia last week,” states the ICC.
Nepal’s head coach Pubudu Dassanayake was delighted with the decision. “It is a big achievement for Nepali cricket. We’ve achieved a milestone. We are in a good position and will keep on moving forward,” said Dassanayake, adding, “We will now set our aim beyond where we are.”
He was also hopeful that the championship will open door for Nepali cricketers to play abroad with highest-ranked cricketing nations.
Nepal’s skipper Paras Khadka said that the opportunity to play in the championship will be a platform for the team to show its skill in the global arena. “The tournament means a lot to Nepali cricket and will provide us opportunity to demonstrate where Nepali cricket is,” said Paras.
Nepal’s dream of playing in the championship had received a blow after it failed to earn promotion from Division 2 played last week after finishing fourth in the tournament. But the ICC made the decision to let Nepal and Kenya play in the championship owing to the teams’ “impressive performance” in the tournament.
Meanwhile, the meeting has also approved that Afghanistan and Ireland will join the 10 Full Members in the rankings-based qualification system for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. This means Afghanistan and Ireland will no longer play in the ICC World Cricket League Championship.
According to the ICC, the new structure also includes a promotion and relegation system for Associate and Affiliate members, with a challenge series to take place between the lowest-ranked Associate member and the winner of the ICC World Cricket League Championship. The winner of the play-offs will be included on the rankings table for the next cycle, and the loser will compete in the ICC World Cricket League Championship.
“The decision also provides even greater context to One-Day International cricket, and provides a fully meritocratic pathway into ICC’s Cricket World Cup and Champions Trophy events.
It also complements the recent decision by the ICC Board to introduce opportunities for Associate and Affiliate Members to play Test cricket through the ICC Intercontinental Cup and ICC Test Challenge,” the ICC has quoted its chief executive David Richardson as saying. “With a system of promotion and relegation in place, I look forward to seeing the leading Associate and Affiliate teams become even more competitive as they battle for the opportunity to compete at the very highest level of one-day cricket,” Richardson further added, according to the ICC.