[United Arab Emirates], July 31 (ANI): The qualification process for the International Cricket Council (ICC) U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 has begun in South Africa.
The process includes 50 teams in the regional qualifiers.
Reflecting on the qualification process, ICC Regional Development Manager, Ed Shuttleworth, said that the council is committed to providing more competing opportunities to the participating teams.
"We are delighted to be kick-starting the qualifying process in Europe to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020. U19 cricket is very important to the development of the game, and these events prepare cricketers for the step-up to major global tournaments," Shuttleworth said.
"The ICC is committed to providing more competitive opportunities; this is evident with five new teams competing in this cycle of the U19 pathway," he added.
Due to the depth of strength in the Asia, Africa, and Europe regions, a two-division qualification pathway will begin in 2018. Teams from America and East Asia and Pacific (EAP) will have one division with the winner of each regional Division 1 claiming five ICC U19 Cricket World Cup places.
In Europe, 12 teams will have the chance to qualify for South Africa. The U19 CWC 2020 pathway starts at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Europe Division 2 that includes nine teams competing for three spots.
The three qualifiers will join Jersey, Ireland, and Scotland in Division 1 in 2019, to compete for the European qualification spot to the U19 Cricket World Cup.
Division 2 will take place between July 31 and August 8 in England, where Belgium, Denmark, France, Guernsey, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Spain will compete for three Division 1 places.
For the Africa region, there will be 14 teams across both the divisions- 11 in Division 2- with three Division 1 positions up for grabs. Those three teams will join Namibia, Kenya, and Uganda in Division 1, with the top team qualifying for the World Cup.
Africa's Division 2 begins next month where Botswana, the Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zambia will meet in South Africa between August 19 and 28 to be among the three teams to progress to Africa Division 1.
The ten teams- Bahrain, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Maldives, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the hosts- hoping to make it to Division 1, will travel to Thailand and compete between December 9 and 17 for the two top places.
The final region with two divisions, Asia, will have 14 teams competing in total in the regional qualifiers. 10 teams will meet in late 2018 in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Asia Division 2, with two joining Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore and UAE in Asia Division 1 in 2019.
For Americas and EAP teams, their qualification will start in 2019 in one division only. In the Americas region, Argentina, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands and the USA will compete for the U19 Cricket World Cup qualification position. Five teams in EAP - Fiji, Japan, PNG, Samoa and Vanuatu - will battle it out in ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier EAP Division 1 for the top spot.
There will be 20 matches played at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Europe Division 2, across 10-days, which is to be hosted in Essex, England.
The five winners of each regional Division 1, will join the eleven automatic qualifiers from the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the Windies - for the tournament that will take place in January and February 2020. (ANI)