The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday announced the rescheduled qualification pathway to the U-19 World Cup 2022, where 33 teams will compete for five World Cup spots. Qualification for the 2022 edition of the tournament was earlier delayed by a year due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The 14th edition of the event, which takes place in the West Indies in early 2022, will involve Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe by virtue of their top 11 finish in the 2020 edition.
The remaining five spots will be determined by regional qualification.
The 33 spots will be decided by seven regional events starting in June 2021. Due to the depth in strength in the Africa and Asia regions, a two-division qualification pathway will take place.
Teams from the other three regions, Americas, EAP and Europe, will have a one division qualifying process, with the winner of each regional Qualifier claiming one of the five places for the 2022 event.
The road to the West Indies will begin in Tanzania with the Africa Division 2 in June 2021. The hosts, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Sierra Leone will be fighting for two spots to join Namibia, Nigeria and Uganda in the Africa Qualifier in September 2021. The qualifier will be hosted by Nigeria who competed in their first ever ICC event at the U19 World Cup earlier this year. The top team from the September event will secure their spot in the West Indies.
The Asia region, which also has two divisions, will see two qualifiers from Bhutan, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Thailand in Division 2 join Malaysia, Nepal and UAE nine in the Asia Qualifier to be hosted in the United Arab Emirates with the top team qualifying for the West Indies.
The top team from the remaining qualifiers East-Asia Pacific, Europe and Americas will make up the World Cup line-up.
In Europe, Scotland will host the Qualifier from July 30 to August 5 and will compete alongside Denmark, Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey and the Netherlands for the World Cup spot. USA will host the Americas Qualifier and will be joined by Argentina, Bermuda and Canada between August 18 and 25, 2021.
Finally, the EAP qualifier which consists of Indonesia, PNG, Vanuatu and hosts Japan will take place between September 28 and October 4, with the winner booking their ticket to the West Indies.
Europe’s originally scheduled Division 2 event was cancelled following extensive consultation with participating members, as the only available window for hosting did not provide a suitable environment for the staging of an international pathway event, said ICC in the media release.
ICC further stated that all events are subject to Covid-19 arrangements if required at that time.