Chance to be better than ever: New ICC Intercontinental Cup

The third season of the world’s only first-class tournament for non-Test playing countries will begin with a qualification play-off between Namibia and Nepal in Windhoek from March 23 to 26, 2006. For the first time the tournament is to be played over a four-day format.

The winner of this match will progress to join Ireland, Scotland and United Arab Emirates in Group A of the eight-team event.

Group B comprises Bermuda, Canada, Kenya and The Netherlands and will begin with 2005 runners-up Kenya hosting Canada from 28 to 31 March.

ICC Global Development Manager, Matthew Kennedy, said that the 2006 event would provide unprecedented four-day competitive opportunities for the teams. “All of the sides will play at least three four-day fixtures which will give them excellent exposure to the longer form of the game,” he said.

14 matches are scheduled to take place across four continents. The 2006-2007 event will be played under a new eight-team format with the teams divided into two groups and the winners of each group contesting the final. Scotland are the defending champions.

The expanded schedule means that the tournament will stretch into 2007 but even more ambitious plans are already in place for the fourth edition of the event.

In 2007 and 2008 the tournament will be conducted over a full round-robin format with all eight sides playing each other over two years with the likelihood of a final between the top two teams. The evolving format will mean that each side plays a minimum of three four-day matches in this year’s ICC Intercontinental Cup and seven four-day matches over the 2007 - 2008 period compared to a minimum of just two three-day matches per year under the previous structure.

Nepal’s and the UAE’s players will be tested like never before. And given a chance to be better than they have ever been.

For tournament listings go here.

Related stories: First-Class Intercontinental Cup Becomes World-Class

Filed February 2 2006