Lower divisions take shape
Although there has as yet been no official statement from the ICC following last weekend's meeting of its Development Committee in La Manga, Spain, enough information has become available to reveal the likely structure of the lower divisions of the expanded World Cricket League.
BBC Guernsey reported on Friday that according to ICC Europe Regional Development Manager Richard Holdsworth, the teams in Division 7 would be Bahrain, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Japan, Nigeria and Suriname.
This composition is based on current ICC rankings in the various regions, with Bahrain having finished seventh in the recent ACC Trophy Elite tournament; Gibraltar having been placed third, just below Guernsey, in the European Division 2 in July; Nigeria having been second in the African Division 2 tournament last month; Suriname having won the Americas Division 2; and Japan still ranking third in the East Asia-Pacific region.
It is also possible to make some informed guesses about the countries which will compete in Division 6, alongside the top two from Division 7.
Malaysia were placed sixth in the ACC Trophy, ahead of Bahrain and just below neighbours Singapore, so both must be included, along with Botswana, who won the African Division 2.
And the final side is likely to be Norway, who despite having performed poorly in both the WCL Division 5 tournament in Jersey earlier this year and the subsequent European Championships, remain above Jersey and Guernsey in the European rankings. They will therefore probably make it into Division 6 at the expense of Germany and Mozambique, who finished above them in Jersey but have since dropped down their regional rankings.
With Division Seven to take place in the first half of the year, Guernsey will be favourites to host the tournament following their successful hosting of European Division Two earlier this year. Suriname will also be in the pipeline after hosting Americas Division Two, and Japan also have experience of hosting an ICC tournament - the EAP Challenge in May 2004.
There are rumours that Singapore will be hosting Division Six later in the year, which is perhaps a surprise given Malaysia's successful hosting of the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, and their position as the tournament venue of choice for the Asian Cricket Council - they have hosted the last three ACC Trophy tournaments.
Next year's tournaments will be the start of a new WCL cycle, which could in principle lead to qualification for the 2015 World Cup.
It is already known that Division 5 in 2010 will include USA and Nepal, who finished third and fourth in Jersey, and the two sides relegated from Division 4 after last month's tournament in Tanzania – Fiji and Jersey. Division Four in 2010 will include the sides that finished third and fourth in Tanzania - Italy and Tanzania. A Division Eight tournament is also planned for 2010.