First Asia Twenty20 Cup to feature one associate
The first Asia Twenty20 Cup has been scheduled for March - just before the World Twenty20 - and the four Asian full members will be joined by one associate from a qualifier set for November.
Associates have featured in the ODI Asia Cup before, with Bangladesh playing several times in their associate days. Hong Kong and the UAE both played in the 2004 and 2008 editions, and most recently Afghanistan played in 2014.
The qualifier will be held in the UAE and will see the four Asian associates with T20I status - Hong Kong, Oman, Afghanistan and the hosts - take on each other for a place in the final tournament. Which ever team wins will have some excellent preparation for the World Twenty20 itself, and will potentially play more full members than in that World Twenty20 due to them playing in a qualifying round rather than the main draw.
Hong Kong, the UAE and Afghanistan are all playing Intercontinental Cup and World Cricket League Championship in the UAE in November, so that was the optimum time for the tournament to take place.
It's a little unfortunate that only one team will get the chance to play the main tournament - two would have made for a more balanced tournament - but one is, I suppose, better than none.