Whilst most of the cricketing world has its eyes on the World Cup in Asia, qualifying for the next major international tournament, the 2012 World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, starts in Ghana tomorrow with the first leg of African qualifying.

Seven teams take part in this first tournament - Cameroon, Gambia, Lesotho, Mali, Morocco, Rwanda and, making their international debut, the Seychelles. St Helena were due to take part in the tournament, which would have also been their international debut, but had to withdraw due to the travel difficulties involved with getting off the remote island.

The qualifying tournaments for the final tournament are the most expansive of any major tournament to date, with almost every ICC member taking part in tournaments this year. Asia is the only region not to include all of its members in its regional qualifying tournament, instead opting to place teams in the tournament based on performances in regional senior and youth tournaments in 2009/10.

The other regional tournaments taking place are as follows:

  • 13-20 March: Americas Division Three, Costa Rica
  • 4-8 April: EAP Division Two, Samoa
  • 9-15 April: Americas Division Two, Suriname
  • 23-29 April: Africa Division Two, South Africa
  • 11-14 May: Europe Division Three, Slovenia
  • 20-25 June: Europe Division Two, Belgium
  • 5-9 July: EAP Division One, Papua New Guinea
  • 16-23 July: Africa Division One, Uganda
  • 17-24 July: Americas Division One, Canada
  • 19-24 July: Europe Division One, Guernsey/Jersey
  • November: ACC Twenty20 Cup, Nepal

In early 2012, a global qualifier will take place in the UAE. The six current ODI status teams, Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands and Scotland, will be joined by three Asian qualifiers, two each from Europe, the Americas and Africa and one from the EAP region. Six teams from there will qualify for the World Twenty20.