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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
The next ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament, which was originally scheduled to be played this month in Florida, will now be played in Malaysia. The announcement was made on Thursday at the conclusion of the ICC Development Committee Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand from May 15-16.
Malaysia will become the second country to host a World Cricket League event for a second time. Singapore was the first, hosting WCL Division Six in 2009 and WCL Division Five this past February. Malaysia last hosted a WCL event in 2011 when Division Six was held in September of last year. Malaysia finished as the runner-up to Guernsey in Division Six, then finished as the runner-up to Singapore in this year’s Division Five to gain promotion to Division Four where both teams will go up against Denmark, Nepal, Tanzania and the USA.
Malaysia has very good facilities for an Associate nation. The country hosted the ICC U-19 World Cup in 2008, which was won by India. In 2006, an ODI tri-series was played at Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur between Australia, India and the West Indies. Australia won the series, which was played just a few weeks prior to that year’s Champions Trophy in India.
ICC WCL Division Four may take place later this year, but there is also a possibility that the tournament could be held early in 2013. Exact dates for the tournament are anticipated to be finalized shortly. Based on annual weather forecasts and the monsoon seasons in Malaysia, it is unlikely that the tournament would be held in October or November.
July and August are months with relatively low rainfall, but holding the tournament then could put each participating country in a crunch in terms of planning and preparation. Also, the ICC U-19 World Cup is scheduled to run from August 11-26 and it is doubtful that the two events would be scheduled to clash with each other. In September, the ICC already has two events on the schedule. ICC WCL Division Eight is due to take place in Samoa while the ICC World Twenty20 begins on September 18 and runs through October 7 in Sri Lanka.
The top two finishers in Division Four will advance to Division Three, which the ICC Development Committee announced will be held next year in Bermuda. Along with Bermuda, the two teams promoted from Division Four will be matched up against Italy, Oman and Uganda. On paper, the teams in Division Four are much more competitive than those in Division Three. If USA can make it out of Division Four, a tournament which they won in Italy in 2010, a top two finish at Division Three would put them in the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifier which is scheduled to be held in New Zealand.
The last time USA traveled to Bermuda for ICC Americas tournament play in 2010, they finished runner-up to Canada in the 50-over portion of the event before winning the inaugural ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament title. The tournament sites for the upcoming World Cricket League events are expected to be ratified by the ICC Chief Executives Committee at the ICC Annual Meeting in June.