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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
The USA will host the ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 Championship for the second time in a row when the event takes place from March 17-26 in Florida, according to an ICC spokesperson. USA finished in second place the last time the event was held in July 2011 when Canada won the tournament in Fort Lauderdale after going undefeated.
This year’s ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament will include the USA, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Suriname and the winner of ICC Americas Division Two Twenty20 event. That tournament is scheduled to take place from February 4-10 in the Bahamas.
At the same time that the ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 event takes place in the USA, Canada will be playing a round of Intercontinental Cup and World Cricket League Championship fixtures against Kenya in the UAE. An ICC Americas spokesperson confirmed that Canada was not required to participate in the ICC Americas event because they have been granted automatic entry in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, which is scheduled to take place in November in the UAE according to an ICC press release.
The winner and the runner-up of the event in Florida will move on to the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier for the 16-team event, joining teams from the other four ICC Associate and Affiliate development regions. There are also plans in the works to play some 50-over matches among the ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 participating teams while they are in Florida separate from the Twenty20 tournament. Such matches would be useful preparation for USA ahead of ICC World Cricket League Division Three in Bermuda, which begins just over a month later on April 28.
The ICC Americas U-19 Division One tournament is scheduled for July 7-14 in Toronto. The tournament is tentatively scheduled to be a double round-robin event contested by Bermuda, Canada and USA. Following the 2011 ICC Americas U-19 Division One event in Florida, three teams were relegated to Division Two instead of one. They were Argentina, Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.
The action was taken after a consistent lack of competitiveness over the previous decade by those three countries in U-19 events within the Americas which reached their nadir two years ago in Fort Lauderdale. The intention was for the top finisher in the U-19 Division Two event last year in Suriname to gain promotion back into Division One, but the majority of the matches at the tournament were ruined by rain and no winner was ever declared.
The ICC Americas spokesperson also confirmed that there would be no ICC Americas U-15 tournaments played in 2013. A series of ICC Americas U-15 regional tournaments had been played in alternating years in the past. It is unclear if they have been permanently scrapped or if they will resume in 2014. The most recent ICC Americas U-15 Northern Division Tournament was held in August of 2011 in Winnipeg, Canada. USA was declared the winner on net run rate after they finished with two wins from four matches, equal with Bermuda and the hosts Canada in the double round-robin event.