ICC relegates Zimbabwe cricket team

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ZIMBABWE’s campaign in next year’s International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 (T20) in Bangladesh was made more complicated after the Andy Waller-coached side were relegated to the first round stage which will feature the hosts and three associate teams.

DANIEL NHAKANISO
SPORTS REPORTER

The 2014 ICC World T20 will be staged in Bangladesh from March 16 to April 6.

According to the new format announced by the ICC in Dhaka yesterday, Zimbabwe and hosts Bangladesh will need to progress from the first round stage against associate teams to qualify for the Super 10 stage.

The ICC said the new format was necessitated by an increase in the number of participating teams from 12 to 16.

ICC said in a statement: “As the teams’ seeding is based on the Reliance ICC T20 Team Rankings as of October 8 2012, the top eight sides following the conclusion of the ICC World T20 Sri Lanka 2012 will play directly in the Super 10 stage, while Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, which finished outside the top eight, will participate in the first round that will be held from March 16-21,” the ICC said in a statement.

“The first round of the men’s event will include eight sides that will be divided into two groups of four teams each, with the table-toppers progressing to the Super 10 stage.

“In the first round, Group A will feature host Bangladesh alongside three teams that will qualify from the ICC World T20 qualifier UAE 2013, to be staged from November 15 to 30.

“Group B will include Zimbabwe, which will be joined by another three teams from the upcoming qualifiers.

“As such, the two groups will be finalised on November 30,” it added. The Super 10 stage will begin with a clash between former champions India and Pakistan in Dhaka on March 21.

Zimbabwe cricket team opening batsman Vusi Sibanda recently expressed his disappointment on the new format.

Sibanda said while the move would give Zimbabwe and Bangladesh teams more matches, he was disappointed it was not applicable to all ICC full member nations.

“This will bring more games for the minor countries like us and Bangladesh too. It would have been fair to keep it like it was before or make it that everyone has to qualify to be a part of the tournament.

“In that way, it would have been lot more competitive. We are also a Test-playing nation, so everyone should have been treated the same,” he added.