Kathmandu- The first World Cricket League (WCL) Division 2 took place in Namibia in 2007, participated by Oman, UAE, Namibia, Denmark, Uganda, and Argentina. Uganda and Argentina were the promoted sides from Division 3 that consisted of 8 teams. Uganda and Argentina had emerged as 1st and 2nd from a pool of eight countries that includes Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tanzania, Italy, and Cayman Island.
The inaugural WCL division 2 began on 24th Nov 2007. At the end of group stage, Oman topped the group with a 5 out of 5 wins while UAE finished 2nd with 4 wins, their only loss came against Oman. Host Namibia finished 3rd , Denmark finished 4th while Uganda and Argentina stood out 5th and 6th respectively.
Top 4 teams of the event got qualified for the World Cup qualifiers in 2009 for the 4 vacant spot in World cup 2011 whereas Uganda and Argentina were again relegated to Division 3. Namibian batsman, Gerrie Synman, top scored in the tournament with a mammoth 588 runs.
The World cup qualifier in 2009 was played between 12 teams. Kenya, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland(4 teams that played World cup in 2007), Netherlands, Scotland, the then ODI nations directly qualified for the WC qualifiers along with top 4 teams from WCL division 2, 2007; UAE, Oman, Namibia and Denmark. Afghanistan and Uganda, promoted from ICC WCL Division 3 also took part in the event. As expected, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, Kenya finished in top 4 that saw them through to ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Afghanistan raising quickly from the ranks of Division tournaments secured an important 5th position, and hence got qualified for Intercontinental Cup along with Scotland who secured 6th position- that saw Afghanistan cricketing fortune changed forever. Oman and Denmark were the relegating teams whereas UAE, Namibia, Uganda, and Bermuda remained in Division 2.
The second edition of WCL division 2 took place in UAE in 2011, giving chance for top two teams to play in WCL championship and Intercontinental cup running from 2011 to 2013. UAE, Namibia, Uganda, Bermuda along with top 2 from WCL division 3, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea took part in the tournament. UAE won all their group matches with Namibia losing only one against UAE, qualified for the intercontinental cup.
UAE defeated Namibia again in the finals to clinch the title for the second straight time. Newcomers PNG and HK finished 3rd and 4th to qualify for 2014 WC qualifiers while Uganda along with Bermuda was again relegated to Division 3.
We can clearly see the significance of ICC World Cricket Leagues, how they can change the fortune of Associates Countries. World Cup playing nations in the past like Bermuda have already been relegated to Division 4- Kenya, Canada, and the Netherlands are struggling to get past Division 2 while new comers Afghanistan has placed themselves as one of the top associates.
What I conclude is that ICC World Cricket Leagues provides ample opportunities for associate countries to rise and shine, and in the meantime the relegation system can also cost their cricket a lot. As a genuine Nepal Cricket Fan, I believe, Division 2 is an opportunity for Nepal to change Nepal’s cricketing fortune forever. I wish all the best for Nepal Cricket Team
By Dipesh Tripathi