ICC Intercontinental Cup March 24, 2004

ICC launches first-class tournament for non-Test nations

Wisden Cricinfo staff

The inaugural first-class tournament for non-Test-playing nations begins in Sharjah on Thursday, as the ICC brings together 12 of the leading Associate member teams from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe in a tournament that will span seven months.

The ICC Intercontinental Cup is a tournament that has been designed to give the Associate members greater exposure to the longer form of the game. The three leading nations from each region will compete in three-day matches over the next four months, with the top team from each pool progressing to the semi-finals and final, which will be held in Sharjah in November 2004.

The tournament is an essential part of the ICC development program, says Bob Woolmer, their high performance manager. "Following the performances of the Associate members at the World Cup in 2003 it was patently clear that these countries needed an international program at a more advanced level.

"The multi-day game is the clear pathway to improving the playing level of these countries," added Woolmer. "Batsmen will learn to build an innings, spend more time at the crease and thereby increase their confidence and ability. Bowlers too will get fitter and more accurate and learn more skills."

The 12 teams involved are Uganda, Kenya and Namibia from Africa; Bermuda, Canada and USA from the Americas; Malaysia, Nepal and UAE from Asia, and Holland, Ireland and Scotland from Europe.

Click here for the full fixture list.