ICC Americas November 14, 2008

Americas tournament prepares for the off

Cricinfo staff

The ICC Americas Division 1 Championship gets underway at Fort Lauderdale in Florida on November 25, with Bermuda intent on retaining the title they won in 2006.

Six nations will be taking part, with hosts USA, Canada, Cayman Islands, Argentina and Suriname joining Bermuda in the bi-annual competition. Previous winners include Canada (2000 and 2004) and the USA (2002). Suriname join the competition for the first time - the only Affiliate nation taking part - after winning the Division 2 tournament earlier this year.

For Argentina and the Cayman Islands, not only will they both be aiming for their first regional championship title, but this event will also provide a pointer towards where their respective preparations are ahead of the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament, to take place in January 2009.

Bermuda and Canada are the tournament favourites, given their greater experience and ability, but the competition remains appealingly open. Despite the ongoing concerns with their board - they have again failed to appoint a chief executive - the USA have the talent to cause an upset.

The Cayman Islands, meanwhile, showed in Toronto two years ago what they are capable of, pulling off an upset over Canada, while Argentina's recent World Cricket League successes mean both these sides cannot be underestimated. For Suriname, this will be a trip into the unknown, and will most likely be very much an learning experience.