ICC thanks Cricket Australia, Northern Territory Cricket for 'great success' of ICC WCL Division 3 tournament

Event illustrates value of WCL says ICC Global Development Manager

ICC Global Development Manager Matthew Kennedy has labeled the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in Darwin "a great success."

The eight-team event featured 20 matches at six venues spread over seven days in Australia's Northern Territory and culminated last Saturday with Uganda beating Argentina by 91 runs in the final.

Both teams now go forward to the ICC WCL Div. 2 in Windhoek in November where they will face Denmark, hosts Namibia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

The top four sides in that event will head to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in the UAE in 2009 and success there will result in a place in the ICC CWC in Asia in 2011.

Reflecting on the Darwin tournament, Mr Kennedy said: "This was a great success full of closely contested matches that really illustrates and emphasizes the value of the ICC World Cricket League.

"It gives sides from all over the world the chance to come together, to play in different conditions against different opponents and see how good they really are.

"If they perform well then they get the chance to move up and Uganda and Argentina have done just that.

"They will now play in Namibia this November and a place in the ICC CWC Qualifier is the fantastic prize at stake there.

"But, thanks to the opportunities provided by promotion and relegation, the WCL also offers the chance for the six other sides that were in Darwin - the Cayman Islands, Fiji, Hong Kong, Italy Papua New Guinea and Tanzania - to go away, assess what went wrong, try to put it right and then try again at a later date.

"Those six sides now have that chance to regroup and if they can do it successfully then they can still press for places at the ICC CWC Qualifier," he added.

Mr Kennedy paid tribute to the organisers, the local clubs, the supporters and the teams themselves for combining to create a successful tournament.

"On behalf of the ICC I would like to thanks Cricket Australia, Northern Territory Cricket, ICC Event Manager Chris Briers and all the clubs that hosted the teams for doing such a terrific job in staging these matches," he said.

"It has involved a great deal of work and sacrifices for all concerned, not least from the players and support staffs of all the competing teams. You can all reflect on a job well done."

Uganda's success really was a team effort, something that is clear from just one glance at the lists below.

The African side did not have a single batsman among the top six run-scorers and had just one representative in the list of the six leading wicket-takers.

But despite those apparently damning statistics Uganda - coached by Sam Walusimbi, the former East Africa opening batsman who played in the first-ever ICC Cricket World Cup in 1975 - was the only side to go through the week unbeaten.

It could also boast one of the outstanding all-round players of the tournament in Keneth Kamyuka, who scored 85 runs and collected eight wickets.

Argentina may have fallen at the final hurdle but reaching that stage was still a major achievement for a side only competing after the ICC suspended its fellow Americas side the United States of America over internal governance issues.

Argentina not only had the consolation of a place in November's tournament in Namibia but also the honour of having the Player of the Tournament, captain Esteban MacDermott who took 12 wickets in five matches.

The successes of Uganda and Argentina means both countries now qualify for additional funding through the ICC's High Performance Program.

About the ICC World Cricket League:

ICC Global Development Manager Matthew Kennedy explains the structure: "The idea of the WCL is to give each of the 87 Associate and Affiliate Members a clearly defined pathway to progress and develop in world cricket.

"Apart from Division 1, which involves the top six Associate sides, the next best teams from the ICC Trophy 2005 have been allocated to Division 2 and 3 events along with the top teams from each of five regional qualifying events.

"It means that regular global one-day cricket opportunities are no longer confined to just the top sides in the LG ICC ODI Championship table and the tournament in Darwin was a prime example of that.

"Our belief is that by exposing these sides to different opponents and different conditions they will improve and take that improvement back into their own domestic structures thereby helping our strong sport grow even stronger by broadening its base to a significant degree.

"With places up for grabs in the ICC CWC Qualifier, the incentives and rewards for teams to improve have never been greater," he added.

The top four sides from the six-team ICC WCL Div. 2 in Namibia will go forward to the ICC CWC Qualifier in the UAE in 2009.

The remaining two sides will go into ICC WCL Div. 3 which will take place in early 2009; the top two sides from there will also go into the ICC CWC Qualifier.

Already through to that ICC CWC Qualifier are the top six Associate sides - Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands and Scotland.

Full details of the ICC WCL Div. 3 tournament in Darwin can be found here.