One of the ICC's most ambitious initiatives in recent years has been the implementation of Cricket Week, a seven day period where a focus is placed on the game worldwide.

The first Cricket Week began on Sunday with a grand rally in Dhaka, with Bangladesh almost certain to be adopted as the tenth Test nation when the ICC meets in June. A range of television specials about the game began screening on Sunday, though not for the most part on mainstream networks. Twenty-four eminent ex-players and umpires, named as ICC "Cricket Week Ambassadors", have been visiting various outposts of the cricketing world this week in the name of promoting the globalisation of the sport.

Among events on the playing field this week are the Asia v the World exhibition day-nighter in Bangabandhu Stadium, Dhaka, on Saturday, and the Chiang Mai Sixes in Bangkok - now the longest-running sixes tournament in the world.

However, probably the most important on-field contest for the immediate future of the global game begins today in Zimbabwe. The ICC Emerging Nations Tournament is a six-nation contest involving Zimbabwe 'A', Kenya, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark.

The six teams will play in a round-robin series between now and April 13. There will be no final. Kenya already have a place booked in the next World Cup, while the four visiting European sides will be among teams who will be competing in next year's ICC Trophy in Canada, where the top three placegetters will qualify for places in the 14-team World Cup in 2003.

Today, Zimbabwe 'A', captained by Gavin Rennie, will meet Denmark at Alexandra. The other teams play their first matches tomorrow, with old rivals Scotland and Ireland among the combatants.