Bermuda: For six Associate and Affiliate sides, the latest step on the road to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand is about to commence in Bermuda.It is in Bermuda that Italy, Nepal, Oman, Uganda, USA and the host will come together on April 28 to compete in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 3.For the six teams competing, the tournament offers more than the chance to lift the trophy of a global event – it also offers the opportunity to advance to the ICC's flagship global event, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
The top two sides will progress to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which will be held in New Zealand in 2014 and feature 10 of the leading Associate and Affiliate teams. The top two sides from the qualifying event will then advance to the 14-team ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, where they will compete against the 10 Full Members on a global stage in Australia and New Zealand.
As the teams start to arrive in Bermuda, Stephen Outerbridge, captain of the host team, says his team is firmly focused on a top two finish. "The team recognises the importance of finishing in the top two of WCL Division 3 if they have aspiration of playing in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup," he said.
USA captain Steve Massiah says his team is focused on finishing in the top two for a number of reasons. "WCL Division 3 is something that many players in US cricket have had as an ambition to participate in for some time now. It is important to win promotion to ensure that the future of cricket in our country is strong and moving forward."
Oman, which is returning to WCL Division 3 after finishing third in the event in 2011, has also arrived in Bermuda and captain Vaibhav Wategaonkar is looking forward to the event.
He said: "This tournament means a lot to me, as I'm captaining the national side for the first time, and also it means a lot for the whole team.
"It's a big and very important opportunity for us. If we qualify for the WCL Qualifier 2014, then we will get the chance to play against WCL Championship teams, and playing against them is an enriching experience," Wategaonkar continued. "We are a good side, a very talented side."
On the opening day of the tournament, Bermuda will take on Uganda at the National Sports Stadium, Oman will face Italy at St. David's, and USA will face fellow WCL Division 4 graduate Nepal at Somerset CC.
Bermuda captain Stephen Outerbridge: "I hope to deliver success for my team and country at this tournament"
Oman captain Vaibhav Wategaonkar: "If we qualify for the WCL Qualifier 2014, then we will get the chance to play against WCL Championship teams"
USA captain Steve Massiah: "I will do my very best to achieve the ultimate goal of progressing to the next stage of qualification"