Afghanistan, USA might play T20 World Cup

DUBAI: Afghanistan and the United States will attempt to qualify for the 2010 World Twenty20 championships in October, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Wednesday.

They will join Ireland, Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands, Scotland and the UAE in the race for the two qualifying places for the tournament to be staged in the Caribbean in April and May next year.

Both the UAE and the United States have been invited to the qualifier while the other six are Associate and Affiliate teams with existing one-day international status.

"For the USA the tournament represents a wonderful opportunity to move towards a brighter future and exploit its potential after a period on the fringes following previous suspensions and demotions because of administrative issues," said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat.

"The ICC has strategic plans to target and strengthen the game in potential growth markets and the USA, with its player base, development potential and cricket broadcast interest, now backed with a new professional administration set-up, has obvious potential in all these areas.

"Twenty20 is the perfect vehicle for cricket to excite the USA and the carrot for its players and administrators is that a top-two finish will earn it a place in the main event which is to be held in its own region."

Afghanistan received ODI status for the first time earlier this year when the war-torn country finished in the top six of the 2011 World Cup qualifying event.

The 2009 Twenty20 tournament is being staged in England in June.