by Suneer Chowdhary
The 2015 World Cup will be played in Australia and New Zealand with 14 teams featuring in the tournament. 10 of these will qualify for it directly as the Test-playing nations while there
will be a fight for the remaining four spots.
In the last World Cup, that was played in 2011, Ireland, Netherlands, Kenya and Canada had made it to the competition as the four qualifiers. This time around, there is a two-step process for qualification.
The first step is called the 2011-13 World Cricket League Championship which is being contested by eight countries, six of which were the top six nations in the previous World Cup's qualification
process who are joined by two other teams from the second division in World Cricket League.
So Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, Afghanistan, Kenya, UAE, Namibia and Canada are the eight which are competing in this tournament, a round-robin competition which will have each side playing 14 games.
The top teams at the end of the competition will qualify for the World Cup in 2015.
The remaining six sides, however, need not fret. They will then join four other teams to form a 10-nation 2014 World Cup qualifier out of which two teams will make it to the main draw of the World Cup again.
As things stand currently, every team in the 2011-13 World Cricket League Championship has played 10 games each and Ireland and Netherlands are the top two sides. Ireland have 17 points from 10 games (2 points for a win) while the Dutch are on 14 points. Scotland and Afghanistan are on 11 points and unless they step up a gear and Netherlands fall down a notch, it's looking increasingly difficult for them to make it directly to the 2015 World Cup.
Assuming that Ireland are almost sure to go through to the World Cup from this position, the second spot will be fought for by Netherlands, Scotland and Afghanistan.
It looks increasingly difficult for Kenya (10) and the UAE (10) while Namibia and Canada are already out of contention, and will need to fight it out in the second qualifier.
The six teams from this round will be relegated and join Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Nepal and Uganda in the other qualifier. While PNG and Hong Kong were third and fourth in World Cricket League Division 2 (behind UAE and Namibia), Nepal and Uganda recently made it to the top two positions in the World Cricket League Division 3, ahead of the USA and Bermuda.
Two of these 10 teams will make it to the main draw of the World Cup 2015.
Suneer Chowdhary is a writer at cricketMad.com, one of the most popular cricket websites that provides previews, news and tips for all the cricket action happening around the world.