But will they take on the best in the world? I have been picking up rumours, with growing regularity, of a preliminary round at the World Twenty20, where Bangladesh and Zimbabwe join the six Associates to play for two spots alongside the Big Eight Full Members. If true, this would be a disgraceful divergence from what I and many other cricket fans had been expecting and hoping for: four groups of four. As yet, I have been unable to find any official confirmation of either structure from the ICC.
As an Associate fan and more importantly a cricket fan, I hope to see all sixteen nations with equal opportunities in 2014.
If, however, there is to be a further qualifying round before the main tournament, then I will feel betrayed and let down by the administrators of the sport I love. It would prove beyond doubt that the struggles of developing nations are not of any relevance to the men who matter. It would show that the short-term bottom line is more important than the potential long term success of a bigger global market. And, most saddening of all, it would show that the ICC has no problem deceiving cricket fans across the globe. Was this rumour to be true, then it would make a mockery of Twenty20 being the gateway to a global sport: there would simply be no gateway at all.
If I was religious, I would pray that this rumour has about as much truth as a fantasy novel, but instead I will just ask nicely from my blog. Please, let the rest of the world have some tiny sliver of an opportunity.