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ICC announces Super League for World Cup 2023 qualification

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The qualification for 2023 World Cup begins with the series between world champion England and Ireland starting this week. The International Cricket Council on Monday said the 12 full members plus the Netherlands, which won the ICC World Cricket Super League 2015-17, will play four home and away three-match ODI series in the one-day format as part of the the Super League. The top seven teams will automatically book spots at the 2023 World Cup in India.

“The league will bring relevance and context to ODI cricket over the next three years, as qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 is at stake. The Super League gives cricket fans around the world even more reasons to watch as the drama of league cricket unfolds,” Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager of cricket operations, said.

Last week the ICC rescheduled the World Cup in India to late 2023 so that countries could get more time to schedule any games lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Allardice said the delay was to “preserve the integrity of the qualifying process” and decide the qualification on the field of play.

International cricket resumed this month after the lockdown with England hosting the West Indies in a three-test series played in so-called bio-secure “bubbles" at venues in Southampton and Manchester. The West Indies squad had to quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Britain for the series.

Eoin Morgan, captain of England's one-day international squad, said fans around the world would be excited to see white-ball cricket resume. “Given the situation, it will be quite different to the last time we played at home, when we lifted the World Cup at Lord’s, but it’s nice to be starting our journey for the next edition of the tournament,” Morgan said. “Ireland are a talented team who have shown over the years that they can beat the best on their day. We look forward to what promises to be an interesting series.”

Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie said his team faced a difficult return to international cricket. “It is obviously going to be a huge challenge taking on the team that won the World Cup just a year ago but we have prepared well and have taken confidence from our form over the early months of 2020,” Balbirnie said. “What is important is that we are getting back on the field. I hope international cricket’s return is steady during these challenging times.”

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