The ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifiers, that have been a fixture of the Associate teams' calendar since 2008, could be abolished before the 2021 T20 World Cup in India. According to a leading Indian media daily, the ICC is considering changing the qualification rules by selecting 12 teams from the 2020 T20 World Cup gaining a qualification and the other four teams coming through regional and NOT the global qualifiers for the 2021 event.
The T20 World Cup will take place across two consecutive years, in 2020 in Australia followed by 2021 in India. It seems impractical to squeeze in a global qualifier in between the two events as some of the regional qualifiers that lead into the global qualifiers are unlikely to conclude until April or May 2021.
Under the proposed plan, the Super 12 teams from the 2020 WC would gain automatic entry to the 2021 World Cup. Eight of those 12 are in the main draw for 2020 based on ICC rankings, while four others among Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ireland, PNG, Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland and Oman will join them from the opening round of the tournament.
The four remaining berths for 2021 would be decided by the winners of four regional finals. But the only setback in this plan is the presence of five Associate regions. To work around this, it seems most likely that the ICC will give one berth each to Americas, Europe and Asia, with the fourth coming through a play-off final between a team from East-Asia Pacific - traditionally the weakest region, dominated by PNG and Africa.
This format could mean only one of Netherlands, Scotland or Ireland will qualify for 2021 with other European teams such as Germany & Jersey in the fray. Similarly, if Oman, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh do not make it to the Super 12s, it could mean that they would be up against UAE and Nepal as well as Singapore and Hong Kong for a lone spot in India in 2021.
If PNG or Namibia do not make it into the Super 12s in Australia, they could lock horns with Zimbabwe - who would also have to go through a regional qualifying final after they missed the current qualification cycle because of an ICC suspension along with other African sides such as Nigeria, Kenya & Uganda.
A final decision on qualification for the 2021 T20 World Cup may not be taken until an ICC board meeting in March 2020.