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Vanuatu Cricket to host World Cup Qualifier in World First

Vanuatu Cricket will host a world first T20 International on a hybrid cricket wicket in September at the Vanuatu Cricket Ground for the East Asia Pacific Subregional T20 World Cup Qualifier.

The qualification for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 commences with pathway events launching in Europe and later on in the East Asia Pacific Region with Vanuatu Cricket being given hosting rights for the first stage of the qualifier for the region from the 9th to 15th September 2022 in a world first International on a Hybrid wicket.

The road to the biggest ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024 commenced in June with the first qualifying events taking place in Europe. These events mark the first step in the qualification process, eventually culminating in a record twenty teams competing at the landmark event in the USA and West Indies in 2024.

Over the next two years, teams from across the globe will battle it out in 15 pathway events, all with an eye on sealing a place on the world stage. 68 nations start their journey at Sub Regional Qualifiers, with 28 teams entering at a later stage once the outcomes of this year’s event in Australia are confirmed and the automatic qualifiers for 2024 are known.

Having announced the qualification pathway for the World Cup the ICC have also announced that Vanuatu will host one of these sub regional qualifiers. The sub regional qualifiers for the East Asia Pacific region will include Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, and finally Vanuatu with the other sub regional qualifier hosting South Korea, Indonesia, and hosts Japan.

In a world first Vanuatu cricket will host the first ever international game on a Gabba Sports installed hybrid wicket. Hybrid wickets were initially introduced at the ICC Academy in Dubai as training pitches capable of being altered at short notice to mimic international wickets abroad. Generally, cricket played at high international levels would be played on a turf wicket made up of hardened clay and growing grass, however the introduction of hybrid pitches greatly reduces the cost and maintenance of a turf wicket by substituting artificial grass onto a hardened concrete base with a clay top meaning less maintenance and equipment.

International Men's T20 Cricket returns for the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu National Men's Cricket side in September.

Tim Cutler, Vanuatu Cricket CEO, was extremely pleased with the news praising Vanuatu cricket’s innovation and industry leading use of the Hybrid wicket globally.

“It is a testament to the innovation and forward thinking of the VCA to install a hybrid pitch in 2019.

"The hybrid system allows our domestic cricketers and full-time contracted players to train and play on an as-close-to turf pitch, but without the additional maintenance and cost required by a regular cricket square which will have multiple clay/grass wickets that you cycle through during a season.

"With similar wickets being installed in Ireland, USA and other emerging cricket nations I believe hybrids are key to the growth of the global game, as they provide an authentic “turf” experience, but don’t require the budget, time, or space – all of which are general in short supply in Associate member nations.”

With the ICC also signing broadcast rights with IMG these events and more will be streamed via in the Indian subcontinent, and on across the rest of the world, bringing the action closer than ever to cricket fans around the globe, and allowing them to enjoy every ball of a hugely competitive qualification process.

This news marks a hugely important step for Vanuatu Cricket with an International Men’s tournament not having been held here for almost 20 years with the last one being staged way back in 2005 for the East Asia - Pacific (EAP) Cricket Cup tournament in Port Vila, Vanuatu with the large gap being mainly attributed to the lack of a turf wicket in country.

The Gabba Sports supplied pitch system changes that though and will see the debut of International Status T20 cricket to Vanuatu with the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu National Men’s Cricket Team being the first team to ever host an international on a full synthetic/clay hybrid wicket.

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