Super Over: Six key stories for 2021

With 2021 offering a fresh start, Tom Grunshaw explores the key stories that will play out over the course of the year

2.      Expanded pathways

Brazil women's team
Brazil’s Women’s team are serious contenders to win their regional qualifier (Photo: Roberta Moretti Avery)

2021 will see the start of the qualification processes for both the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup and the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup. The two structures will see 75 men’s teams and 39 women’s teams compete for qualification to their respective World Cups.

The men’s pathway has expanded by 10 teams, and starts with the Asia Western qualifier in Kuwait in April. Among the new teams are Romania and fan favourite player Pavel Florin. A self-described ‘slow-bowler’, Florin rose to fame during the European Cricket League in 2019 when footage appeared of his unique bowling action. Followed up by an impassioned interview describing his love for the game, Florin became a cult-hero. Florin would go on to make his international debut for Romania later in the year. The Balkan nation will have their work cut out to overcome teams such as Denmark in their sub-regional group, but ranked 41st on the T20I ranking, should expect to be in the mix.

Pavel Florin and Romania will play in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers for the first time in 2021

The Women’s pathway has also expanded by 10 teams. The newcomers hail from all over the world, nine of which are making their debuts in an ICC Women’s event. Most prominent among these are Brazil. Brazil have dominated the South American Women’s Championship since 2015, and were awarded professional contracts in January 2020. Owing to the pandemic, Brazil have not played an international game since turning professional. However, they could make their professional debut at the Americas qualifier in September. Going in as the highest ranked team in their qualifier, Brazil could realistically win the event at their first attempt and progress to the Global qualifier next year.

Full list of new teams in the pathways:

Men’s: Cook Islands, Seychelles, Cameroon, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Malta, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Romania, Serbia.

Women’s: Brazil, Argentina, France, Turkey, Bhutan, Myanmar, Botswana, Cameroon, Malawi, Cook Islands, Philippines.

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