ACC Trophy and Asia Cup Qualification
The ICC-Asia region can generally be divided into 4 sub regions as follows
Middle East: Oman, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Iran, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia.This region can be expanded to incorporate other countries when they start playing cricket in the future, i.e. countries like Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon.
South Asia: Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, China, Maldives.This region can be expanded to incorporate Mongolia when they start playing cricket in the future.
South East Asia: Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei and Myanmar.This region can be expanded to incorporate other countries when they start playing cricket in the future, i.e. countries like Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Macau.
Central Asia: None of these countries play cricket, but this sub region exists nonetheless for the future. The countries in this region would be Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgistan, Turkamenistan and Uzbekistan.
What the ACC needs to do is to have a sub regional cup every year, at least for the 3 sub regions that play. The finalists of the tournaments can then be selected for the ACC Trophy, and those six teams can play each other on a double round robin basis to decide who is the top cricket team in Asia below test level. Once the Central Asian region starts playing cricket, they can be incorporated into the South Asian sub region and that sub region can be called South and Central Asia.
In many ways, the Middle East Cup is already in place. They need to change the playing format to a league instead of the current pool based system because there are not enough teams in there right now. For South East Asia too there is the Tuanku Jaafar trophy played every year, but for some reason only the 4 associates participate in that trophy. They need to expand it to incorporate all the countries in that sub region. There is nothing for South Asia though, and that is strange given that you would expect that sub region to be the forerunner in terms of expanding the game further into their neighbours.
ACC also needs to rank the teams based on the same ODI ranking formula that ICC uses for the ODI teams. There will be a lot of matches played by the teams during the ACC Trophy and the sub regional cups every year, so they can be used to calculate the standings. For the Asia Cup (the main tournament that includes the Test teams as well), the 2 teams selected from the non test playing arena should be the ones that rank 1 and 2 in the rankings, not the finalists of the ACC Trophy
There are some advantages to this set up over just inviting 12 teams to play in the ACC Trophy. a) Regional competitiveness and rivalry is catered to b) There is greater encouragement along the way for the teams because they would have achived the spot to play in the ACC Trophy c) The tournaments are going to be less costly to organize because they are regionally based d) Longer cricket calender for the second tier countries and e) The extremely weak teams are filtered out much earlier in the process. Finally, this process can be made a standard for the future, because the number of teams in the sub regions is static, so there is a good chance that the tournements will become financially viable on their own (no changing of partiicpants every year and making it haphazard and difficult to follow for the public). The main advantage however, is to give the best possible cricket games to the top teams in order to ensure that their standard goes even higher, with the hope that it will rub off on the other teams when they go back and play in the sub regional tournaments in subsequent years.