All three former champions of the ICC World Twenty20 are in action
Six of the 12 teams at the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 begin preparations for the tournament this week in a series of bilateral matches.
While ICC World Twenty20 2010 runner-up Australia and 2009 champion Pakistan battle in the UAE in a three-match series, ICC World Twenty20 defending champion England plays South Africa at home in a three-match series, and ICC World Twenty20 2007 winner India takes on the visiting New Zealand side in a two-match series.
The three series provide the teams the final opportunity to fine-tune for the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012.
The men's competition at the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 will be staged in Hambantota, Pallekele and Colombo from 18 September to 7 October, while the women's group stage will be played in Galle from 26 September, before moving to Colombo for the semi-finals and final stages.
Meanwhile, the three-match series from 8 September at Chester-le-Street provides England an opportunity to reclaim the number one spot in the Reliance ICC T20 Championship table.
Following this year's annual update, South Africa had become the number-one ranked T20 side, leading second-placed England by just one rating point. But if England goes on to win the first match in the series then it will become the number one side.
However, to hold on to the number-one ranking, Stuart Broad's England needs to win the series against South Africa by 2-1 or better. In case of a 3-0 series win for England, AB de Villiers' South Africa will drop to 115 ratings points. In contrast, if South Africa makes a clean sweep of the series, then it will consolidate its hold on the number-one rank, pushing England down to 116 ratings points. England and South Africa's final position on the table will be determined by the outcome in the Pakistan-Australia and India-New Zealand series.
To find out exactly how Pakistan-Australia, England-South Africa and India-New Zealand series will affect the Championship table, please click here.
The T20 Championship table, unlike the Test Championship table, is updated after every match.The Pakistan-Australia, England-South Africa and India-New Zealand series will feature six of the top 10 ranked players in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for T20 batsmen, including number-one ranked Eoin Morgan, Martin Guptill (second), Brendon McCullum (third), Suresh Raina (fifth), Shane Watson (eighth) and David Warner (tenth).
In the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for T20 bowlers, number-one ranked Graeme Swann will be challenged by second placed Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal. The others from the top ten likely to be seen in action are Johan Botha (in third), Shahid Afridi (in fifth), Nathan McCullum (in sixth) and Mohammad Hafeez (in tenth).
In the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for T20 all-rounders, number one-ranked Shane Watson and second placed Shahid Afridi will be eyeing consolidation of their standings.
The player rankings will now be updated on 13 September, after the conclusion of the Pakistan-Australia, England-South Africa and India-New Zealand T20 series.
Pakistan v Australia
5 Sep - 1st T20I, Dubai
7 Sep - 2nd T20I, Dubai
10 Sep - 3rd T20I, Dubai
England v South Africa
8 Sep - 1st T20I, Chester-le-Street
10 Sep - 2nd T20I, Old Trafford, Manchester
12 Sep - 3rd T20I, Edgbaston, Birmingham
India v New Zealand
8 Sep - 1st T20I, Vizag
11 Sep - 2nd T20I, Chennai