WORLD champion Stuart Bingham will team up with Mark Selby to represent England in next month’s Snooker World Cup.
The two-man global event returns for the first time in four years from Monday, June 15 in Wuxi, China replacing the annual ranking event Wuxi Classic in the snooker calendar.
A total of 23 nations will compete for the world cup prize with hosts and defending champions China allowed to field two teams. The 24 teams will be divided into four groups of six teams, with each team to play five matches in the group stages. The top two teams in each group qualify for the knock-out stages. The format will be a combination of singles and doubles play.
Bingham, who beat Shaun Murphy earlier this month to be crowned world champion for the first time, will play with Selby who also won the World Championship last year.
China’s top two ranked stars Ding Junhui and Xiao Guodong will team up as the nation’s main side with Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao representing the country’s second team.
Other top stars to take part include John Higgins and Stephen Maguire who represent Scotland, Australian Neil Robertson, Welshman Michael White, Ireland’s Ken Doherty and Kurt Maflin from Norway.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “We are delighted to bring the World Cup back on to the calendar for the first time since 2011, and especially to stage it in the wonderful city of Wuxi.
“World Cups are always fantastic events in any sport because the players feel as if they are representing a nation, and the fans in each country can get right behind their team. Snooker is usually an individual game, so to play in a team brings a new kind of pressure.
“There is some incredible talent out there among nations which have not traditionally been snooker hot-beds, and now those players have the opportunity to show their skill on a major stage.”
China won the last World Cup event held in Thailand as Ding and Liang Wenbo beat Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen and Gerard Greene in the final 4-2.
China A (Ding Junhui and Xiao Guodong)
Norway (Kurt Maflin and Anita Maflin)
Singapore (Marvin Lim Chun Kiat and KK Chan)
India (Aditya Mehta and Pankaj Advani)
Malta (Tony Drago and Alex Borg)
Austria (Andreas Ploner and Paul Schopf)
Hong Kong (Marco Fu and Au Chi Wai)
Scotland (John Higgins and Stephen Maguire)
Iran (Hossein Vafaei Ayouri and Ehsan Heydari Nezhad)
Malaysia (Thor Chuan Leong and Mohd Reza Hassan)
Brazil (Igor Figueiredo and Itaro Santos)
Belgium (Luca Brecel and Thomas Skalski)
Australia (Neil Robertson and Vinnie Calabrese)
Wales (Mark Williams and Michael White)
Pakistan (Hamza Akbar and Muhammad Sajjad)
Qatar (Ahmed Saif and Ali Alobaidaly)
Poland (Mateusz Baranowski and Adam Stefanow)
Northern Ireland (Gerard Greene and Joe Swail)
England (Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham)
Republic of Ireland (Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien)
China B (Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao)
Thailand (Dechawat Poomjaeng and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh)
UAE (Khalid Alkamali and Mohamed Shehab)
Germany (Lukas Kleckers and Felix Frede)