The 2019 Snooker World Cup returns to the calendar this week with 24 teams set to take part in China from Monday.
A new ten-year deal will see the biennial event, in which countries participate with pairings of their top players, staged in Wuxi.
There are a total of 23 nations in total taking part, with host nation China gaining the privilege of entering two teams.
This luxury has helped them win the last three editions of the Snooker World Cup.
Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong memorably triumphed with the China B team as teenagers four years ago while the partnership of Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo enjoyed success in 2011 and last time out in 2017.
With Liang’s plummet down the rankings of late, though, the two teams will be mixed up before the 2019 tournament on home soil.
On this occasion, Ding will be teaming up with Yan while Liang and Zhou come together to make up the rival B team.
China A is in Group A alongside Thailand, Poland, Austria, Norway, and Germany.
China B, meanwhile, has been placed in Group D with Wales, Switzerland, Malta, Australia, and India.
England, which will feature a new partnership consisting of Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski, is in an interesting Group B with both Irelands.
The team from the Republic features Dublin pals Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien, who were runners-up to Scotland’s famous “Dream Team” all the way back in 1996.
Iran, Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia are also in the same round-robin section.
Group C comprises 2015 runners-up Scotland, as well as Belgium, Malaysia, Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Cyprus.
The pairings for each team were determined by rankings but several heavy-hitters – including world champion Judd Trump from England, Australian Neil Robertson, and Hong Kong’s Marco Fu – opted against participating.
However, there are still a lot of marquee names in action with Mark Williams, John Higgins, and Mark Allen fronting their respective Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish partnerships.
After the league phase, the top two from each group go through to the quarter-finals.
The total prize money for the Snooker World Cup is $800,000, with $200,000 on offer for the champions.
Each match in the round-robin will take place over the short best of five frames format, with two singles, a doubles frame, and two reverse singles ties.
After the knockout rounds commence, the format will increase to the best of seven frames with additional doubles and singles frames played if required.
Since its relaunch in 2011, the Snooker World Cup has generally failed to capture the imagination of the regular snooker fan.
Crowd levels have tended to be low and the disjointed format can lead to a succession of boring matches that lack any significant degree of quality.
Still, with not a lot of snooker to follow in July, it provides supporters with an opportunity to enjoy some mid-summer action and the tournament is set to be broadcast live on Eurosport.
It will be intriguing to see if China can continue their dominance of the event or if maybe one of their weaker nations on paper can spring an upset.