LONDON (Agencies) - The International Cricket Council (ICC) Thursday announced the group formation for the preliminary stage of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2012, to be staged in Australia in August next year. The last event's runner-up and two-time winners Pakistan are grouped with New Zealand, Scotland and Afghanistan in Group B for the preliminary stage of the ICC Under-19 World Cup to be held next year in Australia. A total of 16 teams will participate in the 2012 ICC Under-19 World Cup, which will be the ninth edition of the biennial tournament. The 10 nations with ICC Full Membership automatically qualify for the tournament while the remaining six teams will qualify for the competition through the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier. The event will get underway in Queensland exactly one year from now and Scotland will be there as the leading Associate after winning eight of their nine matches during the qualifiers, which took place in Dublin and Derry. Defending champions and hosts, Australia, will head Group A having been drawn alongside 1998 winner England, Nepal and Ireland, the ICC said in a statement. 2000 and 2008 champion India have been drawn in Group C along with West Indies, Zimbabwe and PNG. Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh and Namibia make up Group D. ICC chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, said: "The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup is a very important tournament for us and I want to congratulate those six teams who have qualified to take part in Queensland next year." "This tournament has proved to be an important stepping stone for elite young cricketers aspiring to play international cricket. It's an opportunity for them to develop and test their skills in a high-pressure situation against the world's best at this level," he added.