Slovenia keen to make a mark, says Mark Oman

Wed, May 11, 2011 11:05 AM

Slovenia this week host the ICC European Division 3 Championship, the inaugural European tournament in the pathway to the ICC World Twenty20 2012, from 11-14 May.

Slovenia has hosted an European tournament only once before, when it staged the six-team ICC European Division 4 Championship in 2004. Seven years later European cricket circle heads back to Slovenia with teams like Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey all competing across the four days.

For Slovenia this will be a fantastic chance to showcase the good development work that has been done within the country over the past few years since it gained Affiliate membership in 2005.

Slovenia opener Mark Oman said: ''It's great coverage to bring the tournament to Slovenia, it helps spread the word across the country about the game. We have eleven Slovenia-born players in our squad which just shows the good work that is being done and how more people that are getting involved.

''We have a good standard and it is a good reflection, the Valburga (Cricket Ground) venue is one we have used in cricket coaching courses for the past eight years and shows the versatility we have here,'' says Oman.

Hosts Slovenia are looking to make an impression and capture that winning spot, that would take them into the ICC European Division 2 Championship in Belgium in June and one step closer towards Sri Lanka in 2012, Oman is excited by this new prospect in cricket.

''I think this pathway is a fantastic opportunity for any affiliate and associate members within the International Cricket Council to make their way into a global qualifier and even more so an ICC World Twenty20. It gives a great incentive to know the opportunities that are there and personally to have the chance to achieve an ambition to be involved at the top level of this game, is great for all players.''

The Slovenia team is thoroughly looking forward to the tournament and has spent the past few months training in Australia for it. ?The teams have been training here in Slovenia, with a training programme focused on doing well in this tournament. They have been training twice a week, had a set of T20 friendly games and working really hard on their fitness, with captain Tom Furness really pushing the squad.

''For me personally, I have spent my training time away from the team, playing cricket back in Australia, this has given me great preparation to be able to play outdoor cricket for some time and arrive back in Slovenia to join up with guys a couple of weeks ago,'' said Oman.

The Slovenia representative is looking to improve on its last performance in a European competition in the ICC European Division 4 in Cyprus, where it only achieved one victory.

''We are definitely aiming to improve on our performance from 2009, we had a very young squad back then, we are far more experienced and are a lot stronger, also playing at home should have a slight benefit, so hopefully we can perform the way we know we can,'' says Oman.

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