A taste of Italy for young European cricketers

Mon, Aug 17, 2009 11:17 AM

The sixth ICC European Under 15 Division Two Championships got under way in Italy this weekend, taking place in and around the famous city of Bologna.

Eight countries are vying for the prestigious title, with hosts Italy expected to be among the favourites. Their side is coached by the legendary Joe Scuderi, and any team with Joe at the helm is sure to be motivated and competitive.

They have a cosmopolitan squad, with players drawn from five countries, including their skipper Muhammad Adnan. It looks on paper wa well balanced squad with many talented players including Muhammad Ashgar, Sahidul Isalm Swad, Faysal Mia, Atikur Rahman, Salman Zaman and the prodigiously gifted Harpreet Singh.

2003 winners Israel are traditionally strong in youth events, and can be expected to be among the challengers yet again. Senior player Herschel Gutman coaches the line up, which is among the youngest in the competition.

They have players of the calibre of Daniel Bergman, originally from South Africa, as well as Netanel and Ran Assif. Shlomi Shapadov and Levi Kamarlekar can both be relied upon to contribute, while Eitan Halabi and Bar Mesika are both predicted to have great futures in the game.

Isle of Man picked up the winners accolade as recently as 2005, and have serious ambitions to collect the trophy yet again. With Gareth Dawson and David Kenworty at the helm, they have loads of experience and knowledge of European cricket, and will ensure their young charges are firmly focussed on the task at hand.

They too draw players from a variety of countries, with South Africans Andrew Vels and Rowan Bird, as well as Australian David Haywood. They have great strength in depth, with Matthew Ansell, Sebastian Aycock, Ryan Burns, Adam Killey and Nicholas Moffitt all more than capable performers. Throw in the skills of Richard Jackson, Sam Kebbell, Shaun Kelly, Adam McCauley and Thomas Whiteaway, and you can see why they are many people's favourites to lift the trophy.

Gibraltar are another country steeped in European cricket tradition and their development programme is the envy of many. Richard Askew and senior member Mark Bacarese are in charge, and will be hoping to capture the coveted title.

Their main players are expected to be Aaron Roberts, Andrew Quinn, Matthew Stott, Kayron Stagno, and Jeremy Perez. They too have great expectations for the young talents of Dylan Casciaro, Ivan and Mark Gomez, and Saifdine Jalarbi.

2001 victors Germany are coached by Michael Kwan, with Antje Mathur managing the side. Tushar Marwaha skipper the line up, which includes Chase Edwards, Oliver Filby, Dzifa Buati, Krishna Cholleti, Nadar Keim, Haras Mubarik and Christian Hein.

Another country steeped with a rich tapestry of success in youth tournaments is France. Norman Tariq is captain of a side coached by Graham Kelsey, while Timothy Williams is the manager.

They have a multi talented squad, and look to have all disciplines covered. There are great expectations for James Dawkins, Samuel Evely, and John and Christopher Harding. Ammar Zahir, Asad Parvez and Hamza Niaz are al highly rated, while Oliver Mawdsley and Fahad Latif can be expected to contribute significantly.

Belgium will be basking in the success earlier this month in the Under 17 championships, and will be going all out to secure a famous double. Lucian de Zoysa coaches the squad, while Anthony Brand is the manager. Jonathan Aron from the United States is captain of the most diverse composition of players in the tournament, with players drawn from India, England, Austria, Gibraltar and Belgium.

If he can get their collective talents to gel, then they may well be winners. Players to watch out for include Sach Bhansali, Nicholas Dunn, Viral Kothari, Fraser McRae, James Rocca, and Shalin-Samir Shah.

Last but by no means least is Switzerland, who will go into the event very much as underdogs. James Hadden is captain, and that's a tag he will use to motivate his charges. Alan Boucher is the coach while Patrick Henderson takes on the manager role.

Switzerland like Belgium have a veritable league of nations assembled, with Australian Jakob Andrews, South African Ross Cameron, Sri Lankan Merrannage Fernando, New Zealander Nicholas Mayo and Pakistani Wadan Yousafzai. Throw in the talents of George Gaillet, Joseph Boucher, Barrett Fransen and Simon Henderson and they could well cause a few surprises along the way

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