Squads for ICC European Division 2 Championship announced
Fri, Jun 17, 2011 9:46 PM
For most of the eleven teams competing in the ICC European Division 2 Championship in Belgium this is a first major international outing in the game?s shortest form ? Twenty20, with the prize for the two finalists of a place in next month?s Division 1 tournament in the Channel Islands.
And for those taking part there is the prospect of a place in the Global Qualifying Tournament in the UAE next March.
The Belgian competition will have an initial group phase, with two pools of five and six sides respectively. The imbalance is the result of the late withdrawal of Switzerland, which has left Group A with one team fewer.
The top-ranked team in Group A is the Isle of Man, who finished second in the last European Division 3 (50-over) Championship in 2009. Eight of that squad return this time, including batsman Oliver Webster and bowlers Max Stokoe and Arne van den Berg, all of whom did well there. Newcomers include 16-year-old Shaun Kelly, and Sebastian Aycock, who at 15 will be the tournament?s youngest player.
At the opposite extreme is Portugal?s skipper Akbar Saiyad, born in the former Portuguese colony of Mozambique, who at 64 will be the oldest player in the competition. Portugal will have six of the squad which finished fifth in that 2009 Division 3 Championship, including its leading run-scorer, Nadeem Butt.
The remaining three teams in the group all played in Division 4 of the 50-over competition in 2009. Front-runners may be Cyprus, winners there on their own soil, although they will bring a very different squad to Belgium, with only five survivors from two years ago. One to watch may be 19-year-old, South African-born Georgios Papaonisiforou, but there is plenty of experience, too, in players like captain Michalis Kyriacou and twins Dhanuka and Dineja Agathocleous.
Luxembourg also have a pair of twins, 15-year-olds Timothy and James Barker, who are just eight days older than the Isle of Man?s Aycock brothers. Eight of their 2009 squad return this time, including that side?s leading run-scorer, Tony Whiteman, and the tournament?s leading wicket-taker, Nishith Gandhi.
The group is completed by Finland, for whom no fewer than eleven of this year?s side played in Cyprus two years ago. The captain is again Jonathan Scamans, and the Finns will no doubt be looking to the all-round experience of Bilal Khan and the batting of players like Shabir Sheerzad and Michael Shaw to see them to greater success this time.
Group B not only has one more team, but it is likely to be even more keenly contested. The top-ranked side is Spain, who finished third in Division 3 in 2009. Three of their bowlers, Tanveer Iqbal, Wasim ur Rehman and Talat Nadeem, took 32 wickets between them in that tournament, and will again represent a menacing attack. James Morgan made most runs for the side then, and he is back, along with the equally experienced Luis Venus Valiente.
Hosts Belgium will be a force to be reckoned with on their own soil, and they demonstrated their ability in this form of the game a fortnight ago with a double win over the Netherlands A side. An array of hard-hitting batsmen includes Shaheyrar Butt, and they also have two promising teenagers in Faisal Khaliq and Shaival Mehta.
Malta will have one of the oldest and most experienced squads in the tournament, led this time by newcomer Andrew Lenard. Other new faces include Samuel Aquilina, Darren Grech and Joydeep Ghose Roy, but the core of the team may still be such seasoned performers as Andrew Naudi and Mark Sacco.
Austria finished third in the last Division 4 50-over tournament, nine of that side again being selected here. Wicket-keeper ? and their leading run-scorer in Cyprus ? Amar Naeem takes over the captaincy, and he too will have an experienced outfit which will be out to push their way up the rankings in this shorter form of the game.
But one of the main challengers in the group will almost certainly be Hellas, whose position in the rankings belies their strength. They were relegated over player ineligibility in 2006, and now have to work their way back up, having made an impressive start by winning Division 5 two years ago. Long-serving captain Costas Vassilas has retired, but returns as coach of a side which includes the prolific, hard-hitting Mehmood Ahmed and leading wicket-taker Spyridon Goustis.
The line-up is completed by qualifiers Sweden, who were extremely impressive in winning the Division 3 Championship in Slovenia last month. That experience will stand them in good stead here, and with quick-scoring batsmen like Sanaullah Habibzai, Sunny Sharma and Bilal Zaigham, and an attack with the quality of Azam Khalil and Aman Zahid, they are likely to cause problems for some of the more established sides.
The squads for the ICC European Division 2 Championship is as follows:
Austria; Amar Naeem (Captain), Muhammad Akhtar, Imran Asif, Amar Deep, Erwin Grasinger, Lakmal Kasthuriarachchige, Satish Kaul, Benjamin Loader, Tiran Indika Perera, Wasif Saluja, Andrew Simpson-Parker, Nandeep Soggi, Satyam Subhash, Amandeep Amandeep, Syed Qamar Abbas Rizvi, Shivam Subhash
Belgium; Andre Wagener (Captain); Shaheryar Butt, Jamie Farmiloe, Javed Iqbal, Amir Iqbal, Nadeem Khan, Faisal Khaliq, Shaival Mehta, Sheraz Sheikh Muhammad, Shahid Muhammad, Simon Newport, , Ali Raza, Abdul Rehman, Nirvam Shah, Shahzad Jillani, Akshat Sanghvi, Sebastien Shukla, Waqas Shafiq, Charles Wright
Cyprus; Michalis Kyriacou (Captain), Dhanuka Agathocleous, Dineja Agathocleous, Babar Ayub, Alan Broadbent, Nimal Durayalage, Syed Hussain, Stelios Michaelides, Andrew Mulkern, Yasir Nazir, Georgios Papaonisiforou, Niroshan Pelawattha, Malik Tariq, Mohamedriyaz Kajalwala, Muhammad Khan, Christos Markides, Sakhawat Rubel, Sampath Tsangarides
Finland; Jonathan Scamans (Captain), Madhu Bhandari Amrik Bhatia, Shakil Pervage Bin Islam, Zakiullah Kamal, Zahidullah Kamal, Ekhpelwak Kuchey, Shidhu Chanrakant, Kanade, Bilal Khan, Obaidullah Sadiqui, Michael Shaw, Roholah Sadiqui, Muhammad Tariq Sarfraz, Shabir Ahmad Sheerzad
Hellas; Mehmood Ahmed, Stamatios Giourgas, Spyridon Goustis, Oliver Hutton, Iordanis Kontarinis, Spyridon Kontos, Andreas Koutsoufis, Anastasios Manousis, Christos Molinaris, StavrosNikitaras, Georgios-Chry Stogiannos, Alexandros Souvlakis, Georgios Toulantas, Dimitrios Triantafillidis
Isle of Man; Sebastian Aycock, Ross Berry, Daniel Hawke, Christopher Hawke, Jaco Jansen, Daniel Kniveton, Richard Kniveton, Shaun Kelly, Peter Lewis, Gareth Morris, Garreth Roome, Max Stokoe, Arne Van Den Berg, Oliver Webster
Luxembourg; William Heath (Captain), Timothy Andrews, Timothy Barker, James Barker, Wayne Codd, Graham Cope, Taral Desai, Sebastian Finch, Nishith Gandhi, Deepak Gianchandani, Piran Merkl, Joost Mees, Anand Pattabiraman, Tony Whiteman, Saravanan Narayanan
Malta; Andrew Lenard, Samuel Aquilina, Justin Brooke, Michael Caruana, Malcolm Crabbe, Balakrishnan Dhandapani, Joydeep Ghose Roy, John Grima, Darren Grech, Nowell Khosla, Andrew Naudi, Mark George Sacco, Ronnie Sacco, Anthony Slater, Sarfraz Ali, David Borg Known As Newton, Robert Krishna, Javeed Shah, Frankie Spiteri
Portugal; Akbar Saiyad (Captain) Zafar Ali, Paulo Buccimazza, Syed Bukhari, Nadeem Butt, Abu Butt, Shahzad Hassan, Khalid Izaz, Rizwan Khaliq, Babar Khan, Intesab Medhi, Muhammad Mirza, Nadeem Nazar, Muhammad Shoaib, Ricardo, Antunes, Carlo Buccimazza, Silkesh Deuchande, Jose Ricardo Pais
Spain; Sajad Ali; Muhammad Shafique Ali; Gary Crompton; Mohib Hussein; Tanveer Iqbal; Muhammad Irshad Khan; Armaghan Khan; Farhat Mahmood; James Morgan; Christian Munoz-Mills; Talat Nadeem Ali; Mark Spencer; Wasim Ur Rehman Khan; Luis Pedro; Venus Valiente; Faran Afzal; Mohammed Akmal; Shoaib Hussein; Gurmeet Singh
Sweden: Piyal Rahman (Captain); Imran Amjad; Usman Azim; Sanaullah Habibzai; Azam Khalil; Maqsood Khawaja; Azam Mohammad; Ewan Prezens; Sunny Sharma; Sadat Sidiqi; Christopher Tebbutt; Aman Zahid; Bilal Zaigham; Hassan Zaigham; Adnan Raza; Sandeep Sharma; Noman Zahid
For further information on the tournament please visit the ICC European Division 2 Championship website