ICC – Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 2 will see six Associate teams locking horns in Namibia and Jimmy Hansra of Canada, Nicolaas Scholtz of Namibia, and Paras Khadka of Nepal, say their teams are prepared for a tough battle.
During the eight-day tournament that commences on 17 January, Canada, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands and Uganda will compete for the opportunity to progress to ICC’s four-day Intercontinental Cup and the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship 2015-17.
Canada skipper Jimmy Hansra is looking forward to play in an ICC tournament again: “It will be one year since Canada last participated in an ICC tournament. The team has worked hard over the last year and are looking forward to playing in this important tournament.”
There are some youthful additions to Canada’s squad with Nitish Kumar and Nikhil Dutta, who both represented Canada at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in UAE at the beginning of 2014, both being called up.
Hansra who led the team at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in January 2014 in New Zealand, said: “We have played against many, if not all of the teams that are participating in ICC WCL Div. 2, and know what to expect from them. We have some talented and hungry cricketers, and are looking forward to showcasing our talent in Africa. We have to stick to our strengths and execute our plans, and I have no doubt in the overall ability of this group to do well in this tournament.”
Newly-promoted Nepal will be led by veteran skipper Paras Khadka, who said: “Everyone is working hard and we are very keen to play our very best and win the tournament. If we play to our potential we will come out with flying colours. It’s a major tournament and everyone is really keen to perform and climb up the divisional ladder.”
Nepal has had a big year of international cricket, competing in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in January 2014, and competing on the world stage at the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, where it beat Hong Kong and Afghanistan. Nepal also won the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 in Malaysia in October 2014.
“This year we played in our first ICC World Twenty20, performed well in the event and once again won ICC WCL Div. 3. Back home, cricket has grown ten folds and has reached another height. We must continue this momentum; our focus is to get into the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship and the ICC Intercontinental Cup,” said Khadka.
Hosts Namibia will be captained by Nicolaas Scholtz who is excited to be playing on home soil: “Namibia is really looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd and we’re aiming make our country and supporters proud. We are looking forward to some hard competitive cricket and perform in the right spirit and to the maximum of our abilities.
“I think we will have a very good chance to win the tournament. We have a really good team, full of energy, with a good mix of experience and youngsters. The team are well-prepared for the tournament and everyone is ready and itching to get going,” said Scholtz.
The opening day of the tournament will see Namibia take on Kenya at Wanderers, Netherlands lock horns with Canada at United, and Uganda face Nepal at Wanderers Affies.
Paras Khadka (captain), Binod Bhandari, Amrit Bhattarai, Naresh Bahadur Budhaayer, Shakti Prasad Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Bhuban Karki, Karan KC, Subash Khakurel, Gyanendra Malla, Sagar Pun, Basant Regmi, MD Arif Sheikh, Sharad Vesawkar