European Division 1 Championship begins in Jersey
The ICC European WCL Division 1 Championship heads to Jersey today where there is a new look to the championship with Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland all entering their A teams alongside the three other nations Denmark, Jersey, Italy.
Ireland, holders of both the European Division 1 and A team titles, are still naming a strong 14-man squad with no fewer than five of those who recently took part in the Global World Cricket League Division 1 championship in the Netherlands named for the tournament in Jersey.
Andrew Balbirnie, James Hall and Craig Young, wicketkeeper Rory McCann, and off-spinner Albert van der Merwe are all named in the squad, with Balbernie and Young having both being named in the Under 19 World Cup Qualifier squad. Australian-born left-hander Jeremy Bray, who has played 83 times for Ireland looks to complete the balance of youth and experience.
Scotland have opted for a similar balance of youth and experience, with three current WCL Division 1 squad members, all rounder Moneeb Iqbal, opener Oliver Hairs and the promising Ewan Chalmers who at 20 years-old has already got three Intercontinental Cup matches to his credit.
Experience in the Scottish squad lies with batsman Qasim Sheikh and all-rounder Jan Stander, both like Iqbal veterans of Scotland’s World Cup qualifying campaign in South Africa last year, while seamer Sean Weeraratna is another who has played in the full Scottish side in the past.
The precocious talent of Chalmers and opener Hairs will be returning to Jersey, where they played in the Under-19 side there last season, and other graduates of that side who will be back this time in the senior ranks are Freddie Coleman, Marc Petrie and Willie Rowan.
For the Netherlands they come to Jersey with skipper Tim Gruijters, batsman Matthijs Luten and leg spinners Lucas Brouwers and Vinoo Tewarie, who all played here last year for the global Under-19 qualifying tournament.
They also have included two of the current WCL Division 1 squad, in batsman Tom de Grooth and off-spinner Adeel Raja, who are both experienced internationals. The squad will also include several players who have played in A tournaments in the past: wicketkeeper-batsman Steven de Bruin and batsman Wilfred Diepeveen and all rounder Jelte Schoonheim.
They also bring new and aspiring players in South African-born seamer Bernard Loots, 17-year-old Zachary van Baren and improving all rounder Tom Heggelman.
Denmark have once again opted for experience, including eight of the squad which played in the World Cup qualifier in South Africa.
Michael Pedersen, the new captain, has been named alongside former skipper Freddie Klokker, seamer Henrik Hanse and David Borchersen. All rounder 21-year-old, Rizwan Mahmood is looking to impact the tournament, alongside the youngest player in the team Hamid Shah.
Italy’s squad will be led by Hementha Jayasena, and will feature six other players who took part two years ago in Ireland. They include Thushara Kurukulasuriya, Andy Northcote and veteran opening bowler Alauddin who also all took part in World Cricket League Division 4.
New squad members include locally-produced talent 21-year-old Luca Poli and Leandro Jayarajah, and Australian born Hayden Patrizi d’Agnello and Michael Raso. To complete the squad South African born Paul Girardi is named.
Finally, Jersey have named a number of younger players for their squad including a new captain in Peter Gough, however predecessor Ryan Driver does keep his place in the squad along with opener Dean Morrison.
Post World Cricket League Division 5 in Nepal earlier this year, hosts Jersey have brought in Tim de le Haye, Steven Blackburn and James Faudemer to try and improve their fortunes especially being on home turf and hope to consolidate their place in European cricket as one of the strongest teams.
For more information including full scorecards from all matches in this tournament please go to http://www.icc-europe.org/EURODIV1/index.shtml