|Under 19 World Cup Qualifier: Ireland, July-August 2011|
Captains talk about the tournament
ICC Media Release
The captains of the ten teams taking part in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier tournament in Dublin and the North-West spoke today of their excitement of taking part in the event which begins tomorrow.
Teams from Afghanistan, Canada, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, USA and Vanuatu join hosts Ireland for the tournament which is being played from 28 July to 9 August. The top six sides of the tournament will qualify for a place at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup to be held in Australia next year. The 10 ICC Full Members automatically qualify.
The tournament will be played on 14 grounds in Dublin and the North-West - Merrion, The Hills, North County, Leinster, Clontarf, YMCA, Oakhill, Coleraine, Bready 1, Bready 2, Limavady, Strabane, Eglinton and Drummond.
Host captain George Dockrell of Ireland is thrilled to play a part in the tournament after being part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
He said: ``It is definitely a big thing. Last year at the Under 19 Europeans we did well. I want to lead this team to the World Cup next year, thats the big goal. We have a strong bowling attack and our batting has a lot of depth. It is great for me as a captain that we have a good range of bowlers to choose from.
``My experience at the World Cup will definitely help the squad. I have been talking to the team about my experience. But such is the quality of the squad that we feel confident that we can go forward. Little things are going to be very important, if we want to go through.
The Ireland captain believes his side will face tough challenge from the sides that it does not play regularly.
``We are looking forward to play sides like Nepal, Afghanistan, Vanuatu. These sides have different styles. It will be a great challenge. But if we do our skills well, we will do well, adds Dockrell.
Afghanistan captain Shir M. Shirzi is happy to go into the tournament as one of the favourites:
``We want to play well. The pitches here will be very good and we will enjoy ourselves playing here. The performances of the senior team gives us hope to do well in the tournament. Few of our players like Jawed Ahmadi, Aftab Alam and Najibullah Zadran have played for the senior team as well. That experience should help.
``There is massive interest back home in the progress of this team. We played our senior team recently and also a team in Pakistan. Both times we performed well. So that gives us a lot of confidence, says Shirzi.
Of the other sides, Nepal captain Prithu Baskota leads a side capable of springing a few surprises.
``We are just trying to qualify for the ICC u19 World Cup and make it to the top six. If we play to our potential, then definitely we will qualify. We have some really raw talents in our side and the guys are the confident and are hopeful that they will do well.
``We have a balanced all-round side. We have played sides like Afghanistan before, they are a good side. We have not seen Ireland and Scotland playing but we have a rough sketch of how they play. If we play to our strengths and stick to the basics, we can go to Australia, says Baskota.
Papua New Guinea Captain Chris Kent leads a team that aims to be the surprise package of the tournament with the addition of former Australia international Andy Bichel as team coach.
``Springing surprises is a good thing. The presence of Andy Bichel as our coach has been a great boost. Things have started looking up since the time he has come in. We have got new funding and new coaches. It is a big opportunity for us to get involved with professionals. He has taught us about how to act outside. We now know more subtlety of cricket and the modern game. It is really good for Cricket PNG and for the whole group, says Kent.