Six countries represented with Ireland providing the most players
The International Cricket Council today announced the Team of the Tournament for the group stage of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08, the final of which takes place between Namibia, making its first appearance, and defending champion Ireland at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth from 30 October to 3 November.
The team was selected by a specially assembled panel of experts after the coaches and captains of each of the eight competing teams were asked to make their nominations. The players who made the team will be presented with an ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-2008 Team of the Tournament award.
Not surprisingly, players from the two finalists provide most of the team but in total six countries are represented. Four of the team are from Ireland, including the 12th man, while Namibia has provided three. In addition, there are two players from Kenya and one each from Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Bermuda.
Only performances in the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 were considered and of the eight competing teams, just Scotland and the Netherlands are not represented in the dream team.
"Once all the votes from the coaches and captains had been tallied, the panel made the final selections but relied heavily on those nominations," said ICC High Performance Manager Richard Done, who chaired the panel.
"There have been some wonderful performances in the 2007-08 event and a remarkable number of close games. It was also testament to the competitive nature of the tournament that we did not know who both finalists would be until the last day of the last match, between Kenya and Ireland at Nairobi Gymkhana earlier this month," said Done.
"During the tournament, the members of the selection panel between them saw all the teams in action and all are hugely knowledgeable about Associate cricket, particularly the top sides. It made for some interesting discussions in debating the make-up of the team and I think the time and thought that went into that process has yielded 12 guys who have all performed outstandingly well for their teams in the 2007-08 edition of the tournament.
"The idea of the ICC Intercontinental Cup is to give players from Associate teams to opportunity to play more the longer form of the game and the four-day format has been very successful. I have noticed a lot of improvement in performances since this tournament was introduced in 2004.
"Batsmen are demonstrating better concentration and technique, bowlers are showing more patience and the fielding is also improving. It's really encouraging as we continue to close the gap between the Test sides and the top Associates.
"Although this team won't actually play any matches, I am pretty confident it could hold its own at a high level. This is a fine group of players named here," he said.
The coaches and captains were asked to make the nominations from teams other than their own and they nominated players in the following categories: opening batsmen (two); top/middle-order batsmen (three); wicketkeeper (one); quick bowlers (three); spin bowlers (two) and one additional player from any category, who the coaches and captains felt was deserving of his place.
To be nominated, players must have appeared in at least four out of his team's seven ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-2008 round-robin matches. The coaches and captains were also asked to nominate a captain from the players they picked.
To assist the coaches and captains in their deliberations, they were all provided with full statistics and averages providing the leading performances from each of the 28 matches in the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 group stage.
Once all the votes were collated the five-person panel made its selection.
Team of the Tournament 2007-08 (in would-be batting order)
Niall O'Brien (Ireland, wicketkeeper)
Saqib Ali (UAE)
Andre Botha (Ireland, captain)
Gerrie Snyman (Namibia)
Kevin O'Brien (Ireland)
Thomas Odoyo (Kenya)
Sunil Dhaniram (Canada)
Kola Burger (Namibia)
Louis Klazinga (Namibia)
Hiren Varayia (Kenya)
Dwayne Leverock (Bermuda)
12th man: Peter Connell (Ireland)
The selection panel consisted of:
Richard Done (Chairman)
Ian Callender (Europe)
Russell Tiffin (Africa)
Mazhar Khan (Asia)
Martin Vieira (Americas)
For more information on the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 go to: www.icc-cricket.com
The ICC Intercontinental Cup has quickly grown in stature and profile since its inception four years ago and now the ICC's premier first-class tournament is an integral part of the Associate Members' cricket schedule.
Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event has evolved into an eight-team, round-robin and truly global tournament featuring four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to experience the longer form of the game.
Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in both events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider and Canada in the 2006-07 event.
The final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 will take place from 30 October to 3 November 2008 at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth between Namibia and Ireland.