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Captains speak ahead of WCL Division Five

Tanzania, Jersey, Malaysia, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Nigeria face off for promotion to Division Four

Captains speak ahead of WCL Division Five - Cricket News
Team Captains with the trophy (L-R) Ronalds Ebanks, Adekunle Adegbola, Hamisi Abdallah, Ahmad Faiz Mohammad Noor, Jamie Nussbaumer and Peter Gough.

Interview with Tanzania’s captain Hamisi Abdullah

Having grown up with the team, Tanzania captain Hamisi Abdullah said the ICC World Cricket League Division Five is very important to the team and the team would do its best to create a good impression on the international stage. 

“All the boys are looking forward to it. We’ve been here (Malaysia) for the last two years and we know the area well and the teams as well,” said Abdullah. 

“My expectation in this tournament is to do well but it depends on how the other teams play. In whatever circumstances, our players should be at their best against any team.

“We’ve all grown up as a team together, so we respect and love each other.” 

Preparations for the tournament went very well for Tanzania and Hamisi said that the players are pumped for it. 

“We went for a tour in India and it was successful. All the players showed good spirit and performance. It was good and as the captain, I was happy,” he said.

Having dropped down a division, Hamisi said that the players have learnt from their mistakes and have prepared themselves to avoid another setback.

“We made mistakes. We had two years to prepare and we are prepared to make comeback. The only thing is to show what we’ve done and show those improvements in this tournament,” he said.

Hamisi added that all the teams are strong but Tanzania is ready to face any opposition.

He said two players, Abhik Patwa, the top-order batsman, and Benson Nyakini, the bowler, will be key for this team and is expecting the two to impress in this tournament.

Tanzania will fight it out against Guernsey, Cayman Islands, Nigeria, Jersey and host nation Malaysia for the two promotion spots to Division Four. Tanzania is seeded second in this tournament.

Interview with Malaysia’s captain Ahmad Faiz Mohammad Noor

Malaysia will be under pressure to perform well after being demoted from Division Four not long ago. New Malaysian captain Ahmad Faiz Mohammad Noor said it is important to maintain focus and that they are prepared for the tournament.

“We’ve been prepared since three months ago and I could see the boys are together as a team. So it’s good for us,” said Ahmad Faiz.

“We’ve also been helped by our new coach Bilal Asad from Pakistan. His training is good and everything looks good with him around.”

To avoid another disappointment, the players have had discussions with their coach and are technically more mature under Asad’s tutelage. “It’s a collective effort and we’ll see how we do for Division Five,” said Ahmad Faiz.

The young captain also said all teams look the same but Jersey has an advantage because of its players. “They have got a few players who play in county cricket and I’m sure it’s a good opportunity to play with them. I will do it for the future of Malaysia and go as maximum as we can. We will do our best to become champions and get promoted to Division Four,” added Ahmad Faiz.

He cited Syafik Sharif as the best player for Malaysia. The wicketkeeper has played well in recent weeks and the captain hoped that he will continue his good form.

Malaysia will be up against Guernsey, Cayman Islands, Nigeria, Jersey and Tanzania for the two promotion spots to Division Four.

Interview with Cayman Islands captain Ronald Ebanks

Having started training as early as September last year, Ronald Ebanks hopes that Cayman Islands will get promoted to Division Four.

The Cayman Islands captain said the players have done a lot of physical training, even going to Jamaica in the last week of January for a couple games as part of the training programme. 

“Hopefully, we will be able to come out first or second in this tournament,” said Ebanks. “I don’t really know who the strongest team in this tournament is. Everybody is coming here to play game and come up strong. We’ve played Tanzania and we know those guys well,”

Ebanks said out of all the bowlers, Conroy Right will be the key player as he is disciplined. “Our batsmen are in a pretty good form right now especially Steve Gordon who is in an impressive form,” he said.

This is Ebanks’s first international tournament as a captain and he said it was a little intimidating at times but it was another step up for him and hoped to do well with the team.

Cayman Islands will fight it out against Guernsey, Tanzania, Nigeria, Jersey and Malaysia for the two promotion spots to Division Four.

Interview with Jersey Captain Peter Gough

Jersey captain Peter Gough thinks that Malaysia’s weather will not affect his team as it looks to take one game at a time in the tournament.

“No, I don’t think the weather will affect us. We concentrate on getting fit as possible,” said Gough. “We had a whole week to get used to the weather and the heat. It was tough on the first day off the plane but now we’re used to it.

“We’re going to think about the first game in Nigeria and we want to win it. Take it one at a time and we shall look together after that game. We believe in ourselves and hopefully we can win as many games as possible.”

Gough said Jersey has got a confident group of players and hoped to carry momentum from its Division Six success.

“We respect all of the oppositions and the good thing about the competition is that all the games are going to be interesting. Confidence is high and everyone is happy in the group,” he said, adding that all teams were tough and presented different challenges. 

“For now, we’re thinking about the Nigeria challenge and it’s going to be a tough one. We want prepare as well as we can. We know that Malaysia is going to be a good side because they’re the host nation,” added Gough.

“We’re happy with the team that we’ve brought here. We’ve got a balanced bowling attack and we have strengths in our spinners. We also have balance in our seamers as well and we’ve got a batting line-up that has great partnerships.”

Jersey will face Guernsey, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cayman Islands and Malaysia for the two promotion spots to Division Four.

Interview with Guernsey’s captain Jamie Nussbaumer

Participating in his fourth World Cricket League, Guernsey’s captain Jamie Nussbaumer said his young side is hoping to make an impression and maintain its Division Five status.

“Preparations have been really good and we’ve been working since October. We’ve been doing lots of gym work to get fit,” said Nussbaumer. 

“Couple of months ago, we’ve got this new indoor cricket centre and we’re working hard in the nets. We’ve been here for a week to get used to the weather and we’re feeling ready to go.

“The youngsters got a bit of shock but now they’re used it. We’re hoping to win every game and maintain Division Five status. We’ve got a very young squad and we’ve got to be realistic. Our average age is 22 and lots of guys here are playing their first tournament in alien conditions.”

He said Malaysia was the favourite to win the tournament because it was playing on home soil. 

“We’ve played good games against them. They’re a strong outfit. We treat every opponent with respect. Cricket is a team game. We can’t rely on one or two individuals for a tournament like this; everyone has got to be involved. Our squad members should perform” he said.

Guernsey will compete with Jersey, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cayman Islands and Malaysia for the two promotion spots to Division Four.

Interview with Nigeria captain Adekunle Adegbola

Nigeria’s captain Adekunle Adegbola is confident with his players and said they are highly prepared for ICC World Cricket League Division Five.

“We went to Sri Lanka for two weeks and they’re a Test-playing nation, so it’s a great exposure for us. We lost three games there and won one,” said Adegbola.

“We played a very high level of cricket and it was good workout for me. My guys are really determined and they are in good spirits.” 

He hoped his team will maintain the good spirit of sportsmanship but also win every game. 

“My guys are riding on a good form. We’ve actually worked on our weakness and we’re good to go. Cayman Islands will be the toughest. We’ve played with the other teams and I think we can capitalise from their weaknesses. We’ve never played a game against Cayman Islands and I think it’s going to be the toughest,” he said.

Adegbola pointed out three players – Ricky Sharma, Leke Ovede and Saheed Akolade – as the ones the teams will have to be wary of them. 

“These guys have stepped up their game and they’re going to cause damage for the other teams,” he said.

Nigeria is pooled with Jersey, Tanzania, Guernsey, Cayman Islands and Malaysia for the two promotion spots to Division Four.

Notes:

If you are interested in receiving information on the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division Five or attending the event as an accredited member of the media, please contact T.Avineshwaran on avinesh@thestar.com.my 

 

For more information on the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL), including an up to date points table, please visit www.icc-cricket.com.