Players from participating teams believe pressure in previous tournaments will help at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014
“I think it is going to be a wonderful tournament,” says UAE’s Khurram Khan
“It is imperative that we provide strong leadership to the young guys on tour and guide them both off and on the field,” says Namibia’s Louis Klazinga
“Experience brings something extra to the relatively young squad, especially at a tournament where there is so much at stake,” says Netherlands’ Mudassar Bukhari
“Along with the five others, we are sharing our knowledge from the 2009 event,” says Uganda’s Frank Nsubuga
The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ) will see 10 leading Associate and Affiliate teams lock horns to determine the final two sides to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 (CWC), and leading players from the previous event in 2009 agree that the knowledge gained then will be vital to their sides’ success in New Zealand.
Canada’s Khurram Chohan is one of only two players remaining from the team that finished runner-up to Ireland, and the 33-year-old said this experience is a valuable asset.
“I am playing a bit of a mentoring role and it’s really good. We have a lot of youngsters in the team, and we are all focused, everyone wants to win the ICC CWCQ and go on to the ICC CWC. We are hungry to win.”
The 33-year-old right-arm fast-medium bowler, who took four wickets for 27 in Canada’s opening match against Oman in 2009, believed that the 2014 team had the capacity to go all the way to the final. “If we follow through on both the focus and the hunger, we will qualify to the World Cup.”
The UAE’s 42-year-old Khurram Khan, who also skippered the side at the ICC CWCQ 2009 and is one of three survivors from that event, admitted New Zealand conditions will be difficult for his side.
“The conditions in New Zealand are completely different to those in the UAE. We practice and play mostly on dry wickets, but in New Zealand it swings and seams,” said the middle-order batsman, who is also a useful off-spinner.
However, the veteran expressed his excitement about the tournament. “I think it is going to be a wonderful tournament. There are players capable of playing in and against any international team in the world,” he said.
Louis Klazinga is one of seven players in the Namibia side who also featured in the ICC CWCQ 2009.
“It is very beneficial for us to have such a large group of players who have participated in previous qualifiers, be it T20 or the 50-over format. It is imperative that we provide strong leadership to the young guys on tour and guide them both off and on the field,” said the 28-year-old all-rounder.
Klazinga was the joint-third leading wicket-taker, alongside John Blain, with 17 wickets in 2009 when Namibia finished eighth. He feels the conditions in New Zealand will be significantly different to those of South Africa four years ago.
“From what we have seen, the low temperatures and wind could be a factor to consider. I am really looking forward to playing in a different country with its challenges,” he added.
The Netherlands’ Mudassar Bukhari is one of five campaigners from the 2009 event where the Dutch finished fourth and he said his side’s experience of global events will be pivotal. “Experience brings something extra to the relatively young squad, especially at a tournament where there is so much at stake.”
The all-rounder, who was the second highest wicket-taker for his side in South Africa with 13 wickets, felt fitness will be the key to Netherlands’ 2014 campaign. “After qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20 in November, the preparation in New Zealand has been very good. Coach Anton Roux has put a large emphasis on being a strong and fit unit, and that seems to be paying off. We are a better prepared unit that is also much more fit.”
Scotland’s Kyle Coetzer is one of five players from the European side’s ICC CWCQ 2009 campaign where he was the fifth highest run-scorer, with 424 runs. The captain said his side cannot afford to underestimate the importance of any match.
“It’s a tough tournament. We have to win every single game. The conditions in New Zealand are similar to the UK,” he remarked.
Uganda finished 10th in the ICC CWCQ 2009, and Frank Nsubuga is one of six players returning to the stage in 2014. In that event, Uganda posted the third highest score of the tournament (352 for seven against Bermuda), with Nsubuga striking 98 from 63 balls in a losing cause. Nsubuga went on to finish the tournament with 241 runs at an average of just over 40.
The right-hander was confident that the side will benefit from the experience of the senior players. “Along with the five others, we are sharing our knowledge from the 2009 event. As long as we go through with our game plan, if we put some runs on the board, we can do a good job.”