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The squads for the World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament in Dubai and Abu Dubai between February 9 and 15 have been announced.
The tournament will see 17 matches take place in the five days, played Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium and the Dubai International Cricket Stadium at Dubai Sports City, where the final will be staged.
At stake are two places in the World Twenty20 which takes places in the West Indies from April 30 to May16. The winner of the UAE event will join South Africa and India in Group C while the losing finalist will join Group D which includes the West Indies and England.
All eyes will be on Afghanistan, who's stellar performances over the last ten months have reverberated around the cricketing world and beyond. While they narrowly missed qualification for the 50-over World Cup 2011 in April, they have been in good form at the Intercontinental Cup. Most recently they displayed flair and resilience to defeat defending champions Ireland, and also recorded a come-from-behind, one-wicket victory over the Netherlands in August 2009.
Ireland, who have been pushing for full-member status, remain one of the strongest associate sides and their squad includes 13 players from the 2009 World Twenty20 in England, where they defeated Bangladesh by six wickets and qualified for the Super Eights.
The Netherlands, who caused the major upset of the 2009 tournament when they defeated England in the opening match, will be without captain Jeroen Smith's this time round but will still be looking to impress.
Afghanistan Dawlat Ahmadzai, Hameed Hasan, Karim Khan Sadiq, Mohammad Asghar Stanikzai, Mohamamd Shahzad Mohammadi, Mohammad Nabi Eisakhil, Merwais Ashraf, Nawroz Khan Mangal, Noor Ali Noori, Obaidullah Konary, Raees Ahmadzai, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Shahpoor Zardan and Samiullah Shinwari.
Canada Harvir Baidwan, Ashish Bagai, Geoff Barnett, Umar Bhatti, Ian Billcliff, Rizwan Cheema, Khurram Chohan, John Davison, Sunil Dhaniram, Shaheed Keshvani, Usman Limbada, Henry Osinde, Abdool Samad and Saad Bin Zafar.
Ireland Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, Peter Connell, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Gary Kidd, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin, Paul Striling, Andrew White and Gary Wilson.
Kenya James Kamande, Lameck Ngoche, Nehemiah Ngoche, Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, Collins Obuya, David Obuya, Nelson Odhiambo, Otieno Ondik, Elijah Otieno, Maurice Ouma, Rakep Patel, Steve Tikolo and Hiren Varaiya.
Netherlands Peter Borren, Mudassar Bukhari, Daan van Bunge, Ryan ten Doeschate, Tom de Grooth, Mark Jonkman, Muhammad Kashif, Alexei Kervezee, Atse Buurman, Timothy Gruijters, Edgar Schiferli, Pieter Seelaar, Eric Szwarczynski and Bas Zuiderent.
Scotland Richie Berrington,, Kyle Coezter, Gordon Drummond, Gordon Goudie, Gavin Hamilton, Majid Haq, Ross Lyons, Neil McCallum, Dewald Nel, Navdeep Poonia, Simon Smith, Jan Stander, Ryan Watson and Fraser Watts.
UAE Fayyaz Ahmed, Saqib Ali, Arfan Haider, Mohamed Iqbal, Amjad Javed, Khurram Khan, Mois Shahid Malik, Naeemuddin, Qadar Nawaz, Ahmed Raza, Abdul Rehman, Shoaib Sarwar, Mohammad Tauqir and Qassim Zubair.
USA Timroy Allen, Imran Awan, Orlando Baker, Lennox Cush, Kevin Darlington, Sudesh Dhaniram, Glenmore Hall, Rashard Marshall, Steve Massiah, Sushil Nadkarni, Usman Shuja, Aditya Thyagarajan and Saurabh Verma Carl Wright.
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Assistant editor Sahil Dutta grew up supporting England during the 90s. Despite this, he still enjoys the game. His unrequited passions for Graeme Hick and, in latter years, Vikram Solanki gave him a stoicism that guided him through an Economics degree and a stint working at the European Parliament. He maintains the purest love for Tests and the whims of legspin bowling and still harbours hope that he could be the answer to England's long search for a mystery spinner. As it is, his most exciting cricketing experience was planning a trip to Australia for the 2006-07 Ashes with two utterly indifferent friends. Unfortunately his lung collapsed shortly before his planned departure and the pair were left to wander around from Test to Test, unprepared and clueless. Any comparisons with England are far too obvious to make. That cancelled holiday inspired an Ashes blog which led, via some tea-making at the Wisden Cricketer, to the ESPNcricinfo towers.