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Sierra Leone have stuck to their successful youth policy in naming the squad to take part in the World Cricket League Africa Division Two tournament in Benoni, South Africa from April 23 to 30.
The promotion of 24-year-old all-rounder Lansana Lamin to the captaincy and the inclusion of nine members of the country's Under-19 squad further illustrate the Sierra Leone Cricket Association's (SLCA) emphasis on junior development. SLCA feel the policy has been vindicated after receiving an ICC award for 'Most Improved Cricketing Standards in Africa'.
The eight-team Sierra Leone 50-over and Twenty/20 domestic competitions have just finished and the players have been enjoying a break before the six-team Division Three tournament starts on Friday.
Abubakarr Kamara, an allrounder who captained Sierra Leone to second place in last year's Africa Under-19 titles, has been named as vice-captain of a squad which has just four players aged over 25. Sierra Leone qualified for last September's Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand but were prevented from taking part due to visa isses. The youngest member of the squad is under-15 player Abass Gbla. Thirty-year-old opener George Kpundeh will provide valuable experience.
The other teams competing in the tournament are Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia.
Sierra Leone: Lansana Lamin (Captain), Abubakarr Kamara (Vice-Captain), Emmanuel Pessima, Abass Gbla, Ibrahim Mansaray, Ibrahim Kamara, Ibrahim Kabia, Julius Quee, Brima Ansumana, Edward Marah, Mustapha Kallon, Alie John Kamara, George Kpundeh, Solomon Fatoma.
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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.