Squads named for European Twenty20s
With a new European structure in place this year, Slovenia will host the ICC European Division Three Championship from May 11 to 14. The squads for the six teams taking part - Slovenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey - have been finalised and success will bring the prize of a place in the ICC European Division Two tournament in Belgium in June. Beyond that, teams will look to the theoretical prospect of progress to Division One, the global qualifier in the UAE next March, and the World Twenty20 championship itself, to be held in Sri Lanka in 2012.
Hosts Slovenia are unquestionably the most experienced side in the tournament, having taken part in European competitions since 2000. Most recently, they played in the ICC European Division Four of the 50-over championship in Cyprus in 2009, where they finished without a win.
Batsman Tom Furness takes over the captaincy from Mark Oman, and the side will be reinforced by the return of Stephen Mayland, who missed out on the Cyprus event. The squad includes seven Slovenian-born players, including newcomers Blaz Praper and Primoz Pustoslemsek.
Of the remaining sides, Sweden have the best credentials, having finished second to hosts Hellas in the Division Five tournament in Corfu two years ago. Seven of that squad will be in Slovenia, including the leading wicket-taker in Corfu, Afghan-born Azam Khalil, who took 16 wickets at an average of 6.31.
A new-look Czech Republic team contains only four of the side from Corfu, including captain Scott Page. The squad includes three Czech-born 17-year-olds, in Adam Holub, Damian Kysely and Alexander Storek.
The remaining three sides, Estonia, Turkey and Bulgaria, all made their international debuts in Corfu, each winning one match. Murali Obili, who was the leading allrounder from that event with 146 runs and 13 wickets at 9.62, will be a key member of the Estonia team, which also includes another 17-year-old, the Estonian-born Marten Kundla.
Turkey will field seven new players, with Huseyin Sen again the only Turkish-born member of the squad. The captaincy has been assumed by wicketkeeper Muhammad Aasim.
There are two venues for the tournament, Ljublijana Cricket Club in Valburga and Velden Cricket Club.
Bulgaria Saif-ur Rehman (capt), Stuart Clarkson, Ivan Dimitrov, Ivaylo Dunchev, Mohamad Hanif, Amal John, Ivaylo Katzarski, Mushtaq Lone, Prakash Mishra, Vladimir Ruskov, Danail Trenev, Georgi Velinov, Lyubomir Zanev, Leven Kortel, Lyudmil Trenev
Czech Republic Scott Page (capt), Sunil Ambar, Hugo Banks, John Corness, Sivagnanam Gnanatheeswaran, Adam Holub, Vojtech Hasa, Damian Kesely, Jobi Samuel, Brigmam Smith, Benjamin Soucek , Mikulas Stary, Alexander Arthur Storek.
Estonia Sivalingham Arunachalam, Andres Burget, Vineeth Govind, Timothy Heath, Peter van Buuren , Marten Kundla, Murali Obili, Anil Puri, Moshiur Rahman, Nand Lal Riar, Oliver Slobodetsky, Mart Tammoja, Marko Vaik, Kalle Vilslapuu
Slovenia Tom Furness (capt), Urban Blaznik, Domen Bohinc, Rok Bohinc, Robert Crawford, Bradley Eve, Lalantha Karunatilake, Simon Kaučič, Stephen Mayland, Mark Oman, Blaž Praper, Primož Pustoslemšek, Nejc Zupan
Sweden Imran Amjad, Serge Conein, Sanaullah Habibzai, Azam Khalil, Maqsood Khawaja, Azam Mohammad, Shahid Mustafa, Ewan Prezens, Piyal Rahman, Sunny Sharma, Sadat Sidiqi, Bilal Zaigham, Hassan Zaigham, Ahmad Zadran, Aman Khan Zahid, Sandeep Sharma
Turkey Muhammad Aasim (capt), Muneer Ahmed, Salman Ali, Sajjad Haider, Mubashir Khan, Nabeel Munir, Abdullah Numan, Mohammad Razak, Huseyin Sen, Imran Sharif, Ali Turkmen, Mecit Turkmenoglu, Hammad Ul Haq
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town