ICC World Cricket League Division One June 30, 2010

Captains look for World Cup build-up at WCL Division One

Cricinfo staff

The captains of Ireland, Canada and Netherlands admitted there is plenty at stake for their sides as the ICC World Cricket League gets underway in Netherlands on July 1. Ireland launch their title defence on the opening day against former champions Kenya, while last year's runners-up Canada face Afghanistan; the hosts clash with Scotland.

Ireland captain Trent Johnston believed the tournament was a good opportunity to launch his side's World Cup preparations. "I think Phil Simmons and the selectors are pretty happy with the side we have here. I think it is a good opportunity for the players to put themselves forward for a place in next year's World Cup squad," Johnston said.

"We have probably got five or six of the regulars here and rest of the guys are trying to put themselves up for further selection. We are in sort of a rebuilding stage, I suppose, before the tournament in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh."

Johnston also saw the event as a stepping stone for the younger generation of cricketers in his squad. "We have a couple of guys who will be making their debuts, hopefully at some stage during the tournament. Craig Young, Andrew Bilbirnie, George Dockwell and Paul Stirling played in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year. They are now in the senior squad and it is a fantastic achievement for Irish cricket to see these guys developing and making into the senior ranks," he said.

Johnston was eager for Ireland to retain their status as the top Associate side and challenge the top teams. "I just want to keep Ireland at top of the Associate tree and keep knocking at the door of the big boys above us. We were close to beating Australia a couple of weeks ago and if we can take that sort of commitment and ability on the field and put three disciplines together, we have got a very good chance of lifting the trophy again," he added.

Canada captain Ashish Bagai said his side was brimming with confidence ahead of this year's event. "The 2009 tournament was very important for us as the pressure was obviously higher. We did well and what we can take away from that tournament is the confidence which we can use in this tournament. All the six teams are evenly matched so it is going to be a tough tournament but we believe we have enough gas in our tanks to finish at the top," Bagai said.

Bagai believed the tournament would give him a good idea of his side's progress in cricket's pecking order. "This is a very important tournament for us. It's a milestone and a good checkpoint which we can use to see where we stand and what we need to do in future. It gives us a good time to try out a few youngsters and identify our strengths and weaknesses seven months away from World Cup 2011," he said.

Peter Borren also had the World Cup lead-up in his sights, but nothing short of victory in the WCL Division One would do for the hosts. "It is a home tournament and obviously, at the back of our minds is the World Cup but at this stage the most important thing is to win the tournament," Borren said.

"We have to win games of cricket and let's try to put 100 overs of quality cricket together. It's always a challenge and it will be the same for all the teams here. I have no doubt that at times during this tournament we'll see some fantastic innings played by the Netherlands top six or seven batsmen. I also have no doubts that at times our bowling will be sharp.

"It's very often in cricket that you bat very well but let yourself down a little bit with bowling or fielding or the other way round. It has been a challenge for all the Associate sides to put it together for the whole match and our challenge in this tournament will be to be competitive and consistent match after match," Borren said.

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  • Dummy4 on July 2, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    Afghanistan is too strong we know thir players looking with good tlente we like them too much hope they will do hard work in this D1. now Afghanistan is 14 number if Afghan won this D1 they will be 13 number they will play with test countires test game .from the many year Irland doing this they didnt beaten to any test nation still .Afghanistan is looking by point from Irland that came along time with good faclities. after hard and 20 world Afghanistan is looking strong yesterday they beaten by 6 wickets to the Canada.

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2010, 8:11 GMT

    Well I am quite happy to see six assocate cricket teams playing against each other.

    For me all the six teams are evenly matched so there are no clear favourites in this tournament.I am expecting some close finishes during the tournament .

    In past few years I have noticed that associate teams have improved alot.Now strong cricket nations have to play their best in order to win against associate teams which is quite heartning to see.

    Afghanistan has been a welcome addition to cricket especially for asscociate cricket. With Afghanistan in the ranks the associate cricket quality has improved alot.

    Now almost every cricket fan is aware of the associate teams and their players. This is very positive indication of the cricket improvement at low level.

    So ICC is playing quite positive role for cricket development at lower level and it must be appreciated.

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    @aey, Afghanistan didnt qualify for the 2011 world cup, only Ireland, Netherlands, Canada and Kenya. Afghanistan seems to be doing the right thing in terms of developing their structure but at the moment Ireland is the best placed of the top associates.

  • Dummy4 on June 30, 2010, 22:58 GMT

    I am going to have firm belief in Afghanistan and their talent is never going to let me down. Afghanistan is going to leave a huge impact on all the cricket nations and since it's been only Afghanistan among the Associate and Affaliate nations that are topping the news headlines so no wonder why wouldn't they raise a few eye-brows here and there? Go Afghan Lions, the cup is there to take.

    But to be honest, I feel like all these 6 teams have the same quality in all 3 departments and it'd be up to the players how they are going to string their capabilities to win matches and hence tournament!

    Best of luck Afghanistan!!

  • Dummy4 on June 30, 2010, 15:36 GMT

    Given the way Afghanistan performed in the T20 World Cup.. I'd love to see them again in 2011 ODIs World Cup.

  • Neo on June 30, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    This is refreshing to watch the top six associate and affiliate teams go head to head. I will definitely enjoy following this tournament more than watching India practice against Sri Lanka for the 365th time this year! Cricket obviously needs more flavour. Hope tournaments like this will help push the associate and affiliate teams to the bigger stage.

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