Welcome to cricket, Turkey

Of the numerous non-Test countries to have debuted in international cricket in recent years, there have arguably been as few as unheralded as Turkey,

Next week's European Division Five tournament in Corfu, Greece will be the country's first foray onto the global stage, one of the benefits of Turkey's acceptance as an Affiliate member of International Cricket Council last year

And unlike fellow newcomers, Bulgaria and Estonia, who have competed in various Twenty20 and Sixes tournaments around Europe, for Turkey it will be a total step into the unknown.

The turf wickets on Corfu may take some adjusting to from the Flicx surface of the wickets at Bilkent University in Ankara, the capital where five of the Turkish league's six teams are based.

Desi of Istanbul is mainland Europe's representative in the competition which began officially began in 2004, following on from previous ad hoc tournaments.

Pakistani students at the Bilkent and Middle Eastern University provide the bulk of the player base in Turkish cricket as well as most of the officials of the Turkish Cricket Union, whose Chief Executive is Syed Mahmud.

Huseyin Sen is the sole Turkish-born player in the side, said by Mahmud to be an allrounder who "is the one of the team's best fielders". He is one of 11 native-born players in the league.

Raj Chaudhury, a United Kingdom Cricket Council Level 3 coach, has been in Ankara training the squad and will accompany it to Corfu.

Apart from Turkey, Bulgaria and Estonia, Czech Republic, Greece, and Sweden will be contesting Division Five.

Turkey squad: Jonathan Clarkson (Capt.), Huseyin Sen, Mubashir Khan, Athar Imran Opal, Mohammad Razak, Abdul Hamid Chohan, Muhammad Aasim, Colin Sutcliffe, Imran Sharif, Syed Ateeq Ahmad, Christopher Wade, Sajjad Haider, Stephen Bryant, Guy Ranney; Coach - Raj Chaudhuri.

Tony Munro