The build-up to the 2007 World Cup moved up a gear for 23 players from six Associate countries as the ICC launched its first Winter Training Camp (WTC) in Pretoria.
Players from Bermuda, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, Kenya and Scotland are all set to feel the benefit of the residential camp which will offer the attendees technical, tactical, physical and mental training
The camp, part of the ICC's High Performance Program (HPP) for the six Associate countries heading to the World Cup, runs until December 21 at the University of Pretoria's high performance centre.
The WTC was officially launched on Monday by Percy Sonn, the ICC's vice-president, who said it offered the players attending the chance of a lifetime. "Every player here has the dream of playing for his country in the World Cup and the Winter Training Camp can help them fulfil that dream," Sonn said. "This camp will allow them to develop their skills thanks to the expert coaching and world-class facilities available and if those attending can take advantage of being here then they could be competing against the likes of Ricky Ponting, Shaun Pollock and other great players in less than 18 months' time."
Explaining the idea behind the WTC, Richard Done , the ICC's high performance manager, said: "As each of these six countries have similar needs in preparing for the World Cup it makes perfect sense to share coaching and training resources in this way. The WTC will be staffed by coaches with a wide experience of working with Associate member countries so they will be well aware of what is required to achieve success with these players."
Those coaches are led by Scotland coach Andy Moles and include Done, former England fast bowler and bowling coach Bob Cottam and Mark Lane, who previously coached with Moles in Kenya. In addition to cricket-specific training, the WTC includes work on physical fitness, nutrition, vision, psychology and recovery as well as specialist sessions from current and former South Africa players. Each of the other national coaches not already present will also be invited to attend for two weeks.
The camp is being attended by eight players from Scotland, four each from Bermuda and Canada, three each from Ireland and Kenya and by one player from the Netherlands. Scotland's additional numbers are based on the fact they had already planned to send players to South Africa before the WTC arrangements were confirmed, as well as Moles' presence to head up the program, a presence that is funded by Cricket Scotland.
The facilities available for use during the WTC include the accommodation, turf grounds and nets, a modern gymnasium, swimming pool and recovery, sports science and sports medicine areas. Players will also get the chance to complete their Level Two coaching awards.
Two current players, Canada's John Davison and Clay Smith of Bermuda, will also be involved as coaches and are being encouraged to develop their coaching skills as there may be opportunities to become more involved in their countries' respective coaching programs in the future.
The WTC has been financed by a combination of the ICC High Performance Program budget, the $500,000 preparation grant afforded to each Associate country after they qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup and contributions from the countries.
Players attending the WT:-
Jekon Edness - 22 years of age, right-hand middle- and lower-order batsman and wicketkeeper, played for Bermuda at every level from U15 onwards. Reserve for the ICC Intercontinental Cup finals squad
Jim West - 23, right-hand lower-order batsman and right-arm medium-pace bowler, represented Bermuda at U-19 level and has played county cricket in Bermuda. Reserve for the ICC Intercontinental Cup finals squad
Stephen Outerbridge - 22, left-hand opening batsman, part-time right-arm off-spin/medium-pace bowler, played for Bermuda from U-15 level
Azeem Pitcher - 25, left-hand top-order batsman and right-arm medium-pace bowler, played for Bermuda at U-19 level. Reserve for the ICC Intercontinental Cup finals squad
Qaiser Ali - 28, right-hand middle-order batsman and right-arm off-spin bowler, played for Pakistan U-19s v England A in 1995-96. Made his Canada debut in 2005 and played in both ICC Intercontinental Cup matches (v Bermuda and the Cayman Islands) and against the MCC in September 2005
Umar Bhatti - 21, left-hand lower-order batsman and left-arm fast-medium bowler, played for Canada and U-19 and senior levels, part of the squad that played in the ICC Trophy 2005 in Ireland
Kenneth Carto - 19, right-hand top-order batsman and wicketkeeper, played for Canada in ICC U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2004
Henry Osinde - 27, right-hand lower-order batsman and right-arm medium-fast bowler, originally from Uganda but moved to Canada five years ago. Took 7 for 53 against the Cayman Islands in the ICC Intercontinental Cup match earlier this year.
Trevor Britton - 23, right-hand middle-order batsman and right-arm offspin bowler, played for Ireland U-23s and in the Inter-Provincial tournament for the North West for the past three years
Kenneth Carroll - 23, right-hand batsman and left-arm wrist-spin bowler. Played for Ireland U-17 and U-19 and last season played at U-23 level; replaced Johnny Thompson from original squad for WTC after Thompson suffered back and hamstring injuries
Eoin Morgan - 19, left-hand batsman and right-arm medium-pace bowler. Played county cricket in England for Middlesex in 2005, a member of Ireland's ICC Trophy squad this year and is a member of Ireland's squad for the ICC Intercontinental Cup finals. Played for Ireland at every level from U-13 and for Middlesex from U-17 onwards.
Nehemiah Odhiambo Ngoche - 22, right-hand lower-order batsman, right-arm medium-fast bowler, played for Kenya at U-17 & U-19 levels
Alfred Luseno - 23, right-hand lower-order batsman and right-arm medium-fast bowler, played for Kenya at U-17 and U-19 levels and part of the ICC Intercontinental Cup squad of 2004. Made his ODI debut for against Sri Lanka in the Cherry Blossom Sharjah Cup in April 2003 but is yet to appear again
Kalpesh Patel - 20, right-hand batsman and right-arm medium pace bowler, currently with Kenya on their tour of Zimbabwe and part of the squad for the 2005 ICC Intercontinental Cup finals. Occasional wicketkeeper
Tom de Grooth - 26, right-hand top-order batsman, part-time off-spin bowler, played for the Netherlands from U-12 onwards and has captained the Dutch U-23 and A sides. Part of the squad that played in this year's ICC Trophy in Ireland
Richard Berrington - 18, right-hand top-order batsman and right-arm seam bowler, played for Scotland at every level from U-13 onwards and represented the European Cricket Council Development team
Kasim Farid - 19, right-hand top-order batsman and right-arm leg-spin bowler, played for Scotland at every level from U-13 and has also been part of the European Cricket Council Development team
Gordon Goudie - 18, right-hand lower-order batsman and right-arm fast-medium bowler, played for Scotland at every level from U-13s onwards as well as the MCC Young Cricketers and Middlesex second XI. Made two appearances for Scottish Saltires in UK National League in 2005
Ross Lyons - 20, left-hand lower-order batsman and left-arm spin bowler, played for Scotland at every level from U13 onwards. Played in U-19 Cricket World Cup in Bangladesh in 2004. Made six appearances for Scottish Saltires in UK National League in 2005
Dewald Nel - 25, right-hand batsman and right-arm medium-fast bowler, played for Scotland at U23 and senior levels. Born in South Africa, part of the ICC trophy squad in Ireland this year, playing in one match. Made 11 appearances for Scottish Saltires in UK National League in 2005
Qasim Sheikh - 20, left-hand top-order batsman and left-arm medium-pace bowler, played for Scotland at every level from U-13. Also played for the MCC Young Cricketers. Made four appearances for Scottish Saltires in UK National League in 2005
Fraser Watts - 26, right-hand batsman, right-arm off-spin bowler, played for Loughborough University Cricketing Centre of Excellence in the UK as well as Scotland at all levels. Played in ICC Trophy in 2001 and 2005 and made 17 appearances for Scotland in the National League in 2005 (most by any Scotland player)
Sean Weeraratna - 19, right-hand lower-order batsman and right-arm seam bowler, played for Scotland at every level from U-13 onwards. Made four appearances for Scotland in the National League in 2005