Six countries, including Botswana, will lock heads at the weekend in the Pepsi International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) division 7 tournament. The tournament, which will be held in Botswana, will be hosted at the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) oval and at Lobatse.
The six countries expected to battle are hosts Botswana, Nigeria, Fiji, Germany, Vanuatu and Ghana.
Speaking in an interview, BCA Chief Executive Officer, Girish Ramakrishna, said the countries will battle it out for a promotion to the Pepsi ICC WCL division 6. He said the winners and the runners up will be expected to compete at the Division 6 tournament, which will be hosted in Jersey, United Kingdom, in July this year.
Ramakrishna said that the eight-day tournament will kick off next Saturday with the final matches billed for the 13th of April.
This will be the second successive year that Botswana hosts the event, after successfully hosting it last year.
“This will be a fifty overs’ match and each team will be expected to play five games,” Ramakrishna explained.
Unlike in the twenty overs, matches where teams can play up to two games a day, each team will be expected to play one match per day.
Of the six countries expected to compete, Botswana is ranked fourth behind Nigeria, Fiji and Germany, while Vanuatu and Ghana are ranked 5th and 6th, respectively. Meanwhile, the BCA CEO said he expects a better showing from Botswana during this year’s games, adding that, unlike last year, this time around Botswana is a much improved side and will be expected to give all the countries ranked above them a run for their money.
“Our team is relatively young, but they are now more experienced and are hungry and much fitter. They have been working hard over the years and the results will soon show,” the BCA CEO said.
Ramakrishna said that the core of the team is made up of players who competed at the recent Africa Division 1 tournament where they faced off against some of the best countries in the continent.
“Though this is a different format of the game, I believe we can compete well even against the high ranked Nigerian team. We beat Nigeria during the T20 Africa division 1 tournament and though this is a fifty overs game, I believe we have the capability to compete,” Ramakrishna explained.
He said with the team having been together for a while now and having got some experience from playing in the T20 Africa Division 1, the expectation is that they will put into practice what they learned during the past tournaments to grind out needed results. He said the team will also be buoyed by the home advantage to do better and called upon Batswana to support the team.
The Botswana squad to play will be captained by all rounder Karabo Modise and coached by Arjun Menon. The team’s batting attack is made up of Modise, Denzil Sequeira, Karabo Motlhanka, Waseem Tajbhay, Faisal Rana Rasheed, Saad Mohyuddin and all rounder Nabil Master.
The bowlers will be Russell Whithey, Feroze Essack, Tshepo Mhozya, Thatayaone Those, Hasantha Namal Bandara, Segolame Ramatu and spinner Thabang Nshomane. Faz Sherrif will manage the team and will be assisted by Sanjay Bhargava. Botswana’s first game will be against Ghana at Lobatse on Saturday.
All the games start at 09:30 in the mornings.