With only three months left before the Senior Men’s national team is due to play at the International Cricket Council (ICC) ÔÇô the African Cricket Association (ACA) Division 1 Twenty 20 (T 20) tournament, the Botswana Cricket Association is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the team is well prepared for the tournament.
The six-nation tournament, which is due to be held in Tanzania in February next year, will give winners and runners up a chance to fight for a spot at the 2014 Cricket World Cup tournament.
Speaking in an interview, BCA Secretary ÔÇô Fixtures and Publicity, Sumod Damodar, said to ensure that the national team gets the much needed match practice, they have arranged for them to play a series of matches against a Pretoria-based regional league cricket club, The Cavaliers.
During The Cavaliers’ stay in the country, the national team will be expected to play at least three matches a day, something which they will be expected to do during the ICC ÔÇô ACA Division 1 tournament.
“The idea is to get our boys in a good shape to compete at the tournament and to get used to the rigors of the tournament,” he explained, adding that apart from playing a series of matches against the Pretoria based club, the team will also go into camp in December before players are released for the holidays.
After the holidays in January, the team will be expected to resume rigorous training to get it back in top shape. He said they expect this to include a couple of friendly matches against some opponents from South Africa or Zimbabwe.
“We are currently trying to negotiate with some clubs in South Africa to give us some friendly matches. Unfortunately, the South African leagues will still be running and it is difficult to get matches. We will also be looking at Zimbabwean clubs to see if we can get some friendly games,” Damodar said.
On the prospects of Botswana doing well at the tournament, Damodar said the BCA is optimistic that the team can do well at the tournament. However, with only two spots to fight for and tough opposition to play, the BCA Secretary is not expecting the tournament to be easy. At the tournament, Botswana will be expected to play against African powerhouses like Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria as well as Zambia, who were runners’ up to Botswana during the ICC ÔÇô ACA Division 2 T20 tournament last month.
“If you ask me whether we believe we can make it past the group and want to play at the World Cup, I will say yes. But at the moment, we are just taking it one tournament at a time. Remember, if we win the Africa division tournament, which we believe is possible, we will then have to compete at the World League Series against the best two from each continent before we can proceed to the World Cup. That is why we just want to concentrate on tournaments as they come,” Damodar explained.