Fireworks are expected at the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) oval today (Sunday), as Shining Stars take on Southern Rocks in the first game of the BCA 50 overs National League.
At stake will not only be a chance to draw first blood in the long race to BCA 50 overs league championship, but also a chance for players to impress selectors as the national team selection continues.
With Botswana expected to play in two upcoming continental competitions, namely the Africa Division 2 Senior Championships and the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2018 – Africa Qualifier 2017, players are expected to use them to put themselves in the display window.
“The Africa Division 2 Senior championships will be played at Benoni, South Africa from April 7 to 17 while the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2018 Africa Qualifier 2017 will be played in June. We therefore expect the games to help our boys prepare for the continental championships,” BCA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Girish Ramakrishna explained.
With the games fixture for at least six weeks, the BCA CEO believes they are perfectly placed as they will end on March 26, just a week before the Africa Division 2 Senior Championships begin.
According to Ramakrishna, the game being played today will provide a glimpse of Botswana’s future, more especially as one of the teams playing on the day, Shining Stars, are composed solely of U-19 players.
“The idea to have a team solely made of the Under 19’s was deliberately taken by the coaches to ensure that our youngsters get to play together as a team. We want them to develop together,” the BCA CEO said.
Ramakrishna said should some of the youngsters impress national team selectors during the course of the games, they will possibly be roped into the national team.
“This is a chance for all players to prove themselves. It is a chance for those who have been overlooked by the national team selectors to possibly get themselves back in the national team frame,” the BCA CEO said.
With so much at stake for players, Ramakrishna said spectators at the games should expect some quality displays from quality players throughout the six weeks of the league.
Meanwhile, as the players from the south region start their dress rehearsal for the national team, cricketers in the north will have to wait a little longer for their chance to impress as the start of their league has been delayed.
According to the BCA CEO, the delay comes as the cricket fields in the north are unplayable due to the recent torrential rains, which he said have destroyed the grounds designated for the tournament.
Ramakrishna expressed hope that the northern league would resume before the end of this month.