The International Cricket Council today announced the Team of the Tournament for the group stage of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08, the final of which takes place between Namibia, making its first appearance, and defending champion Ireland at St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth from 30 October to 3 November.
The team was selected by a specially assembled panel of experts after the coaches and captains of each of the eight competing teams were asked to make their nominations. The players who made the team will be presented with an ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-2008 Team of the Tournament award.
Not surprisingly, players from the two finalists provide most of the team but in total six countries are represented. Four of the team are from Ireland, including the 12th man, while Namibia has provided three. In addition, there are two players from Kenya and one each from Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Dwayne Leverock from Bermuda.
Leverock told, www.islandstats.com, “To be selected is an honor, it shows when you work hard you get rewarded”.
“It’s not an easy thing to be selected as the Associates have a very strong pool of players to choose from, but it is something the youngsters can strive towards”, continued Leverock.
Only performances in the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 were considered and of the eight competing teams, just Scotland and the Netherlands are not represented in the dream team.
“Once all the votes from the coaches and captains had been tallied, the panel made the final selections but relied heavily on those nominations,” said ICC High Performance Manager Richard Done, who chaired the panel.
Leverock now turns his attention to helping Bermuda retain the Americas Regional Trophy, and as he say’s “It’s the first of a few things we need to take care of before April 2009, when we will look to qualify for the 2011 Cricket World Cup”.
“There have been some wonderful performances in the 2007-08 event and a remarkable number of close games. It was also testament to the competitive nature of the tournament that we did not know who both finalists would be until the last day of the last match, between Kenya and Ireland at Nairobi Gymkhana earlier this month,” said Done.
“The idea of the ICC Intercontinental Cup is to give players from Associate teams to opportunity to play more the longer form of the game and the four-day format has been very successful. I have noticed a lot of improvement in performances since this tournament was introduced in 2004.
“Batsmen are demonstrating better concentration and technique, bowlers are showing more patience and the fielding is also improving. It’s really encouraging as we continue to close the gap between the Test sides and the top Associates.
“Although this team won’t actually play any matches, I am pretty confident it could hold its own at a high level. This is a fine group of players named here,” he said.
To be nominated, players must have appeared in at least four out of his team’s seven ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-2008 round-robin matches. The coaches and captains were also asked to nominate a captain from the players they picked.
Once all the votes were collated the five-person panel made its selection.
Team of the Tournament 2007-08 (in would-be batting order)
Niall O’Brien (Ireland, wicketkeeper)
Saqib Ali (UAE)
Andre Botha (Ireland, captain)
Gerrie Snyman (Namibia)
Kevin O’Brien (Ireland)
Thomas Odoyo (Kenya)
Sunil Dhaniram (Canada)
Kola Burger (Namibia)
Louis Klazinga (Namibia)
Hiren Varayia (Kenya)
Dwayne Leverock (Bermuda)
12th man: Peter Connell (Ireland)