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Italy, Nepal and Uganda set sights on qualification

Italy, Nepal and Uganda are coming to Bermuda with one ultimate goal ... qualification to the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in two years’ time.

They are three of six teams that will come together this weekend to compete for the chance to lift the WCL Division 3 trophy and get closer to ICC’s flagship global event, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

Italy captain Alessandro Bonora says his team are prepared for a tough week of cricket. “As a player you know you are going to come up against tough and consistent opposition and it will no doubt be an exciting week of cricket, I hope I can step up and hit form early in tournament,” said Bonora.

“I hope we all can. It will be a tremendous honour for all of us to represent Italy and I will be incredibly proud if we can take it a step further to the 2014 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

The 34-year-old top-order batsman, who scored only one against a BCB Select at number three during Tuesday’s practice match at Sea Breeze Oval, is confident that his squad has the experience as a team unit to perform well in Bermuda.

“Most of the squad had come to the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier and to Hong Kong before that in the last 50-over WCL event,” said the captain. “So, we have been together for a long time. We know our games plans and we know that this group of players can implement them consistently.”

Having finished fourth in WCL Division 3 in 2011 and 10th at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE in 2012, Bonora wants his side to learn from their experiences against the top Associate and Affiliate teams.

“In Dubai, we believed we had a hugely competitive team and proved that to a certain extent. We were consistent and dangerous but didn’t have that explosive edge to cause a killer blow to a really big team. That taught us a number of lessons about ourselves and how really good teams play the game and we will take that knowledge and confidence with us to Bermuda. The next step for us is to turn it up a gear.”

Nepal captain Paras Khadka, who has represented Nepal in three ICC U19 World Cups — 2004, 2006 and 2008 — says his team dreams of qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup.

“We know that opponents will challenge us in every department of the game as all the teams in Bermuda will be competitive. Knowing the fact that it could take us to the pathway to glory, we are taking this very seriously and will give all we have to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier,” said Khadka.

“We are really looking forward to the tournament and are preparing ourselves in the best possible manner with the available resources. Each and every player in the team has come through the domestic system and we have devoted lots of time and effort to climb the ICC rankings; certainly, playing in an ICC Cricket World Cup is our greatest and only dream,” said the all-rounder.

Having won promotion to WCL Division 3 after winning WCL Division 4 undefeated in 2012, Khadka is confident of his side’s capabilities. “We believe that we are good enough to be in the top six Associate countries. So we will push ourselves to the maximum to reach the main qualifier,” he concluded.

Uganda captain Davis Arinaitwe says his side are motivated by the chance to gain promotion to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier and play against the top Associate and Affiliate sides.

“Qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier brings our dream of playing in a World Cup closer, but also allows us a good opportunity to tussle it out with the top Associates and Affiliates who are more experienced. That allows us to play freely with the underdog tag,” he said.

The 26-year-old off-spinner says his side also wants to gain immediate promotion from WCL Division 3, having moved between WCL Divisions 2 and 3 over the past few years: “It’s a massive tournament for us not just as players but as a cricketing nation and we will look to take one game at a time and exploit our massive experience in WCL Division 3.

“As a player, it’s a very defining event that could decide my cricket career direction and I would really be looking to further my career, so I will do anything and everything to keep pursuing my career to an advanced level,” Arinaitwe concluded.

Nepal open the tournament in Bermuda on Sunday against the United States at Somerset while Italy face Oman at St. David’s and Uganda lock horns with hosts Bermuda at the National Sports Stadium.

All matches are scheduled to start at 10.30am

Photo by Akil Simmons Italy opener Dinidu Marage goes on the attack against Bermuda Select during his opening stand of 32 with Damian Fernando at Sea Breeze Oval on Tuesday. Marage scored 15 and later led the Italy bowling with three for 14 from nine overs of left arm spin. Italy won 118 runs.

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Published April 25, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 24, 2013 at 6:17 pm)

Italy, Nepal and Uganda set sights on qualification

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