Associate T20I teams to play Desert T20 tournament in the UAE

Afghanistan
Afghanistan. (Photo credit PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

While all the major cricketing nations play each other across all formats from time to time be it Test, ODI or T20I the Associate teams seldom get a chance to play against that level of competitiveness unless of course, it’s an ICC event. To make sure the players get to play some action early in the year the Associate nations with T20 International (T20I) status will play each other in the Desert T20 tournament in January 2017.

The participating teams in the tournament are – Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland, UAE, Netherlands, Oman, Hong Kong and Namibia. The matches will be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from January 8 to 21. Namibia though doesn’t have a T20I status were included as replacement for Papua New Guinea after they rejected the request to participate in the tournament.

Charlie Burke, the Director of Hong Kong Cricket and selector was quoted by CricWizz as saying, “This concept has been spoken about for over year as a tournament for Associates to get together each year. The Emirates Cricket Board have put up their hand to host it and the plan is to have the format as whatever is suitable for that particular year. With the World T20 every four years it’s an opportunity to all the Associates to play each other and climb the global rankings,”

Grant Bradburn, the Scotland coach said, “The Desert T20 will be a fantastic event to kick off, what is an exciting and important year for us as a team. All the top Associate teams are improving rapidly and we look forward to some epic battles during this tournament, which we would love to become a regular feature on our playing calendar.”

Ireland Head Coach John Bracewell said, “It’s fantastic to have the three guys back in the squad after missing so much of 2016. Boyd’s height and pace give an extra dimension to our attack and it’ll be great for him to pass on his wealth of experience to Barry McCarthy, Craig Young and young Josh Little in particular, who just turned 17 last month.

“Andrew Balbirnie and Stuart Thompson have both been working hard in Australia turning in some excellent performances. Andrew showed his quality during the 2015 World Cup with half centuries against South Africa and Zimbabwe so it’ll be great to have him back at his best. Stuart has undoubted quality and we hope he’ll come back refreshed after his break from the international game.”

The fixtures and dates for the competition will be announced by hosts Emirates Cricket Board in due course.

Ireland squad for the Desert T20:

William Porterfield (captain) (Warwickshire), Andrew Balbirnie (Pembroke/Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster/Leinster Lightning), Josh Little (Pembroke/Leinster Lightning), Jacob Mulder (CIYMS/Northern Knights), Andrew McBrine (Donemana/NW Warriors), Barry McCarthy (Durham/Leinster Lightning), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union/Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Greg Thompson (Waringstown, Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton/NW Warriors), Gary Wilson (Derbyshire), Craig Young (Bready/NW Warriors).