(PRESS RELEASE) – The International Cricket Council today announced the match officials for next month’s ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier and also confirmed eight of the 10 squads to take part in the tournament, which will be played across four Zimbabwe venues from 4 to 25 March.
Dev Govindjee, Graeme La Brooy, David Jukes and Shaid Wadvalla from the International Panel will be the referees, while the umpiring responsibilities will be shared between Ahsan Raza, Gregory Brathwaite, Christopher Brown, Simon Fry, Shaun George, Michael Gough, Adrian Holdstock, Langton Rusere, Chettithody Shamshuddin, Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, Joel Wilson and Paul Wilson, all from the International Panel.
The ICC have also announced umpire and match referee appointments for the first round matches which will be played from 4 to 12 March. Below are the opening day’s appointments, while all appointments for other matches can be found in the Resources section of the Online Media Zone.
o Old Hararians – Ireland v Netherlands; Michael Gough and Ahsan Raza (on-field umpires), Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid (reserve umpire), Dev Govindjee (match referee)
o Harare Sports Club – PNG v winner of ICC World Cricket League Division 2; Simon Fry and Shaun George (on-field umpires), Langton Rusere (reserve umpire), Graeme La Brooy (match referee)
o Queens Sports Club – Zimbabwe v runners-up of ICC World Cricket League Division 2; Chettihody Shamshuddin and Gregory Brathwaite (on-field umpires), Chris Brown (reserve umpire), David Jukes (match referee)
o Bulawayo Athletic Club – Afghanistan v Scotland; Joel Wilson and Paul Wilson (on-field umpires), Adrian Holdstock (reserve umpire); Shahit Wadvalla (match referee)
Meanwhile, the ICC have also confirmed eight of the 10 squads, which will feature in the three-week tournament. Two more sides will be confirmed following the ICC World Cricket League Division 2, which culminates in Namibia on 15 February.
The eight confirmed sides have relied heavily on their experience and star cricketers in their quest to qualify for the 25 March final, which, in turn, will also earn them tickets for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 to be held from 30 May to 15 July in England and Wales
Two-time world champions Windies will undoubtedly be the star attraction in the 34-match tournament. The 1975 and 1979 champions have named in their squad Chris Gayle, a veteran of four World Cups, along with Marlon Samuels, who also featured in the 2007, 2011 and 2015 events. Nikita Miller and Kemar Roach played in the previous two Cricket World Cups.
Jason Holder has been named as captain of the side, which also includes ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year 2011, Devendra Bishoo. The Windies have a total experience of 831 ODIs between them with Gayle and Samuels alone having played 275 and 192 ODIs, respectively.
Afghanistan have retained eight players from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, namely: Asghar Stanikzai, Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Javed Ahmadi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari and Shahpoor Zadran.
In addition to these experienced professionals, the Asian side also named in their squad wrist spinner Rashid Khan, who has made headlines all over the world in the very early days of his career, as well as 17-year-old off-spinner Mujeeb Zadran. Mujeeb took 12 wickets in five matches as Afghanistan finished fourth in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup which culminated in New Zealand early this month.
Afghanistan, who until 2008 were playing in the ICC World Cricket League Division 5, had a collective experience of 571 ODIs in their ranks before the start of their series against Zimbabwe.
Hong Kong have named four 20-year-olds – Tanveer Ahmed, Chris Carter, Anshuman Rath and Shahid Wasif – in the squad which will be captained by Babar Hayat. Hayat was his side’s second most successful batsman in the 50-over ICC World Cricket League Championship after Rath with 543 runs. With 721 runs in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup, Hayat was easily the highest run-getter for his side.
Hong Kong have also named 30-year-old left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed, who was the third most successful bowler in the four-day first-class ICC Intercontinental Cup with 28 wickets. He also took 24 wickets in 11 ICC World Cricket League Championship fixtures.
Hong Kong, along with Papua New Guinea (PNG), will be the least experienced side in the tournament with a total of 131 ODI caps.
Ireland have retained 10 players from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign. These are: William Porterfield, Ed Joyce, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Andrew Balbirnie, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson and Andrew McBrine.
Porterfield, Joyce and the O’Brien brothers were also members of the Ireland side which reached the Super Eight stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.
With an overall 851 ODI caps, Ireland clearly have more experience in their ranks as compared to the Windies, who have a total of 831ODI caps.
The Netherlands will be captained by Peter Borren, who played in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup for New Zealand in 2002. The 34-year-old has represented the Netherlands in 58 ODIs and 43 T20Is since 2006. Borren inspired his side to victory in the ICC World Cricket League Championship when he scored 322 runs at an average of just over 40. He also took four wickets.
However, the biggest news from the Dutch camp is their star all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate, who won three ICC Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year awards from 2008 to 2011, being named in the squad. Ten Doeschate played in two 50-over ICC World Cricket League Championship matches last year, but in his last ODI innings for the Netherlands, which was in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, the 38-year-old scored 106 against Ireland in Kolkata.
Borren and ten Doeschate played in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, while Wesley Barresi and Pieter Seelaar were also part of the Dutch side which last featured in a World Cup seven years ago.
The Netherlands have a combined experience of 191 ODIs in their side.
Papua New Guinea, who along with the Netherlands have featured in all the qualifying events since 1979, will rely on 25-year-old left-hander Sese Bau who scored 446 runs at an average of just over 37 in the 50-over ICC World Cricket League Championship. He was followed by Assadollah Vala (399 runs) and Vani Morea (339 runs).
Norman Vanua with 23 wickets at an average of just over 21 was his side’s best bowler in the ICC World Cricket League Championship, where PNG finished third behind the Netherlands and Scotland.
For their title defence, Scotland have retained Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross, Ali Evans, Michael Leask and Calum MacLeod from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 side.
Coetzer was his side’s best batsman in the 50-over ICC World Cricket League Championship when he scored 574 runs at an average of just over 52, while MacLeod with 440 runs at 55 was the second most impressive batsman. Amongst the bowlers, Evans with 24 wickets finished as his side’s leading wicket-taker, followed by Safyaan Sharif (19 wickets) and Tom Sole (12 wickets).
Scotland have a total experience of 333 ODIs – more than Hong Kong (131), the Netherlands (191) and PNG (127).
Hosts Zimbabwe will rely heavily on Brendan Taylor, who produced centuries in his last two innings at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 – 121 v Ireland and 138 v India. Taylor and Kyle Jarvis had returned to national duty in October 2017 after having given up international cricket to pursue careers in English county cricket.
Taylor and Craig Ervine have played in three and two ICC Cricket World Cups, respectively, while Tendai Chatara, Graeme Cremer, Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire and Sikandar Raza were also part of the Zimbabwe squad for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The side also includes left-arm fast bowler Brian Vitori who took five wickets in each of his first two ODIs back in 2011 to set a record at the time.
Zimbabwe had a combined experience of 842 ODIs prior to the start of their series against Afghanistan. By the time the series ends on 19 January in Sharjah, Zimbabwe will become the most experienced side in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 with nearly 900 ODI caps.
MATCH REFEREES: Dev Govindjee, Graeme La Brooy, David Jukes and Shaid Wadvalla
UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza, Gregory Brathwaite, Chris Brown, Simon Fry, Shaun George, Michael Gough, Nitin Menon, Langton Rusere, Chettihody Shamshuddin, Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, Joel Wilson and Paul Wilson.
UMPIRE COACHES: Denis Burns and Karl Hurter
AFGHANISTAN (total ODI caps – 571, before the start of series v Zimbabwe): Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Ihsanullah Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Nasir Jamal, Javed Ahmadi, Mujeeb Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shinwari, Shahpoor Zadran and Sharafuddin Ashraf. Phil Simmons (coach)
HONG KONG (total ODI caps – 131): Babar Hayat (captain), Ahsan Abbasi, Nadeem Ahmed, Tanveer Ahmed, Tanwir Afzal, Waqas Barkat, Chris Carter, Aizaz Khan, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Nizakat Khan, Scott McKechnie, Anshuman Rath, Simandeep Singh and Shahid Wasif. Simon Cook (coach)
IRELAND (total ODI caps – 851): William Porterfield (captain), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson
THE NETHERLANDS (total ODI caps – 191): Peter Borren (captain), Wesley Barresi, Ben Cooper, Scott Edwards, Vivian Kingma, Frederick Klaassen, Stephan Myburgh, Maxwell O’Dowd, Pieter Seelaar, Shane Snater, Ryan ten Doeschate, Timm van der Gugten, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren and Sikander Zulfiqar. Ryan Campbell (coach)
PAPUA NEW GUINEA (total ODI caps – 127): Assadollah Vala (captain), Charles Amini, Sese Bau, Mahuru Dai, Kiplin Doriga, Jason Kila, Vani Morea, Alei Nao, Damien Ravu, John Reva, Lega Siaka, Chad Soper, Tony Ura, Norman Vanua and Jack Vare. Joe Dawes (coach)
SCOTLAND (total ODI caps – 333): Kyle Coetzer (captain), Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross, Ali Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Tom Sole, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal and Stuart Whittingham. Grant Bradburn (coach)
THE WINDIES (total ODI caps – 831): Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels and Kesrick Williams. Stuart Law (coach)
ZIMBABWE (total ODI caps – 842, before the start of series v Afghanistan): Graeme Cremer (captain), Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Peter Moor, Tarisai Musakanda, Blessing Muzarabani, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller. Heath Streak (coach)
Teams can make changes to their squads without needing an ICC approval until 25 February. All player replacement requests from 25 February onwards will require the approval of the Event Technical Committee.