Kepler Wessels with (left to right) Irving Romaine (Bermuda), William Porterfield (Ireland), Daan van Bunge (Netherlands)The head coach at the ICC Winter Training Camp in Pretoria says he is impressed with the level of commitment being shown by some of the Associate nations' top players as they prepare for the ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007.

Leicestershire and former England under-19 coach Tim Boon says that the players have been making the most of having unlimited access to some hugely experienced and respected coaches and former players. It is the third week of the seven-week camp, which is taking place at the high performance centre (hpc) in Pretoria, and the 24 players from the six Associates at next year's ICC Cricket World Cup, are well into the swing of things.

'The first week was an assessment week and the players were lucky to have Rod Marsh looking at them,' said Boon. 'The second week the players worked on their technical skills and now we are doing a lot of work on the players' basics and making sure they know what to do in specific situations during matches,' he said.

'I have been really impressed with the level of commitment being shown. They all have a huge willingness to learn - the attitudes have been exemplary. The big objective from this camp is to raise self-awareness within the players and give them a mental edge that comes with knowing your own game. We want to give them ideas and drills that they can take home with them and pass on to their team-mates in their own countries.'

This week, the players - four each from Bermuda, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Kenya and Canada - are spending some time examining the performances of the teams at the ICC Champions Trophy in India as these are the teams that they will have to face when the ICC Cricket World Cup rolls around in March. They are tapping into the expertise of the likes of Boon, Marsh, Gary Kirsten, Kepler Wessels and other top former players who can talk them through simulated scenarios and show them how they should react in certain circumstances.

The ICC has taken a holistic approach to this camp, making sure the players find out about physio, massage, psychology, diet and other complementary elements as well as improving their technique and fitness. The players will have a chance to test themselves in late October with two games against Gauteng province at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. With the Bermudian and Kenyan players then leaving for their series against each other in Nairobi, the balance of the squad will then spend have a further week of training in preparation for a challenging match schedule in the final two weeks of the camp. This takes in four games against Northerns at the hpc, and two against North West Province at Potchefstroom (including a day-night fixture).

Richard Done, ICC's High Performance Manager, is also very pleased with how the camp is going. 'It has been really useful so far and we are already noticing improvements in how the players are able to adapt to different match scenarios,' said Done. 'The players are working really hard. They are focused on what they are trying to achieve and they all seem keen to make the most of this opportunity,' he said.

The coaches have spent a significant amount of time putting the players into specific situations that they are likely to face in matches and then working with them to best to manage and play their way through those situations.

ICC Winter Training Camp Players:
  • Kwame Tucker
  • Irving Romaine
  • Kevin Hurdle
  • Stefan Kelly (all Bermuda)
  • Sunil Dhaniram
  • Kevin Talvinder Sandher
  • Abdool Mudassar Samad
  • Ashish Bagai (all Canada)
  • Kevin O'Brien
  • Kenny Carroll
  • William Porterfield
  • John Mooney (all Ireland)
  • Amollo Morris Ouma
  • Tanmay Mishra
  • Hiren Varaiya
  • Nehemiah Odhiambo (all Kenya)
  • Daan LS van Bunge
  • Mark Jonkman
  • Alexei Kervezee
  • Muhammad Kashif (all Netherlands)
  • Omer Hussain
  • Ross Lyons
  • Dewald Nel
  • John Blain (all Scotland)