Northerns batsman sweeps the ball to the boundaryICC Winter Training Camp (WTC) head coach Tim Boon is hopeful that one of the Associate countries playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will spring a surprise and beat a Test nation in the group stages of the competition.

Speaking from Pretoria, where the ICC WTC has been going on for the past seven weeks, Boon says the players who have attended are now much better equipped to deal with the pressures of playing one-day cricket against the best sides in the world after spending time at the high performance centre in the South African capital.

'This is a great starting point for these players as they build towards the World Cup,' said Leicestershire and former England under-19s coach Boon. 'I am confident they now have the tools to go away from here with the information they require to be more competitive at that level. Hopefully we will see one or two surprises in the West Indies and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we do,' he said.

And it's not just the coach who thinks that. In all there are 24 players from the six Associates who will join the ten Test nations in the Caribbean. Kevin Sandher is one of them. A left-arm slow bowler from Canada he is someone who has benefited hugely from the last seven weeks of intensive training and analysis.

'For me, this camp has been about a realisation of what it takes to be a top-class cricketer,' said Sandher.

'Apart from on-field stuff, we have learned more about our fitness, diet and sleep patterns in a very professional environment,' he said, adding he was looking forward to playing against the likes of England and New Zealand in St Lucia next March.

'You have to believe you can win. In the Canadian team we have some very good players. If we all fire on the day and put the opposition under pressure, then you never know. Pressure does funny things to people, even players from England and New Zealand. There is nowhere to hide in one-day cricket at the top level,' said Sandher.

'One-day cricket is very intense. When (former Australian Test player) Rod Marsh was here earlier in the camp he told us that a one-day innings was basically 300 plays - you have to focus on each ball the same if you are a batsman, bowler or fielder.'

On Wednesday the ICC WTC team continued its winning ways with a hard-fought victory over a Northerns XI at LC de Villiers Oval in Pretoria. In a good all-round bowling performance by the ICC WTC, it restricted Northerns to 197 all out in 50 overs. Scotsman Ross Lyons, who took 3-36 off 10 overs, Ireland's John Mooney (2-23) and Abdool Samad (2-26) were the pick of the attack.

In reply, the ICC WTC passed the total with just three wickets and four balls to spare. Wicketkeeper-batsman Ashish Bagai made all the difference. With his side struggling somewhat at one stage on 136-6, Bagai teamed up with Mooney for a 50-run partnership near the end to make sure the ICC WTC got to its fourth victory from five matches (a further two were rained off).

'I have been impressed with how the team has adapted in particular circumstances,' said Boon. 'In yesterday's game, they got themselves into a bit of trouble but managed to do the right things and took all the right options to adapt and win the game.'

The ICC WTC's final match, out of eight, is on Thursday against the same team in the same venue and the Associate players will be very keen to finish the camp on a high.

ICC WTC v Northerns
15 November 2006
LC de Villiers Oval, Pretoria
ICC WTC won by 3 wickets

Toss: Northerns

M Aronstam                 b Mooney 29
N Chouhan          c Blain b Mooney 12
A Viljoen             c and b Samad  4
N van Woerkom       c Bagai b Samad 12
P Joubert                  b Kashif 20
J Mokonyama   c Porterfield b Lyons 46
R van der Merwe    c Mooney b Lyons 23
A Phangiso      c van Bunge b Lyons  2
M Mashimbiya                run out 12
N Wagner                    not out 14
R Magardie                  run out  6
  Extras            (3lb, 4nb, 7w)  14
  TOTAL      (all out, 48.2 overs) 193

FOW:  37,  48 , 67,  77,  95, 
     153, 155, 167, 176, 193

Blain      8.2   1   34   0
Mooney       6   1   23   2
O'Brien      8   2   33   0
Samad        6   1   26   2
Kashif      10   1   38   1
Lyons       10   0   36   3
W Porterfield c Chouhan b Mashibiya 29
A Samad                  lbw Wagner  3
K Carroll        c Wagner b Joubert 23
A Bagai                     run out 74
D van Bunge  c Magardie b v d Merwe 14
A Kervezee    c Chouhan b v d Merwe  3
K O'Brien      c Wagner b Ardonstam  4
J Mooney                    not out 28
J Blain                     not out  1
R Lyons
M Kashif
  Extras        (1b, 8lb, 4nb, 4w)  17
  TOTAL             (7 wkts, 49.2) 196

FOW:  12,  62, 66, 104, 117, 
     136, 186

Wagner         6   2   19   1
Magardie       6   0   21   0
Joubert        9   0   29   1
Mashimbiya   7.2   1   35   1
Phangiso       7   0   31   0
van der Merwe 10   1   30   2
Aronstam       4   0   22   1