ICC Media Release
The line-up for Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 (WCL Div. 3) is now complete with USA and Italy qualifying last week in Bologna from WCL Div. 4 to join Papua New Guinea (PNG), Denmark, Oman and host Hong Kong in the tournament scheduled for 22 to 29 January 2011.
Hong Kong and PNG have already begun preparations for the tournament with the pair taking part in a quadrangular series with Singapore and Malaysia to be hosted in Port Moresby, PNG from 1 to 5 September. The event is made up of both one-day and Twenty20 games over the course of the week.
Hong Kong coach Charlie Burke feels the quadrangular series will help the team prepare ahead of the Division 3 event in January.
“I think the event in PNG will be a great opportunity for our younger guys. A couple of the young up and coming players have been rewarded with selection and it is a good opportunity for me to see the guys in action as coach of Hong Kong.
“It will be interesting to see the attitude and preparation of the guys and it gives us a chance to see some of the fringe players who will be vying for a spot in the Asian Games team and World Cricket League Division 3,” said Burke.
With ICC WCL Div. 3 not for another four months, Burke is not getting ahead of himself with plans and hopes for the event. “We are still a relatively long way away from Division 3 and we have a lot of work to do in the mean time.
“I am trying to change the style of our play in the mean time. I have been lucky enough to see us play before so I have a bit of an idea but I have my own theories and thoughts on how to play one-day cricket.
“We have a lot of work to do ahead of Division 3 but we have a few guys in the UK playing club cricket and won't be able to come on this tour, which has made me look at some of the fringe players,” commented the 30-year-old who took up the Head Coach role at Hong Kong in March this year.
The standard of cricket is something Burke is equally excited about ahead of the WCL Div. 3 tournament, and the Australian even threw down the gauntlet to recent qualifiers USA to prove its worthiness of being in the division.
“I think the standard of the World Cricket League has developed so much in the last couple of years.
“It is actually really good cricket and I think that the more and more people who understand how good the cricket is then I think people will notice it a lot more.
“I think the USA is probably a side that certainly deserves to be in Division 3 and some people think they should be even higher. It will be really interesting to see how they go”
Meanwhile, Andy Bichel, the National Coaching Director for PNG is equally excited about the upcoming quadrangular series and sees the tournament as perfect preparation for his and the team's ultimate goal which is promotion from WCL Div. 3.
“This tournament has great significance for every team. It is an important lead up event to PNG's World Cricket League Division 3 in January.
“World Cricket League 3 has been the focus of our preparation since I took over the role in August 2009 and tournaments such as this are a key part of that preparation. We need to play against good quality opposition on turf wickets so I'm thrilled that this series has been organised,” commented the former Australia Test player turned coach.
“I'm expecting our boys to be ready for the fierce competition ahead and believe that we can continue our momentum towards Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3”.