There is only one new face in the Italian team that at the beginning of December will be travelling to Oman to play in the 1st leg of the Challenge League Group B.

A Cape Town Neapolitan who plays for Northern Knights in the Irish Inter-Provincial Championship, Nikolai Leonard Smith qualifies for la Nazionale through being an Italian citizen thanks to his mother Liliana De Vivo who originates from Ottaviano, a town at the foot of the legendary volcano that encompasses Vesuvius' crater in its territory.

In actual fact it was Nonno Nicola who, like many other countrymen, moved from sunny Campania to Durban after the end of World War 2. Liliana, Nikolajís mother, was born there. Later she settled in Cape Town with her husband Andrew.

Nikolai, no Russian connection despite his name, was born there on January 5th, 1993. He started playing cricket with Claremont before moving to Instonians.

A right handed opener with both bat and ball, injuries have limited his bowling over the last few years.

Following the path of many Cape Town boys, Nikolai went to Ireland in 2013 as an EU player.

He has been an excellent player with the Shaws Bridge club, and has shown glimpses of his potential with the Northern Knights too.

He was hoping to qualify for the recently elevated Full Member but ending up being selected for the Azzurri.

ITALY SQUAD

  • Bentota Baduge Joy Lenin PERERA (Capitano) (Milan Kingsgrove CC) 
  • Rehman ABDUL (Janjua Brescia CC)
  • Gareth Kyle BERG (Northamptonshire CCC)
  • Zahid CHEEMA (Janjua Brescia CC)
  • Luis DI GIGLIO (Pianoro CC)
  • Muthunama Gonnage Madupa FERNANDO (Bogliasco CC)
  • Rakibul HASAN (Pianoro CC)
  • Fida HUSSAIN (Trentino CC)
  • Nikolai Leonard SMITH (Northern Knights /Instonians)
  • Nicholas Antony MAIOLO (Scarborough CC)
  • Gian-Piero Sergio MEADE (Billingham Synthonia CC)
  • Michael James ROSS (East Coast Bays CC)
  • Jaspreet SINGH (Bergamo CC)
  • Manpreet SINGH (Pianoro CC)