Young squad selection suggests cricket team building for future

National cricket side in good nick ahead of Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers, says assistant coach

The Danish national twenty20 cricket side are today leaving for Dubai to take part in the 16-team 2012 ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers with hope in their hearts, but also an underlying sense of realism that this invaluable experience will be a stepping stone as they try to make an impression in the sport’s newest and most exciting form. 


Because while the chances of a lesser cricketing nation beating a major test power in a 50-over game are remote, when the game is reduced to 20 overs, the chances of an upset increase dramatically. It is a version of the game in which an outstanding individual performance, for example by a batsman who rides his luck to score quick runs, can be the telling contribution. 


Nevertheless, at present Denmark are a long way short of rivaling the test nations, and enter the WC qualifiers as one of the rank outsiders, particularly as only two of the 16 participating teams will qualify for this year’s T20 World Cup. Group opponents Canada, the Netherlands, and Afghanistan might not sound like cricketing superpowers, but they all play in the World Cricket League Division 1. Denmark, in contrast, play in Division 4. 

Among the other opponents in the eight-team group, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong both play in Division 2, Bermuda in Division 3, and Nepal in Division 4. 


Still, Denmark are a side in the ascendancy. They are the current European Division 1 champions after seeing off Guernsey in the semi-finals and then Italy in the final of the ICC European Division 1 last July, qualifying for the Dubai WC qualifiers in the process. 


In preparation for the qualifiers – which begin on Tuesday and continue with daily fixtures (bar Saturday) until the following Tuesday – the squad has been training indoors, at Herning in the west and at Schneekloth in Copenhagen, for the last five months. Training for the players has involved various cricket training drills, and fitness work. 


“They are fully fit and ready to face the challenges ahead with confidence and high hopes,” said Graham Kinchington, the side’s assistant, who is himself English. “All the players have trained hard, and have improved their fitness levels and cricket skills.”


Denmark will take a squad of 14 players (see below). Encouraging for the future, it is a young squad, with an average age of just 23. Indeed, three of the players – Hamid Shah, Kamran Mahmood and Basit Javed – were part of the Danish under-19 team that won the European Division 2 title last season. There is also a family aspect to the team, with two sets of brothers: Glostrup's Aftab and Shehzad Ahmed, and Rizwan and Kamran Mahmood from Skanderborg.


Among the players to look out for are Freddie Klokker, the wicket-keeper and opening batsman, who has just returned from Bangladesh, where he plays in the T20 Premier League for Sylhet Royals. Klokker finished runner-up in the 2011 European Division 1 MVP ratings, and Denmark will once again be looking to him, and opening partner Shehzad Ahmed, to get the innings off to a good start.


And the team’s four spinners: captain Michael Pedersen and Hamid Shah, who both bat in the top order and bowl off-spin, while Bobby Chawla bowls leg-spin and Bashir Shah bowls left-arm spin. Sair Anjum and Aftab Ahmed, meanwhile, are the fast bowlers who will be looking to add to their haul of wickets again.


Player Club
Michael Pedersen (Captain)  Herning 
Frederik klokker (Wicket-keeper) Excelsior
Bobby Chawla Svanholm

Bashir Shah


Aftab Ahmed


Shehzad Ahmed


Rizwan Mahmood


Kamran Mahmood 


Jacob Larsen


Martin Pedersen 


Sair Anjum 


Basit Javed


Hamid Shah

Jimmy Moniz Svanholm