Twenty20 cricket team regrouping after wooden spoon performance in Dubai

Young squad bodes well for the national team’s prospects in the short code, says assistant coach

Denmark came last out of 16 teams at the recent ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Dubai, but assistant coach Graham Kinchington remains positive, bolstered by the youth in the side’s squad.

The Copenhagen Post caught up with Kinchington to mull over lessons learnt and discuss the future of Danish cricket.

You went into the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers with low expectations, but did you expect to finish with the wooden spoon?

Obviously it was disappointing to finish where we did at the tournament, but you must remember we were playing against the best countries in the world, outside the top ten Test-playing nations.

The team showed promise against Bermuda in your first match – how would you rate Denmark’s performance in Dubai as a whole?

It was fantastic to start the tournament with a win against such a high-ranked country. Playing against high quality opposition will only improve the standard of our players. One fantastic achievement for Denmark was when Aftab Ahmed (Glostrup) produced the seventh best T20 international bowling figures ever, taking 6-22 against Papua New Guinea.

Your batting improved over the course of the tournament. What else does the team need to improve on?

Our bowling was inconsistent. The bowlers would bowl four good balls in an over, but then might get hit for boundaries off the last two balls. Hopefully in the future, the bowlers will be prepared for batsmen to go hard off the last two balls and bowl differently to stop this. When we won the European Division 1 Championship in Jersey our fielding was outstanding, but we didn’t repeat that standard in Dubai. This was due in some part to the faster outfields in Dubai. Improving the quality of outfields in Denmark (shorter grass) would help the Danish players when they compete at an international level.

How does the Twenty20 format even out the playing field between lesser cricketing nations like Denmark and top sides like England?

When people ask me about the T20 format, I always say if a football team from Fano played Brazil in a match, in which each half lasted 10 minutes, Fano would have a better chance of beating Brazil. So T20 offers Denmark the best chance of being successful and beating one of the Test nations like England, Australia, Pakistan, India etc.

Your squad has a young average age of 23 – how do you see the side faring as they mature?

It’s great news for the future of Danish cricket that such a young squad has gained so much experience from playing in this tournament. Seeing how some of the best players in the world prepare, and then playing against them, I feel, can only help improve our young players. Also the experience has made all the players hungry to play in the next ICC T20 World Cup qualifying tournament in 2014.

Which young guns should we keep an eye on and why?

Basit Raja Javed (Svanholm) had the best economy rate of our bowlers in the tournament, and at 18 years of age he will mature into a top quality all-rounder for Denmark and play in many more international tournaments. And Hamid Shah (Svanholm), who sadly picked up a bad facial injury in our warm-up match against USA and didn’t participate in the tournament. Hamid was sadly missed by the team as he is an excellent batsman and spin bowler.

What is the team’s focus at the moment?

Denmark’s main focus at the moment is getting promotion from the World Cricket League (WCL) Division 4 in September 2012. I feel it’s very important for Denmark to play in the highest division within the WCL structure. This will increase funding for Danish cricket and that will help.

You are from England where cricket rates highly as a sport. Are many of your players first or second-generation immigrants from countries where the sport is similarly popular, like Sri Lanka, India etc?

Eight or nine of the 14-man squad in Dubai were first or second generation immigrants from Asia. There is a four-year residency rule before you can play cricket for Denmark. In Dubai, Jimmy Moniz was the only player to play under this rule and Jimmy’s lived in Denmark for the past eight years.

How can keen cricketers get involved in playing the sport here in Denmark?

Any cricketers out there who would like to get involved in playing club cricket in Denmark can visit www.cricket.dk. Here they will find the contact details for all the Danish clubs. Also, if there are any companies or individuals interested in sponsoring the national team or any of the players or coaches, they can find all the required contact details at the above website.
 





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