Tanzania cricket team eye friendlies

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Kazim Nasser

Senior national cricket team is expected to play a series of friendly matches with professional players, who will participate in this year’s Advanced Players League (APL) scheduled to start in Dar es Salaam later this week.

Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA) Event and Tournament Manager, Kazim Nasser, said the friendlies aim at putting the senior national team in great shape ahead of international assignments that will take place later this year.

Nine professional players are Indians, Subramanian Doraiswamy, Shriniwas Rangachary and Pravin Tambe, Kenyans, Steve Tikolo, Thomas Odoyo and Jimmy Kamande, and South Africans, Nicholas Govender, Kyle Marshall and Jean Pierre Kok. This year’s APL has been scheduled to take place from March 9 to 11 and the senior national team, which is among the participating teams in the event, will then face the professionals on March 13, 14 and 15.

“After the main event (APL), the professionals will form a combine team and play the senior national team in a series of build up games”, said Nasser. Four outfits, BMTL Super Kings, Castle Lager Rockets, Tata Super Ace and Uhuruone Rangers, will battle it out in the fourth edition of the APL at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club (DGC) venue throughout the three days.

The four franchises have secured sponsorship from four firms namely Castle Lager, Business Machines Tanzania Limited (BMTL), Tata Motors and Uhuruone internet service providers. Nasser said Castle Lager Rockets will mainly comprise senior national team players, while BMTL Super Kings will have 10 players selected from domestic clubs and the three Indian professionals, Doraiswamy, Rangachary and Tambe, who are from D.Y. Patil Sports Academy that participates in Division A of the Mumbai Cricket Association’s League.

He noted that a cricket player from Arusha, Mohamedraza Lalji, who turns out for Kilimeru SC in the region’s competitions, will feature for BMTL Super Kings in the APL. “Tata Super Ace will have 10 players selected from the domestic clubs and the three South African professionals, Govender, Marshall and Kok, who are from the South Africa High Performance Academy”, he added.

Uhuruone Rangers will have players from Morogoro outfit of Moro Stars with the three Kenyan internationals, Tikolo, Odoyo and Kamande. Kamande will be playing for the second time in the APL after turning out for a franchise namely Simba during the 2010’s APL held at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) venue while the other two, Tikolo and Odoyo, will make their maiden appearance.

Tikolo and Odoyo are among the most successful Kenyan senior cricketers, having represented their country in the Cricket World Cup, thus, their presence in the APL is bound to be beneficial to Tanzanian players. Nasser said the full lists of players forming all four participating teams in the APL, which is co-sponsored by Pepsi, will be released on Wednesday.

Senior national team players, who formed a franchise namely Twiga Warriors, won the last year’s APL with victory over Dar Devils at the Annadil Burhani venue and the former will be under huge pressure to live up to the domestic cricket fraternity’s expectations this time, based on tough opposition the senior national cricketers will likely face.

By JAPHETH KAZENGA, Tanzania Daily News

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