Team-by-team guide and verdict for ICC World Cricket League Division Two

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The UAE will be one of six teams aiming to continue their road of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup when they compete in the ICC World Cricket League Division Two from Thursday.

Only the top two nations will advance to the Qualifiers where the likes of West Indies and Ireland await next month in Zimbabwe.

Here we look at all six sides and our verdict of where they will finish.

UAE

Rohan Mustafa

Rohan Mustafa

Captain: Rohan Mustafa
ODI Ranking: 13
How they qualified: Relegated from World Cricket League Championship (fifth).
Verdict: First. On paper, one of the strongest sides in the competition. Rediscovering their best form and should deliver.

Kenya

Rakep Patel

Rakep Patel

Captain: Rakep Patel
ODI Ranking: N/A
How they qualified: Relegated from World Cricket League Championship (fifth)
Verdict: Second. Unlucky to miss out on reaching the Qualifiers but did beat champions Netherlands and Hong Kong

Namibia

Sarel Berger

Sarel Berger

Captain: Sarel Berger
ODI Ranking: N/A
How they qualified: Relegated from World Cricket League Championship (last)
Verdict: Third. Might have finished bottom of the WCLC but with home conditions could spring a surprise.

Nepal

Paras Khadka

Paras Khadka

Captain: Paras Khadka
ODI Ranking: N/A
How they qualified: Relegated from World Cricket League Championship (Seventh)
Verdict: Fourth. Lost to both UAE and Kenya in December and will need series of team efforts to continue their road.

Oman

Sultan Ahmed

Sultan Ahmed

Captain: Sultan Ahmed
ODI Ranking: N/A
How they qualified: Promoted from Division Three (joint first)
Verdict: Fifth. Won all their Division Three matches and while it will be a stern task it could be a bridge too far for the Gulf nation.

Canada

Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar

Captain: Nitish Kumar
ODI Ranking: N/A
How they qualified: Promoted from Division Three (joint first)
Verdict: Sixth. Can draw on the experience of Nikhil Dutta and Hamza Tariq, who have played in Caribbean Premier League but tough week lies in store.

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It's Just Cricket youngsters enjoy a training session with Zimbabwe in Dubai

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A group of budding cricketers picked the brains of Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine and head coach Heath Streak during a special training session in Dubai.

Ervine and Streak as well as Lance Klusener and Sean Bell, members of the national team’s coaching staff took time out from their busy schedule to share their tips to more than 15 youngsters of It’s Just Cricket Academy in a two-hour masterclass at Dubai College.

The visit was arranged by Sam Charnley, international director of cricket at IJC and their head of development Bradley Staddon, who assisted Zimbabwe’s training sessions ahead of their series against Afghanistan in the UAE.

For Charnley, he said it was a great experience for the young cricketers and has no doubt that their time with Zimbabwe will help them with their development.

“It was a fantastic experience being involved in Zimbabwe’s training session and the fact they wanted to come down to the session to see local talent and get involved was amazing,” he said.

“Our players got an opportunity to get inside of the minds of the coaching staff and players of Zimbabwe national team and asked as many questions as they wanted. The opportunity they had on Wednesday was another great bit of exposure to the highest level that we provide. Previously, we have had visits from Muddassar Nazar, John Gloster and Apurva Desai (Dinesh Karthik’s batting coach).”

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Rohan Mustafa and four other players to watch at the ICC World Cricket League Division Two

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The UAE, Nepal, Canada, Oman, Kenya and hosts Namibia all begin their World Cricket League Division Two campaigns on Thursday with the top two reaching next month’s 2019 World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

Here we look at five players to look out for:

NEPAL

Sandeep Lamichhane

Age: 17

Position: Leg-spinner

Mosman v Western Suburbs

Stole the headlines last month when he became the first Nepalese cricketer to be snapped up in the IPL when bought by Delhi Daredevils for $31,000. It will be interesting to see how he fares against the Associate sides but comes into the tournament on the back of a solid spell, taking nine wickets in seven matches in Nepal’s T20 competition – the Everest Premier League. With 12 wickets in WCL Division to his name, expect him to add to that tally.

OMAN

Zeeshan Maqsood

Age: 30

Position: All-rounder

One of the most experienced players in the Omani squad. The 30-year-old impressed for his national team at the Desert T20 last year, scoring 99 runs and taking two wickets. Runs have been hard to come by but his 71-run effort in Afghanistan’s Shpageeza Cricket League showcases his immense qualities.

NAMIBIA

Gerhard Erasmus

Age: 22

Position: Batsman

Desert T20 Challenge

Only finished four runs behind Sarel Berger in the run charts of Division One with 304 runs, but at such a young age has plenty of promise. UAE will be fully aware of the damage he can do with the bat with his match-winning 77 last September, while adding consecutive half-centuries against Netherlands in Dubai.

CANADA 

Nitish Kumar

Age: 23

Position: Batsman/right-arm offbreaker

Canada's sixteen year-old batsman Nitish

Since making his debut in 2009 as a 14-year-old, the only way has been up for the Toronto native. After leading the U-15 and U-19 squads, he has now been handed the armband of his national team. Playing for MCC University in England last year, he showed his batting abilities with two fifties in four matches. Was disappointing against USA in September with just 37 but will be eager to deliver from the front.

UAE

Rohan Mustafa

Age: 29

Position: All-rounder

UAE vs Namibia 24

Rose the occasion since being appointed captain one year ago. It isn’t just with the bat he can do the damage as evidenced by his match-winning 109-runs against Papua New Guinea in the third ODI but also with the ball with 15 wickets in his last nine ODI matches. Said it would be ‘special’ to qualify for the tournament and will be aiming to lead from the front to ensure that happens.

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