Four qualifiers for the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 have arrived in the UAE to hone their skills in a camp organised by the ICC High Performance Programme (HPP) before they travel to Bangladesh for the ICC World Twenty20, which starts on 16 March.
The UAE were joined today by Ireland, Netherlands and Nepal for the first day of the camp at the ICC Academy. The fourth affiliate nation preparing in the UAE are Hong Kong who are in Sharjah.
The sixth qualifier, Afghanistan, is currently in Bangladesh competing in the Asia Cup in Dhaka and will not take part in the camp.
As of Friday, the sides will play seven practice matches during the camp across the UAE.
HPP camps are held for the leading associate and affiliate teams in the lead up to most ICC global events, and at other key times to fit in with team schedules.
The ICC's camps have previously been held in the UAE in 2011 ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup and, most recently, in March of last year before round five of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship.
Former West Indies all-rounder and current Ireland coach Phil Simmons believed that his charges will benefit greatly from its final preparations in the UAE.
“Because of where we come from, with indoor facilities and cold winters, it is really valuable to have a camp like this before a big tournament like the ICC World Twenty20," said Simmons.
“Playing two practice matches here in the UAE is a big part of it. They provide a really good opportunity to test ourselves, and see what we need to work on.”
Hong Kong coach Charlie Burke said the UAE's facilities provided his side with perfect preparation for its maiden ICC global event.
“From our point of view, coming to the UAE and having access to such terrific facilities is so important for us," said Burke. "It’s winter in Hong Kong at the moment, so we just don’t have the same training opportunities.
“This is crucial preparation for us. We will have three matches under lights here in the UAE against strong opposition. The majority, if not all, of our boys have never played under lights before, and we’ve got two matches under lights in the first round in Bangladesh, so it’s a great opportunity for us.”
Reflecting on the importance of the HPP camp, ICC High Performance Manager Richard Done said: “This HPP camp provides an opportunity for the leading Associate teams to hone their skills together as a group before they compete on the global stage at the ICC World Twenty20 2014.
“The teams will be using the great facilities at the ICC Academy, Sharjah Stadium and in Abu Dhabi to prepare for what they will come up against in Bangladesh. I have no doubt that the teams will benefit enormously from the camp and the additional time together as a unit.”
The first round matches of the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 will be played from 16 to 21 March.
The UAE's first game will be against the Netherlands at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on 17 March.
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