Cricket Newfoundland and Labrador has named a strong team to compete at the Atlantic T20 tournament being held this weekend in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Thirteen players have been selected, led by captain Rahul Vashisht. They will play a round-robin against hosts and last year’s champions Nova Scotia, Québec, PEI, New Brunswick, with the top two teams qualifying for Sunday’s final.

This is the team’s sixth Atlantic T20 tournament following the establishment of Cricket Newfoundland and Labrador in 2010. Last year they finished third, beating PEI and New Brunswick. Coach Sentill Selvamani believes that this is a strong squad. “We’ve a good mixture of youth and experience, with the best performers from last year boosted by new recruits. For the first time, we’ve had strong competition for places, with 35 players trying out for the thirteen spots. The development of the new practice facility at Wishingwell Park has been invaluable in preparation“.

Captain Rahul Vashisht was named most valuable player at last year’s tournament, and will lead the batting this year. He has been in exceptional form this season, making over 300 runs in the local league matches and only being dismissed four times. Gurman Khurana (vice captain) and Rakesh Negi will also need to make contributions with the bat- both played in Cricket NL’s first inter-provincial tournament 6 years ago and bring considerable experience.

The squad includes two players new to the league this year, Asim Ramzan and Umair Khan – Asim is described by coach Selvamani as “the find of the season”, with fast accurate bowling, effective batting and excellent fielding skills. Umair drives in every weekend from western Newfoundland just to play cricket, and has impressed with his left handed big-hitting batting.

Dhrummit Bhatt, Osama Saeed, Bharat Shetty and Khurram Shahzad are making their first appearances at inter-provincial competition after solid performances in the league. Dhrumitt and Osama have proved to be amongst the league’s best bowlers, and will hope to reproduce their form at a higher level.

Adeel Illyas, Ali Malik, and Hummam Bin Saif are returning from last year’s team, and will benefit from their previous experience.

Captain Rahul Vashisht believes the team has the ability to improve on last year’s third place.

“In previous years we’ve beaten New Brunswick and PEI, and have always been competitive with Nova Scotia and Quebec, although we’ve only registered one win against those two provinces. We have an excellent bowling attack, and the opportunity to practice in similar conditions to those we’ll experience in Halifax will help the batsmen. If we perform up to our ability, we can beat any of the other teams”

July 22:
3pm v PEI
July 23:
8 am v New Brunswick
2 pm v Nova Scotia
July 24:
8 am v Quebec
5pm Final

Full squad:
Rahul Vashisht (captain)
Adeel Illyas
Ali Malik
Asim Ramzan
Bharat Shetty
Deep Patel
Dhrummit Bhatt
Gurman Khurana
Hummam Bin Saif
Khurram Shahzad
Rakesh Negi
Osama Saeed
Umair Khan

Coach: Sentill Selvamani