Jersey coach pleased with squad depth ahead of ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier B
Dubai, July 9 (IANS) Jersey are hoping it is third time lucky when it comes to qualifying for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup and coach Neil Macrae believes his side are well equipped for the challenge which lies ahead in Zimbabwe.
The Channel Islanders have had mixed fortunes of late, winning all their 50-over matches in the recent ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Challenge League B in Uganda before losing four T20Is in succession against Namibia and the USA, who lie in wait in their Group A opener on Monday.
Jersey are without Josh Lawrenson and Anthony Hawkins-Kay for the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier B but spinner Rhys Palmer and 18-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Asa Tribe, who made back-to-back half-centuries against Namibia, are included.
Tribe's brother, Zak, is also part of the squad and coach Macrae is pleased with the depth at his disposal as they attempt to claim one of the two qualification spots available.
"Both Josh and Anthony were brilliant for us out in Uganda and will definitely be missed, but we are so lucky to bring in players like Asa and Rhys," he told the Jersey Evening Post. "Both of them have already impressed in the warm-up games and have settled into the group.
"Morale and team spirit is very high. They are an incredibly close group of players. We are all extremely proud to represent Jersey in any international tournament."
Jersey have twice previously participated in ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifiers, finishing second-bottom in their seven-team groups on both occasions - despite winning three of their six matches last time out in 2019.
Following their clash with the USA, Jersey take on host nation Zimbabwe and Singapore in Group A, with the top two advancing to the semi-finals.
And despite the recent defeats against their first opponents, by 50 runs and seven wickets, Macrae identified notable positives - not least the performances with the bat.
Ben Ward scored 60 and Ben Stevens an unbeaten 98 across the two matches, while former Sussex batter Jonty Jenner -- Jersey's highest scorer in the 2019 qualifiers who averages 36.85 over the past year -- is also part of the squad.
"Some of the signs from batters, particularly in the last two games against the USA, have been brilliant," added Macrae, who played two ODIs for Scotland during his playing career and has been in his current role since January 2014.
"Ben Stevens and Ben Ward both put in huge individual performances respectively in separate games, which shows the strength in depth we have in the batting line-up.
"We know along with that we have some great spinners, coupled with pace options and a young, athletic fielding unit - all the elements are starting to come together."