Enthusiasm grows amongst the Spanish cricket fraternity as the start of the European Cricket Series edges ever closer.
With just a day to go before the first match takes place between Sporting Alfas and Pinatar Pirates, players are begining to start to feel the excitement of participating in the event, and are already expressing their gratitude towards the instigators of the concept.
The idea for the Dream11 European Cricket Series was born out of the success of the European Cricket League that took place in La Manga last summer, and it is schedule to visit numerous countries on mainland Europe in the coming weeks. 400 matches are planned on 100 match days with Dream 11 and the ECN network live streaming every single match.
Founder Daniel Weston stated “I greatly appreciate the efforts and innovative thinking of everyone at Dream11 to make this partnership a reality. Dream11 understands our vision to ignite domestic cricket in Europe as fast as possible so that we can reach our long-term goal of making cricket the number one summer team sport in Europe.”
(Daniel Weston heading to Spain for the first ECS Tournament)
The players of all six clubs taking part are equally as positive of the travelling road show that looks set to change the face of cricket on the continent in the next few weeks.
Sporting Alfas Chairman Kevin Laundon echoed the shared sentiments of all at his club when he said “Sporting Alfas are proud to be able to host this event. It is incredible that this format is taking hold so rapidly, but after watching the game on TV our members feel that it is a fantastic way to increase participation in Cricket around Europe and hopefully the world. SACC welcome teams from around the region for this tournament and the Alfas del Pi Mayor Vincente Arques, along with his staff ,are assisting our club in every way possible as they too begin to see what enjoyment cricket can bring to people from all backgrounds and cultures. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Mayor and local councils, past and present, because without them, none of this would be possible. Above all, Sporting Alfas are keen to promote our commitment to cricket and our club´s aim is to continue to bring the sport to more people”
(Back in the day, Kevin Laundon retrieving his hat from the umpire after opening the bowling for Sporting Alfas)
Spanish born Christian Munoz Mills, who is captain of the Senior National team quiped “Its a great event and a good opportunity for us to be in this kind of tournament because we are not used to being on televised events and having worldwide exposure. Also, it is a great level of cricket where we can all improve, whilst enjoying ourselves. Can´t wait to get started”
Alfas skipper and Spanish International Faran Afzal was equally buoyant about the event. He stated ; It¨s great to play in these kind of tournaments and it is really helpful in developing the interest of cricket in Europe”.
(Faran Afzal playing for Spain)
His national team mate Kuldeep Lal who will be representing Pinatar Pirates in Match One concurred. “I want to say thank you for giving me the chance to play cricket at such a high level and we hope to enjoy this tournament a great deal”
(Kuldeep Lal striking the ball fiercely past point for four runs)
Madrid United President Ittfaq Ahmed was more phlegmatic commenting “We feel like professionals, after twenty years of playing cricket in Europe we now feel proud”.
(The evergreen Ittfaq Ahmed of Madrid United)
Founder member of Levante Dave Tivey was more upbeat suggesting that “This event is a great opportunity to raise the profile of the game for all the cricketers in Spain and our guys are really keen to get the pads back on and get out in the middle. We hope to push on from last season, exciting times for Levante CC”
(Levante´s very own Dave Tivey hitting another boundary for his team)
Tivey´s companion, the belligerent opening batsmen Shakeel Sultan Hafiz spoke from the heart when he shared the following comments “It is for me a unique and amazing experience to be able to share something so important for me as cricket with my team mates, family and friends. I never thought when I left my country I would have chance you give us here in Europe. I think this is a common feeling in the whole of Europe. Thanks a lot !”
(Shak – Attack – Shakeel Sultan Hafiz goes boundary hunting once more for Levante)
The Intellectuals of Alicante are just as pumped up about the event and team captain Husnain Akram said “I am very excited to play this tournament and thanks for giving us this great opportunity”.
(Intellectuals in their fetching yellow kit that will be gracing the Woodbridge Oval next week)
Club President Laurence McGarry went on to say “The Intellectuals CC are very excited about playing in the ECS T10 series tournament and are grateful for having this great opportunity to participate”
(Laurence McGarry nurdles one down to fine leg whilst on his club´s tour to Saint-Pons-De Mauchiens in France)
Recent signing for La Manga, the Spanish all rounder Ravi Panchal was more thorough in his thoughts ; “To be the first European country to kick off the new European Cricket Series is something special to be a part of. I am looking forward to playing in front of the cameras again as it is every cricketers dream to be seen by the world and other cricketing nations. It is great how our close friends and family have the opportunity to witness us playing live on television. We have a massive opportunity to be role models within our country. I can´t wait”
(Ravi Panchal hoping to add more silverware to his collection next week after getting the Player of the series against Finland recently)
His new skipper at La Manga Kieran Wood wanted to add ; “It is a fantastic feeling to be part of this tournament. It is an opportunity for players and clubs to establish themselves in this format of the game and a chance to show our skills to people around the world)
(Kieran Wood on tour in Portugal)
Even the officials are on board with the new format. Umpire George Wambeek declared ” This is good news for Cricket In Spain, a new T10 league introduced to promote cricket amongst Spanish clubs. The T10 has given us a boost to let the world know we have cricket in Spain”
(A dapper George Wambeek sharing a joke with Mike Gatting at a Taverners event)
The matches will take place between the 2nd – 6th March at the Woodbridge Oval in Alfas del Pi. All matches will be livestreamed by the sponsors Dream 11 and in Europe by the European Cricket Network. www.ecn.cricket
Admission is free and matches start at 10 am local time every day with a total of four matches a day.
Full schedule :
02/03/2020 Monday Pinatar Pirates Sporting Alfas European Cricket Series Alicante T10 10:00
02/03/2020 Monday Pinatar Pirates Intellectuals European Cricket Series Alicante T10 12:00
02/03/2020 Monday Intellectuals La Manga European Cricket Series Alicante T10 14:00
02/03/2020 Monday Pinatar Pirates La Manga European Cricket Series Alicante T10 16:00
03/03/2020 Tuesday Intellectuals Sporting Alfas European Cricket Series Alicante T10 10:00
03/03/2020 Tuesday Intellectuals Madrid United European Cricket Series Alicante T10 12:00
03/03/2020 Tuesday Madrid United Levante European Cricket Series Alicante T10 14:00
03/03/2020 Tuesday Pinatar Pirates Levante European Cricket Series Alicante T10 16:00
04/03/2020 Wednesday Sporting Alfas Madrid United European Cricket Series Alicante T10 10:00
04/03/2020 Wednesday Sporting Alfas Levante European Cricket Series Alicante T10 12:00
04/03/2020 Wednesday Pinatar Pirates Madrid United European Cricket Series Alicante T10 14:00
04/03/2020 Wednesday Levante La Manga European Cricket Series Alicante T10 16:00
05/03/2020 Thursday Sporting Alfas La Manga European Cricket Series Alicante T10 10:00
05/03/2020 Thursday Madrid United La Manga European Cricket Series Alicante T10 12:00
05/03/2020 Thursday Intellectuals Levante European Cricket Series Alicante T10 14:00
05/03/2020 Thursday 5th Place Playoff European Cricket Series Alicante T10 17:00
06/03/2020 Friday Semi Final 1 European Cricket Series Alicante T10 10:00
06/03/2020 Friday Semi Final 2 European Cricket Series Alicante T10 12:00
06/03/2020 Friday 3rd Place Playoff European Cricket Series Alicante T10 15:00
06/03/2020 Friday Final European Cricket Series Alicante T10 17:00
John Howden (with contributions from Mark Lovell of the European Cricket Network)