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Cyprus prepares for first home T20 cricket internationals

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The Cyprus squad for the upcoming T20 international cricket matches against Estonia and Isle of Man has been announced by the selectors.

The team will be led by Michalis (Mike) Kyriakou, a Cypriot who learned his cricket in South Africa. He is an experienced all-rounder and is one of only two players in the squad who have represented Cyprus in previous international tournaments.

There are three wicketkeeper-batsmen – Nalin Pathirana (the other player with previous international experience), Zeeshan Sarwar and Scott Austin – who will be contesting the right to wear the gloves.

Chamal Sadun, Roman Mazumder, Neeraj Tiwari, Yasir Mehmood and BLCS Kumara are the specialist batsmen selected, though all are also able to turn their arm over if required to bowl.

As well as the captain, there are several all-rounders in the group – Tejwinder Singh, Gurpurtap Singh, Qasim Anwar, Iftekar Jaman (who was a reserve for the European qualifying tournament in Holland three years ago) and Rajwinder Brar – all of whom bowl fast or medium pace and bat well.

Specialist bowlers are Murtaza Yamin, who has had a very successful season in domestic cricket, and his team-mate Waqar Ali.

The selectors have cast their net wide, as the players selected play for eight different teams in the Cyprus cricket league. The coach Richard Cox and captain Kyriakou will be hoping that they gel into a cohesive and successful team.

The week’s cricket begins with two matches between Cyprus and Estonia on Tuesday. These are followed on Wednesday to Friday by a tri-lateral series of eight matches involving these two teams plus the Isle of Man.
The games will carry ranking points as each nation seeks to climb up the International Cricket Council’s world rankings list.

Over the weekend the Cyprus squad were put through their paces during three days of fitness and cricket preparation at Ypsonas under the experienced eye of coach Cox.

Meanwhile, at the Happy Valley ground where the internationals will be played, two touring teams from the UK – Lords Wood and Salix – enjoyed friendly matches against Cyprus teams Limassol Qalandars, Everest and Cyprus Eagles, and against each other, with Lords Wood narrowly defeating Salix in the final match.

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