Shalders confident of Chile's success in Americas Div 3

Wed, Oct 7, 2009 1:06 PM

Shalders confident of Chile's success in Americas Div 3
Simon Shalders, captain of Chile team, is confident that his side will do well at the ICC Americas Division 3 event which begins on Friday.

The hosts will compete with Brazil, Belize and Peru in the four-day event, which runs from 9-12 October.

How has the team prepared for the event?

The squad has been training under the guidance of High Performance Coach Craig Andrews since the off-season started in June. We have two sessions every week at the Universidad Católica Sports Ground and the Casa Roja net facilities. The team also played a warm-up series against a visiting Argentina U25 side in September. Though it failed to register a victory, it learned from its experience.

Will playing in home soil prove to be a distinct advantage?

The new artificial wicket on the lower field at Craighouse is largely unknown to the squad, and therefore should not offer any advantage to Chile as the home side. Most players in the squad have played a lot of cricket in the upper field and will hope to exploit the local knowledge to their advantage. However, only time will tell how great this advantage proves to be!

How is playing this tournament important for cricket development in Chile?

Extremely important. Chile's mid-term goal is to reach the level required in order to be an Associate Member of the ICC. Playing against local opposition under ICC eligibility rules is the key to achieving this goal. Also, by hosting the event, we are able to expose many children involved in our junior development programme to international cricket; and hopefully give them something to aspire to. The new regional set up has provided an excellent pinnacle for our local pathway, and this year sees the inclusion of some of the first generation of junior players to have followed that pathway to the top.

Do you dream of playing in the World Cup?

At the moment we're more focused on performing well at a local level and, hopefully, making it into the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League. However, given the great results we experience from our development programme, it wouldn't surprise me if in 10 or 20 years a Chilean side was able to mount a serious challenge for a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier event.

Chile was placed second in the previous Division 3 event. Are you confident of topping the table this time around?

Definitely. We finished third in 2006 and learned several lessons from that to come back stronger for the 2008 event in Buenos Aires. To lose out by net run rate then was a harsh lesson, but we've learnt from it and will be even stronger this time around. With the inclusion of several players from our U19 squad, the team has a much younger feel to it and I'm sure that'll be something that will play to our advantage. There's a real buzz around the squad and, although it'll be a tough three games, I'm sure we'll pushing for promotion come Monday.

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