Action is set to be intense at the three-day Singapore Cricket Club International Twenty20 cricket tournament starting today.
Sri Lanka's Singhalese Sports Club landed in Singapore yesterday with five current and former Test players in a bid to regain the trophy which they won in the inaugural year - 2009 - and again in 2011.
Captain Dimuth Karunaratne, 26, and all-rounder Sachithra Senanayake, 29, are members of the current Sri Lanka national team squad and the side from Colombo also have former national team players Thilina Kandamby, 32, Chamara Kapugedera, 27, and Tharanga Paranavitana, 32, in their ranks.
"We did not have all our best players last year and so found it difficult to get to the final," said opener Karunaratne, who was the man of the tournament in 2009.
"This year we are determined to give a good account of ourselves. The competition will come from the Indian sides of Cricket Club of India (CCI) and Madras Cricket Club (MCC), who have experienced players."
Mumbai-based CCI, the holders, will include former India all-rounders Ajit Agarkar, 36, and Abhishek Nayar, 30, and Aavishkar Salvi, 32, who played four one-day internationals for India.
"We won with a young team in our first attempt last year," said captain Anand Singh, 27. "This year we have more experience. On paper, the Singhalese look formidable. But we know the conditions well and are better prepared this time."
Chennai side MCC, the runners-up last year, also have players who have represented India - L. Balaji, 32, S. Badrinath, 33, Hemang Badani, 37, - and seasoned first-class cricketers Rajat Bhatia, 34, and R. Sathish, 33.
"I would say this is the strongest line-up of international and first class players we have had in the four editions of this tournament," said the tournament organising committee chairman Unmish Parthasarathi.
"Some clubs are here to win while the others have come with young players with potential who are sure to make a mark in international cricket in the near future."
Melbourne Cricket Club (Australia), Hong Kong Cricket Club, Rowlin National Cricket Academy (South Africa), Singapore Cricket Association President's XI and the Singapore Cricket Club are the other teams in the fray.
"There will be a lot of runs (at the Padang) as the wicket seems good, the outfield is fast and the boundaries are short," said England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, 32, a special guest at the tournament. "This is a spectacular ground, one of the best I have seen."
SCC International Twenty20
Madras Cricket Club (Macc)
Singapore Cricket Association President's XI (SCA)
Singhalese Sports Club (SSC)
Hong Kong Cricket Club (HKCC)
Cricket Club of India (CCI)
Rowling National Cricket Academy (RNCA)
Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC)
Singapore Cricket Club (SCC)
9am: Macc v SCA (Padang)
3.30pm: Macc v SSC (Padang)
3.30pm: CCI v MCC (Kallang)
9am: CCI v RNCA (Padang)
3.30pm: SSC v SCA (Kallang)
Kwik Cricket competition involving eight school teams
First spectator to catch a six on Sunday wins a three-carat tanzanite gem sponsored by Black Key Diamonds.
This article was first published on Aug 22, 2014.
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