Newcomers S'pore sure of upsets

SINGAPORE - Singapore will be featuring for the first time in the World Indoor Cricket Masters Series in Johannesburg, South Africa, starting today.

But they are unfazed by the stiff competition from the likes of powerhouses Australia, England, India, New Zealand and South Africa in the men's 30-and-over, 35-and- over and 40-and-over categories.

In fact, the bunch of mostly amateur cricketers believe they are capable of causing a few upsets in the tournament, which ends on Saturday.

"We have players from different cultures coming together and some can surprise," said Ritesh Moudgil, 36, a Bank of America employee.

Added Tony Chisholm, 39, captain of the 35-and-over team and general manager of Sofitel So Singapore who has played indoor cricket competitively for clubs in New Zealand: "We have players of reasonably good standard who have got better over the past four months in terms of skills and fitness.

"They have picked up the nuances quickly and the team harmony is strong."

Indoor cricket is also called "action cricket" as it is played at a furious space - the players, therefore, have to be extremely fit, athletic, agile and possess sound technique.

Around 500 amateurs play the sport in Singapore, mostly in a league at The Cage in Kallang. And 50 of them turned up for the selections trials held by the Singapore Cricket Association.

"The preparations were far from ideal as the court, basically a football pitch, at The Cage was four metres short and four metres too wide," said Paul Botterill, 46, the Singapore teams' coach who has been to four indoor cricket World Cup finals with New Zealand.

"But the players adapted well and showed a lot of improvement. We are confident and looking to beat England or Sri Lanka."

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