Having ended 2019 as 20th ranked player in the world, Aruna Quadri has started the New Year as the 18th world best player following the release of the January 2020 ranking by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
In the rating, Quadri moved up by two steps to remain the undisputed Africa best ranked player being his best ranking in his career.
Also in the Olympic ranking released alongside the world rating on Thursday January 2, 2020, Quadri maintains his status as 18th best as well.
An excited Quadri said the ranking means more hardwork in the New Year.
“As long as I am happy I am starting this year with this ranking; this also means I need to continue to work harder because remaining on top is more work. So having achieved quarterfinal feat in Rio, I think medal is possible in Tokyo. But I am hoping to qualify soon as the qualifiers is more competitive this year. But in all this would not have been possible without the singular support from Baba Ijebu Bet, a company that kept faith with me and I have been able to attend more tournaments with the hope that I will continue to improve,” he said.
For the Chairman, Baba Ijebu Bet, Sir Kesington Adebutu, the company is excited about the feat achieved by Aruna Quadri on the global stage, having attained his highest ranking under the support of the company.
“We are happy and want to congratulate him as our sports ambassador; we hope he will continue to act as a role model for the youth as we remain steadfast in our support towards his Olympic medal dream in Tokyo”, Adebutu said.
Omar Assar of Egypt dropped to 29 from 28 while the success story of Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw continues. He has again moved from a previous best of no.82 to no.76. This makes it the second month running, that he sets the highest world ranking ever achieved by a player from Senegal.
Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo also slide to 86 to 85 in the world rating.
China’s Fan Zhendong reclaims the summit, as Japan’s Mima Ito moves up to world no.3.
Had a young Sylvester Okpe not been so fond of wandering off, then perhaps Nigeria’s journey into new territory would never have been possible.
For it was while being distracted during an Independence Day celebration that Okpe, teeming with interest, stumbled across a group playing with bat and ball.
Curiosity got the better of him, so he asked what those running back and forth over 22 yards were up to. And in doing so, he got his first introduction to cricket.
Fast forward just a handful of years, and Okpe’s determination to try something new isn’t ending there. Only this time, he’ll do so as Nigeria captain at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.
In a country where football dominates the sporting agenda, the 19-year-old’s story of stumbling into cricket is not a unique one.
Throughout the squad representing their country at South Africa 2020 – Nigeria’s first global cricket competition – very few had even seen the sport before first picking up a bat.
Some didn’t have shoes, let alone kit or equipment, for a game seen by teachers and parents as an easy way out of lessons.
For some, support from family and outside sources was minimal, with humble and sometimes poor backgrounds putting sport in perspective.
British colonial masters and missionaries first brought cricket to Nigeria in the 1900s but it’s taken time to flourish, stalling in the latter stages of the 20th century following independence.
But the past 20 years have seen the tide turn, the game brought back to life as previously active and passionate individuals rekindled their love. Only this time, they were determined to get it right for good.
The Nigeria Cricket Foundation (NCF) helped pave the way, not only bringing the talent to the fore but finding time for player welfare, sporting education, mentality and professionalism.
Sylvester Okpe bowls against Hong Kong
The result, clear for all to see, is players such as Okpe: he was only 15 when first brought into the U19 squad and hadn’t yet turned 16 when he was made captain.
By this time, coaches and management were taking their approaches long-term, with his appointment inspired by West Indies’ selection of Jason Holder as ODI skipper when aged 23.
Such a step-up would disrupt most but the talented teenager took it in his stride, his captaincy as important as the right-arm offbreak bowling that the U19 side have relied upon.
So too have Nigeria’s senior team, with Okpe named vice-captain for the 2019 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Such leadership has been integral and the unity paid dividends on the pitch too, as the team went unbeaten in Division Two of U19 World Cup qualification.
In March 2019 – with a place at the U19 World Cup on the line – it was to get even better.
By their own admission, not even those at the heart of Nigeria’s journey had expected them to progress at such an impressive rate, with the following generation set to be the benchmark for success.
But Okpe and his side weren’t ones for waiting, going into Namibia’s backyard and beating the hosts in the opening game in Windhoek.
Batting first and scoring 129 for eight from 50 overs was far from a perfect start to life in Division One, particularly with just one team from six qualifying for South Africa.
But this Nigeria side is one of determination, and true to form it was the captain who delivered – figures of three for 16 helped skittle Namibia for 77 and the result sent shockwaves around the tournament.
The Junior Yellow Greens have not looked back since – a tense two-wicket win over Sierra Leone securing their U19 World Cup place, having been 91 for seven in their chase of 139.
It may have been a surprise to those watching but Nigeria, from humble beginnings, have long been a side with confidence after years of physical and mental preparation
So what of South Africa 2020 and Nigeria’s ground-breaking steps in cricket? A minimum of three games await but no challenge has come close to this one.
In Australia, England and West Indies, each of their Group B opponents have won the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at least once, and the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup five times between them.
In doing so, they’ve produced the likes of Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Brian Lara – all esteemed alumni of U19 cricket – with players heading to Africa desperate for career-defining breakthroughs of their own.
One win would therefore be a huge achievement for a country with such limited cricket history, but Okpe and his proud nation head across the continent knowing games are won on the pitch, not on paper.
And on a journey that few before them have ever taken, they aren’t ready to stop wandering any time soon.
Last time’s joint-winners Scotland and the Netherlands will begin their campaigns on the opening day of the tournament in the UAE
Media releases, match reports, images and videos during the tournament will be available on the Online Media Zone
Scotland and the Netherlands, joint winners of the previous qualifying event in 2015, will feature on the opening day of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates from 18 October to 2 November.
Scotland, who are the top-ranked side in the 14-team tournament, will take on Singapore in the opener at the ICC Academy 1 ground in Dubai while the Netherlands will take on Kenya later in the day at the same venue. In other matches on the first day, Test nation Ireland will take on Hong Kong and Oman will play hosts UAE at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Bermuda, Canada, Jersey, Namibia, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea are the other teams in the tournament who will be vying for the six available places at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia from 18 October to 15 November.
The teams are placed in two groups, with Scotland, the Netherlands, PNG, Namibia, Singapore, Kenya and Bermuda forming group A and the UAE, Ireland, Oman, Hong Kong, Canada, Jersey and Nigeria in group B.
The top team from each group will advance to the semi-final of the tournament whilst securing direct qualification to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020, with three more teams from each group featuring in qualification play-offs to determine the other four qualifiers.
The knockout stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier will be played primarily at the Dubai International Stadium with the play-offs scheduled for 29 and 30 October. The semi-finals will be held on 1 November while the third-place match and the final are scheduled for Saturday, 2 November.
Those six qualifying teams will join the top 10 teams in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Rankings as on 31 December 2018, in Australia in 2020 – Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
ICC Head of Events Chris Tetley: “This tournament is the final stage of the qualification pathway to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia which started in February 2018 and included 61 teams across the five ICC regions.
“We are delighted to be working with the Emirates Cricket Board and in the UAE again, since they last played host to the ICC U19 CWC 2014, at world-class facilities in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“On behalf of the ICC, I wish all participating teams the very best and look forward to seeing some compelling and competitive cricket that showcases the quality of the game worldwide.”
18 October: Scotland v Singapore (10h00), Netherlands v Kenya (14h10) at ICC Academy 1; Hong Kong v Ireland (14h10), Oman v UAE (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
19 October: PNG v Bermuda (10h00), Netherlands v Namibia (14h10) at ICC Academy 1; Scotland v Kenya (14h10) at ICC Academy 2; Jersey v Nigeria (14h10), Ireland v UAE (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium.
20 October: PNG v Namibia (10h00), Bermuda v Singapore (14h10) at ICC Academy 2; Hong Kong v Oman (14h10) at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Canada v Jersey (10h00) at ADC 1.
21 October: Scotland v PNG (10h00), Kenya v Bermuda (14h10) at ICC Academy 1; Hong Kong v UAE (14h10), Canada v Nigeria (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium; Ireland v Oman (14h10) at ADC 1.
22 October: Scotland v Namibia (10h00), Singapore v Netherlands (14h10) at ICC Academy 1; UAE v Jersey (14h10) at ADC 1.
23 October: Namibia v Bermuda (10h00), Singapore v Kenya (14h10) at ICC Academy 2; Ireland v Canada (14h10), Hong Kong v Jersey (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium; Oman v Nigeria (10h00) at ADC1.
24 October: Scotland v Bermuda (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium; Netherlands v PNG (10h00) at ICC Academy1; UAE v Nigeria (10h00), Hong Kong v Canada (14h10) at ADC 1.
25 October: PNG v Singapore (10h00), Namibia v Kenya (14h10) at Dubai International Stadium; Oman v Canada (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium; Ireland v Jersey (10h00) at ADC1.
26 October: Netherlands v Bermuda (14h10), Namibia v Singapore (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium; Ireland v Nigeria (10h00) at Zayed Cricket Stadium.
27 October: PNG v Kenya (10h00), Scotland v Netherlands (14h10) at Dubai International Stadium; Oman v Jersey (14h10), UAE v Canada (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Hong Kong v Nigeria (10h00) at ADC 1.
29 October: Play-off 1 – A2 v B3 (14h10); Play-off 2 – A3 v B2 (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium.
30 October: Play-off 3 – A4 v Loser of Play-off 1 (14h10); Play-off 4 – B4 v Loser of Play-off 2 (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium.
31 October: Play-off for fifth and sixth places – Winner of Play-off 3 v Winner of Play-off 4, ICC Academy 1
1 November: Semifinal 1 – B1 v Winner of Play-off 1 (14h10), Semifinal 2 – A1 v Winner of Play-off 2 (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium.
2 November: Third place Play-off – B1 v Winner of Play-off 1 (14h10); Final (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium.
“This is a truly historic moment for women’s cricket and for the global cricket community, who were united in their support of this bid,” said Manu Sawhney, Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council. “Women’s cricket continues to go from strength to strength, and we are delighted and honoured the Commonwealth Games Associations voted to include Women’s T20 cricket at Birmingham 2022.
“Fast and exciting, the T20 format is the perfect fit for the Commonwealth Games and offers another chance to showcase women’s cricket on the global stage as part of our ambitious plans to accelerate the growth of the game, whilst inspiring the next generation of cricketers. All the players who are lucky enough to compete at Birmingham 2022 will be part of a truly memorable experience.”
The inclusion of Women’s T20 within the Commonwealth Games continues the ICC’s commitment to support the global growth of the women’s game and reach new markets whilst getting more girls and women watching, playing and enjoying cricket.
Eight teams will compete across eight match days, as cricket returns to the Commonwealth Games for the first time since 1998, when South Africa won Gold in a men’s 50-over format competition in Kuala Lumpur.
Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are delighted that Women’s T20 Cricket will be part of Birmingham 2022, an event that represents the biggest female and para sport programme in Commonwealth Games history. Today’s landmark announcement is another indication of the extremely bright future for women’s cricket.
“Cricket’s inclusion in an event with such a large global reach aligns perfectly with our plan to enable more women and girls to be inspired to get involved in cricket. We would like to thank the teams at Birmingham 2022, the Commonwealth Games Foundation and the International Cricket Council for their support in sharing this vision for one of the world’s biggest team sports.”
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place in England from 27th July to 7th August 2022 and will see 4,500 athletes competing at across 18 sports.
The ICC will be responsible for the competition terms and the conduct of cricket, by way of providing match officials and ensuring matches are played as per the laws of the game. The CGF and Birmingham 2022 will be responsible for delivery of the Commonwealth Games 2022.
“Today is an historic day and we are delighted to welcome the sport of cricket back to the Commonwealth Games,” said CGF President Dame Louise Martin DBE. “Cricket was last played in the Games at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 when the men’s 50-overs-a-side competition was won by South Africa and featured icons of the sport including Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar.
“We believe the Commonwealth Games will be a fantastic platform to showcase the exciting sport of Women’s T20 Cricket and continue to help grow the game globally.
“We would like to thank the International Cricket Council for their hard work and efforts to ensure that the sport is in the Games in Birmingham as we believe it will contribute to a spectacular and vibrant multi-sport event. Cricket is truly a Commonwealth sport and we hope Birmingham 2022 will be the start of a long and successful partnership between Women’s Cricket and the Games.”
All eight matchdays will be held at Edgbaston cricket ground, which played host to a number of memorable matches at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup this summer, including England’s semi-final victory over Australia.
Namibia will compete in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019, replacing Zimbabwe which has been suspended by the ICC. The event which gets underway in Scotland later this month will see Namibia join hosts Scotland, Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands, Papa New Guinea, Thailand and USA to compete for the two remaining spots at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020.
Namibia step into the frame by virtue of their finishing spot in the Africa regional pathway having lost the final of the women’s African Qualifier to Zimbabwe. This maintains the balance of regional representation in the global qualifying events.
In the men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier, Nigeria will take the 14th and final spot in place of suspended Zimbabwe when the event gets underway in the UAE in October. Nigeria will join hosts UAE, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jersey, Kenya, Namibia, Netherlands, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Singapore and two teams from the Americas Final due to be held later this month.
Nigeria came third in the Africa Men’s Final and as such become the third African team in the global qualifier along with Kenya and Namibia, again retaining the regional representation for the event.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced the first eight series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 to begin in August 2019 on the Road to India 2023.
The Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 provides more competitive cricket for Namibia, Nepal, Oman, PNG, Scotland, UAE and USA, with each team playing 36 One Day Internationals (ODIs) over two and half years from August 2019 to January 2022, where teams are just two steps away from the Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The League will see 126 ODIs played across 21 tri-series, with the first series kicking off in Scotland on 14 August 2019.
Scotland will host Oman and PNG in the first series taking place in Aberdeen on the Road to India 2023. Each series will see teams play a total of six ODIs, with teams competing for the top three spots of the League 2 table which will confirm their place in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2022.
The bottom four teams will drop into the Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-Off 2022 – which is a repechage event to the Global Qualifier- and will be joined by the winner of Challenge League A and B. The top two teams from the Play-Off will keep their hopes alive of participating in India 2023.
For the first time in cricket’s history 20 teams will have ODI status providing more opportunity for ODI cricket both in ICC events and in Member organised bilateral cricket.
Cricket Scotland’s Simon Smith said: “First of all, it is tremendously exciting to see how this competition unfolds in front of us over the next 30 months, with so much cricket ahead of us, 36 ODI’s. We know the quality is always high among these sides and it is very competitive, so we are really looking forward to getting stuck into this competition. It is really important for all of us, in terms of the opportunity to qualify for the global qualifier and for the Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2023 in India.”
“We have three home rounds, where we will host two nations coming to us during our home season. Around that, we will also have visits to other nations as well. In each season, we will be home once and away twice. So nine rounds of cricket for us, all in tri- series. It obviously presents an opportunity for all of us to arrange triangular and bilateral and quadrangular of the back of these rounds as well.”
PNG Head Coach, Joe Dawes said: “The new competition structure is really exciting and it is going to create an opportunity for us to play a lot of cricket over the next two and a half years. This is something we are really looking forward to and it is going to be a massive challenge. The countries involved, are all going to be great countries to travel to from a cricketing experience. But also for my players, a great life experience and I know they are looking forward to that.”
Oman Cricket Board Member, Pankaj Khimji said: “The opportunities that have come out of qualifying for League 2 are huge. We hope to meet the expectations of ICC, in terms of performance we put it, in terms of our preparations that we put it. For the next 30 months, we will make ODI status something that everyone will be happy about and to see Oman perform at the highest level.”
ICC General Manager – Development, William Glenwright said: “It is hugely exciting to see the first dates in the schedule for ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2. 126 ODIs over two and half years and three places in the Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier gives teams so much to play for through a schedule that provides teams with much more international cricket in fixed windows to allow for better preparation and planning.
“The new structure, which has been developed in close consultation with the Members, will present some outstanding cricket and, most importantly, will ensure that the Associate Members that qualify for the Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier are even better prepared to stake their claim for a place at India 2023.”
The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 series schedule
Australia’s Claire Polosak will create history as the first woman umpire ever to stand in a Men’s One Day International when she takes the field in the final of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 today.
The 31-year-old, who is breaking new ground for women cricket officials has previously stood in 15 women’s ODIs, the first one in November 2016 between Australia and South Africa. She has also performed well in ICC events, standing in the semifinal of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2018 between England and India and four matches at the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, reflecting her rapid rise to success.
Polosak has been championing female officiating and has been a path breaker before too. She was the first woman to stand in a men’s domestic fixture in Australia in her first List A match in Australia in 2017. In December last year, she and her South Australian counterpart Eloise Sheridan became the first female umpires to officiate on-field together during a professional match in Australia when the Adelaide Strikers hosted the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL.
Polosak was exuberant at the impending milestone: “I am thrilled to be the first woman to stand in a Men’s ODI and how far I have come as an umpire. It really is important to promote women umpires and there’s no reason why females can’t umpire in cricket. It’s about breaking down barriers, creating awareness so more females can come into the role.”
“Umpiring is a team effort. I would like to thank all the umpires I have worked with, my local umpires association- NSW Cricket Umpires’ and Scorers’ Association and Cricket Australia, as well as my family and friends, as without their support, this match today would not be possible.”
Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager – Umpires and Referees: “Congratulations to Claire for this fantastic achievement of becoming the first woman umpire to stand in a Men’s One Day International. It is one thoroughly deserved and a result of her hard work and perseverance. She is a role model for women who want to get into officiating and proves how successful they can be once they are on the right path and get the opportunities.”
Polosak’s achievement comes at the conclusion of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia, where USA, Oman, PNG and Namibia have secured ODI status and a place in the newly-formed ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2.