Bengal, Lahore Qalandars to compete in T20 series in Namibia
In an interesting piece of news, teams from India and Pakistan will lock horns in a four-team Global T20 tournament in Namibia. The participating teams include hosts Namibia, Bengal (India), Lahore Qalandars (from Pakistan), and a South African domestic side. Bengal have already named a 16-man team for the tournament, with Abhimanyu Easwaran at the helm. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
India and Pakistan don't compete in bilateral series due to political tension between the two countries. The last bilateral series between them was held in 2012/13. They now only compete in multilateral tournaments. The last India-Pakistan match took place in the 2021 T20 World Cup. Besides, their domestic sides last clashed in the 2014 Champions League T20 (Lahore Lions vs Kolkata Knight Riders).
The history of Nissar Trophy
Between 2006 and 2008, the winners of the Ranji Trophy and the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy locked horns in the Nissar Trophy, a four-day First-class competition. However, the same was scrapped after just three editions.
A look at the Bengal side
Bengal announced a 16-man squad for the tournament in Namibia. Abhimanyu Easwaran will lead the side that includes Shahbaz Ahmed, Ishan Porel, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Writtick Chatterjee, and a number of fresh faces. Debabrata Das, the joint secretary of Cricket Association of Bengal, believes the players would gain plenty of experience playing against top-notch sides.
We can get to play a World Cup side: Das
"The broadcasters for the tournament came before our president and invited us. We took the opportunity to play six-seven games before the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, because we can get to play against a World Cup team," Das told ESPNcricinfo. "The ambition is that there are several young players who are playing in local cricket in Bengal and performing fantastically with respect to T20s."
Namibia will feature in T20 World Cup
Namibia, the hosts of the domestic tournament, will also participate in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup. They finished fifth in Group 2 of the qualifying round, making it to the Super 12 stage. Namibia also competed in the tournament last year, claiming a solitary win from five games. The four-team tournament in the country will help them prepare for the ICC event.