SIMBA Kings opened the T20 Advanced Players League (APL) with brilliant colours following their three-wicket win over Buffalo Blasters at the Gymkhana oval in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Still both teams had an outstanding performance as their players showed class in both bowling and batting. Zafar Khan who was the Simba Kings’ opening batsman registered 39 runs from 26 balls and ended his performance by taking one wicket.
Apart from Khan who was the match’s MVP, there was also a young batsman, Mohammed Yunus from the youth cricket team who showed quality as he registered seven runs from 5 balls.
According to the Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA) Communication Officer, Atif Salim, this year’s APL has been an opportunity for young talents from youth teams to learn from senior players and show how good they are.
“This year’s league has invested in domestic players. In the previous years we invited foreign players to form teams combining with our domestic players so as they can learn from them, but this year we have formed our teams by bringing the senior and Under 19 players together.”
“We have included young talents in these competitions in large numbers to sharpen their quality and I hope they will be the shining light of these competitions.”
“Each team has four players from the youth team and it is the captain’s responsibility of each team to use two among the four players per match and if they have an impressive performance the captain might use all the four players.”
For his side the national team head coach, Steve Tikolo sees the competition as an opportunity for him to examine how good are his boys (the under-19s) in a match situation.
“We have included all 22 boys from the youth team in the six clubs that are participating in the league. I have been training with them for a while and they have shown the best performance.”
“These games will be an opportunity to prepare the kids in the coming tournament that will be hosted at the beginning of the year here in Dar es Salaam. Hence, it gives me a chance to watch the players and note how good they are, in case I will need to make changes I will.”
The squad of 22 players that Tikolo presented to join the six clubs in APL are the results from the squad he camped after sports resumed in Tanzania following the President’s directive but were directed to maintain health measures to avoid any more outbreak.
He had 35 players who were screened to 22 players competing for a place in the squad to represent Tanzania in the ICC Under-19 African Qualifier Division 2 that will be hosted in the country next year.