Cricket / National squad readies for Croatian challenge
Israel will play Croatia in a crucial Division 2 playoff match on Sunday at Hadar Yosef in Tel Aviv. The 45-over clash, the first-ever international match in Israel, is scheduled to start at 9:30 A.M. The winner will qualify for a place in the 2008 European Division 2 tournament to be held in Guernsey.
The Israel team, announced last week, will be captained by Stanley Perlman. The side also includes plenty of other experienced players. All rounders Isaac Massil and Sanjay Gupta will both be key players in the middle order, and there will be big expectations from Herschel Gutman to perform with bat and ball.
The attack will be led by Ramle's Isaac Talkar, who looked particularly impressive in practice, with the always-consistent David Massil in support. Yaniv Razpurker provides a further option in the pace attack, and his superb fielding will also be crucial to the team's success. Off spinner Steven Shein completes the bowling options available.
The specialist batsmen include opener Shalom Rubin, who has been a key component of the Lions Lod team that has once again dominated domestic cricket this season; Eshkol Solomon, who is an exciting player with a wide array of shots; the ever-reliable left-hander Dovi Myers and the gifted Danny Hotz, who will relish the opportunity to replicate his success with national junior teams at the senior level.
It will be a tough call to decide which of the two wicketkeepers don the gloves, with both Shailesh Bangerra and under-19 international Shai Hayun vying for the position.
Israel has never before faced Croatia, but the visitors won the European Division 3 tournament this past summer. Along the way, Croatia defeated fancied squads like the Isle of Man and Belgium, so a tough game for Israel is guaranteed.
The game will be umpired by Ireland's Trevor Magee and Ian Ramage from Scotland. European Cricket Council Development manager Richard Holdsworth will officiate as match referee.