October 24, 2010 (Island Cricket): The stars are coming once more.The second edition of the CLOBI Cup International Masters Cricket Tournament has again attracted a glittering array of former legends of the game. The event features four countries in a Twenty20 showdown at the historic Kensington Oval for a winner-take-all prize of US$50,000.
The tournament will feature four match days – Saturday October 30, Sunday October 31, Wednesday November 3 and finals day, Friday November 5.
There will be two matches on each day with the first beginning at 4 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m.
Entry fee to each match day will be Bds$15.
The West Indies, led by 132-Test veteran Courtney Walsh, will face determined defending champions England, a star-studded Sri Lanka and first-time challengers India.
Walsh and his long-time pace partner, Curtly Ambrose – who shared nearly 1,000 Test wickets – spearhead the attack on one of their most famous stomping grounds.
Ex-skipper Carl Hooper, a huge favourite in these parts, again headlines the batting alongside younger former team-mates such as Sherwin Campbell, Floyd Reifer and Junior Murray.
Sri Lanka, determined for revenge after failing to make the final in the tournament’s inaugural year, boasts an impressive line-up of world-beaters.
Their squad, led by former Test captain Marvan Atapattu, includes for the first time three all-time greats in explosive left-hander Sanath Jayasuriya, seasoned left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas and iconic batsman Aravinda de Silva.
Sri Lanka squad: Aravinda de Silva, Chaminda Vaas, Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Marvan Atapattu, Upul Chandana, Saman Jayantha, Naveed Nawaz, Indika de Saram, Eric Upashantha, Piyal Wijetunge, Chandika Hathurusingha.
De Silva was the first of the truly brilliant Sri Lankan batsmen, his match-winning century in the 1996 World Cup final securing his place in the annals of Sri Lanka history.
The diminutive right-hander cracked 20 centuries from 93 Tests and 11 in 308 one-dayers, and was always one of the game’s great entertainers with his silky stroke-play.
The 41-year-old Jayasuriya was a different kind of entertainer — one of the most brutal batsmen the game has known over his 110 Tests, 444 one-dayers and 30 Twenty20 internationals. As recently as May, he was part of Sri Lanka’s Twenty20 line-up and still harbours hopes of ending his sparkling career at the 2011 ICC World Cup.
Vaas’ career is equally impressive – 355 wickets in 111 Tests and 400 in 322 one-dayers in a 15-year span in which he and world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan bore the burden of Sri Lanka’s attack.
England, who won the 2009 CLOBI Cup, return with only one change from squad that lifted the trophy 12 months ago – their winning captain Darren Gough unavailable and replaced in the side by fellow seamer Martin Bicknell and as skipper by Dominic Cork.
Their batting remains a major strength, based around Graeme Hick, who hit three half centuries in four matches last year and was the undisputed Man of the Tournament.
Mark Ramprakash, who continued to pile up runs on the English country circuit this summer, is another trump card for the Brits.
Their bowling is led by Cork, another active county player, and pace ace Devon Malcolm, whose three-wicket burst in last year’s final helped inspire victory.
India replace last year’s finalists South Africa as the fourth team in the competition.
Fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad, who claimed 96 wickets in 33 Tests and 196 in 161 one-dayers, leads a formidable bowling attack while left-hander Sadagoppan Ramesh, who turns 35 just before the tournament, fronts the batting.