You may know that last weekend a national team selection camp was conducted in Fuji, with as many as 28 players turning up to try out. As the Head Selector of the Japan Men’s National Team, I’m pleased to announce the squad for the up-coming 6-team tournament in Auckland, New Zealand from November 29 to December 9, featuring Japan, Indonesia, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, and the Cook Islands. The official announcement can be found here:
Perusing the list you may notice one name in particular:
コートニー・ジョーンズ(ウォンバッツCC) C. Jones
No Courtney Jones isn’t Chuck’s evil twin brother. That is indeed our very own Skipper, Chucky! By being named in the squad he has created Wombats history by becoming the first ever Wombat to represent Japan! Congratulations Chuck! He was chosen as a specialist batsman – which is not to disparage his bowling ability – and due to his ability to bat anywhere in the order, he may bat anywhere from opening right through to #6, depending upon the state of the game and the tournament, and the form of others.
As for the squad in general, we believe we have chosen a balanced squad with a mix of veteran and young players that we believe can win the tournament. We also believe we have a good mix of bowlers and batsman, and in the spirit of horses for courses as our opposition aren’t known for their ability to play spin, we have chosen 3 spinners: 2 leggies and an offie. Local wisdom also suggests the Auckland (turf) wickets will be low and slow and take spin. Make no mistake: our goal is to win the tournament and anything less will be considered a failure.
This tournament is hugely important for the future of Japanese cricket. In fact, its arguably the most important tournament the Japanese team has ever played in. If they win the tournament, they will play in Division 5 of the World Cricket League next year in Jersey. If they lose, they will not play another tournament for almost 2 years and as the ICC is moving to more performance-based financial incentives, they will have their funding reduced. Quite frankly, I’m not full-bottle on what happens if they lose because I’m not considering losing.
Good luck to all players selected!
Jarrad “Dinosaur” Shearer