Saturday, June 15, 2019

World Beyond the Cup - Tete-a-tete with Federazione Cricket Italiana

First of all we would like to thank Mr. Kelum Asanka Perera, Member of the Italian Olympic Committee, Director of Cricket - Federazione Cricket Italiana and also the head coach of the Italian national team, for taking time out to answer our questions.

DHCF: Italy is usually associated with Football but what people don’t know is that cricket has a rich history in Italy. Even the famous clubs like AC Milan were initially cricket and football clubs. With Italy now been granted T20I status and International cricket action on the horizon, what does it mean for the future ?

Kelum: T20I status obviously means a lot, as all the matches played against other countries will have an impact on our global ranking. It is definitely a positive move taken by the ICC.

DHCF: Italy’s recent performances in the previous WC and WT20 qualifiers had been exceptional and beyond expectations for a few. Italy is now regarded as one of the strongest teams in mainland Europe after the Dutch. How is Italy planning to build on it? What is the next target for Italy?

Kelum: The performances have been good so far, but we have not achieved our final target. We want to create a professional and healthy environment around the team. The target is far ahead and we keep taking one step at a time..

DHCF: What is the domestic cricket structure like in Italy?

Kelum: There are many different competitions.
The first division, called SERIE A is the 50 over competition, played by 6 teams.

The second division, a 40 over competition is played on a regional basis, with the top team of each group playing in the Super 40 League.
There are also 2 different T20 competitions.
There are also age group competitions, U19, U17, U15, U13.

DHCF: How popular is the sport in Italy?

Kelum: It is not very popular, but I am pretty confident that it will become popular. It requires the national team to do well, and the game to get into the Olympic games.

DHCF: What measures are being taken to improve the standard of cricket in Italy?

Kelum: The first measure is to engage all the Asians living in Italy. It has been estimated that there are 750,000 Asians living here.

DHCF: Do players participate in overseas leagues for getting exposure specially the T20 leagues given many associate players have made it big with these leagues?

Kelum: Currently no one is doing that, but I won't be surprised if in an year or two there will be someone from Italy playing in these leagues.

DHCF: Italy is part of the 2019-21 ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League. Has Italy set any targets? How does Italy plan to conquer the league?

Kelum: In the first place it was a great news to know that we were in it. We have not set targets, but we are for the first time ever, planning over a lengthy period ahead.

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