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T20 World Cup 2024: Addition of veteran trio strengthens Italy’s qualification ambitions

T20 World Cup 2024: Addition of veteran trio strengthens Italy’s qualification ambitions

Although though Italy are far away from being labelled a developed cricketing nation, they are making a considerable effort to grow closer to the same. Nevertheless, with the 2018 T20 World Cup in mind, the European nation is making significant progress as they have signed three seasoned cricketers in the form of Spencer Johnson, Wayne Madsen and Ben Manenti.

Italy, ranked 32nd in the ICC Men’s T20 rankings, will be required to compete in the July T20 World Cup European Qualification in Scotland. In the seven-team event, just two of them will qualify for the following stage and these three additions imply that Italy are clearly gunning for a position.

Significantly, Spencer Johnson is not an unknown commodity as far as Australian cricket is concerned. He featured for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL) and also played First Class cricket for Victoria. He just clinched a five-for in the ongoing Sheffield Shield but is scheduled to move to Italy in July to join the group ahead of the major tournament.
Meanwhile, Italy’s captain cum coach, Gareth Berg indicated that he is keen to see Johnson join the Italian squad. He also added that the cricketer has endured a lot of injuries in his career but he is someone who can bowl at 150 kmph and that will benefit them in the competition.

“He’s dead keen. He’s going to be a great lift for us. It’s always wonderful to have someone that can bowl close to 150 clicks at that level. He’s had such a terrible time with injuries but he’s coming back very strong now. He’s raring to be engaged in July,” Berg previously said to ESPNcricinfo.

Berg is aware that the squad will receive a great deal of criticism for recruiting professional cricketers for the competition. Nonetheless, he rejected all concerns and declared that he is overjoyed that these cricket players are ultimately playing for Italy.

“But, at the end of the day, they all have the right to play for us based on their passports or their lineages. They are more than welcome to represent the national squad.

We’re not throwing money at them or anything like that. They are here to play for the Azzurri, for their passion of the blue blood. As soon as I mention it, they are immediately enthusiastic and prepared to assist. Obviously, there are professionals available, but there are also local players vying for spots. “It’s heartening for me and my coworkers to see how hard these guys are pushing themselves,” Berg remarked.


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