Denmark prefer to focus on the positives

European side to face the United States in the match for the wooden spoon at the World Twenty20 Qualifier on Tuesday, reports Amith Passela.

Denmark, who struggled throughout the World Twenty20 Qualifier, were once a fairly successful cricket team. Sarah Dea / The National
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Denmark will play the United States to decide which team finishes last in the 16-team World Twenty20 Qualifiers on Tuesday at the Sharjah stadium.

The European side earned just a point in Group B from an abandoned game due to rain, while the United States won their opener against Canada before losing the next six to finish at the bottom of Group A.

Oli Roland, the Denmark manager, said to play in the World T20 Qualifier itself was a bonus for them after qualifying for the tournament behind Italy.

“We can go back with the experience,” said Roland, who quit his teaching job to take up a full-time role as the secretary general of the Denmark Cricket Association.

“Denmark have around 2,000 registered players, a majority of them are seniors, but we are trying to build an age-group team at the Under 15, U17, and U19 levels. It has been quite hard for us in recent times with not many youngsters attracted to cricket.

“We had to travel without some of the regular players, as they couldn’t make the tour because of either work commitments or studies. This is one of the problems we face, but those who came here were very excited to play in this competition.”

Denmark is one of the earliest European countries to play cricket after the sport was introduced by British railway engineers in the middle of the 19th century and the first club was formed in 1865. The country became an Associate member of the ICC in 1966.

“The British railway engineers building the railways all over Denmark formed cricket teams wherever they were stationed. All the cricket clubs are the ones they started and are situated in towns close to the railway stations,” Roland said.

“We were a pretty good team until 20-30 years ago, but now we find it difficult, because we have been unable to draw more youngsters to the game because of other distractions.”

Many players in the current team are of Pakistani descent, having picked up the game while their parents watched it on TV.

“A majority of the players are of Indian, Pakistani, and Sri Lankan origin, but 30 years ago it was the other way around,” Roland said.

“In our touring side [at that time], all except for one member of this team were born and learnt the game in Denmark.

“So we can be a little proud of that fact because it was an achievement for us.”