x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Michael Di Venuto and Geraint Jones to compete in the Emirates

The former internationals will compete in the UAE next month for a place in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Geraint Jones will play for Papua New Guinea.
Geraint Jones will play for Papua New Guinea.

The former internationals Michael Di Venuto and Geraint Jones will be the best-known players when 16 of the ICC's Associate and Affiliate member countries compete in the UAE next month for a place in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Di Venuto, who played nine one-day international matches for Australia, will represent Italy while Jones, who was England's wicketkeeper when they won the Ashes in 2005, will represent Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the 72-game World Twenty20 Qualifier.

The event will be contested from March 13 to 24 across five venues in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

The winner will join Australia and West Indies in Group B in the September 18 to October 7 tournament later this year while the runner-up will be placed in Group A with the defending champions England and former winners India.

Di Venuto, the 38-year-old batsman, is eligible because he has an Italian passport while Jones, 35, can play for PNG as he was born there, in the city of Kundiawa.

Afghanistan will be defending the title they won in Dubai two years and they have named eight players in the squad who were members of the side who beat Ireland by eight wickets in the final in Dubai. They will be coached by Kabir Khan who leaves his job as coach of the UAE today to be reunited with the Afghanistan team.

Ashish Bagai of Canada will also be missing from next month's action, as will the UAE, who will miss their home competition after failing to advance beyond the Asian leg of the qualification process.

The national team, who were one victory away from reaching the last World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, exited the Nepal qualifier due to an inferior run rate, despite losing just one match.

Oman, Nepal and Hong Kong advanced in their place.

* Compiled by The National staff with agency