Bjørvika Cricket Club has been announced as Norway’s first representatives at the European Cricket League, with the league confirming their entry today.
Playing their cricket in Oslo and representing the Sentrum borough of the same name, Bjørvika punched their ticket by claiming the 2019 Norwegian T20 Championship, defeating Sinsen CC by almost a hundred runs back in July. After losing the domestic final in both 2017 and 2018, it was a doubly sweet victory with a continental place also sealed.
Former Norwegian captain Ali Sufyan Saleem will lead the side in La Manga and is Bjørvika’s all-time leading run-scorer and wicket-taker. Other key players include national team players Usman Haider and Ayaz Bhatti, as well as Usman Arif and Khurram Shahzad, who combined in a crucial century-partnership in their Championship Final victory.
Norway joins Belgium, Scotland and Nordic neighbours Sweden and Finland as new members of the competition, with the 2020 edition expanding to a 16-team format in 2020.
“Cricket Norway are counting the days until the opening match of ECL20. We are excited to be part the ECL family and look forward to following Bjørvika’s fortunes in their debut appearance, said Gry Bruaas, General Secretary of the Norwegian Cricket Federation.”
Bjørvika’s push for ECL 2020 glory began almost two months ago with the climate over the Christmas and New Year’s period making preparations difficult.
“We have sub-zero temperatures in Norway so we have to work hard to prepare,” said Bjørvika manager Waqas Choudhry.
“Normally, we would start indoor training in January, but because of ECL20 we have started in November.”
15 countries will be represented at ECL 2020 from May 31 to June 7, with the Netherlands represented by both VOC Rotterdam and HBS Cricket Club by virtue of VOC re-entering as defending ECL champions.