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Denmark bubbling with confidence

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 10:09 AM

Denmark bubbling with confidence
Denmark captain Michael Pedersen with the trophy
Denmark is bubbling with confidence as it arrives in Dubai next week to participate in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2012 which will be played across five venues from 13-24 March.

And at stake will be two places at this September's ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 which will be staged in Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele from 18 September to 7 October.

The winner of the 72nd and final match of the 16-team tournament will join Australia and the West Indies in Group B while the losing finalist will team up with defending champion England and former winner India in Group A.

Denmark, along with Italy, qualified for the UAE tournament after reaching the final of the ICC European Division.1 Championship in Jersey & Guernsey last year from 19-24 July. In the final at FB Fields in Jersey, Denmark defeated Italy by six wickets in a low-scoring match.

Denmark's 25-year-old captain Michael Pedersen believes his young and energetic side is completely focused on the UAE event. Introducing his side, he says: "Over the last year-and-a-half, we have built a reputation of being a side with a 'never-give-up-attitude', which in my opinion comes down to all the young and energetic guys in the team.

"Everyone has the will to go that extra mile for a team-mate, whether that being on or off the pitch. The team spirit is amazing because we all get along so well, and although we all compete for the same places on the team-sheet, everyone appreciates it when a team-mate does well.

"For me, this is a great sign because it gives us the opportunity to go from strength to strength together, since no player puts his own performance above the team. Our tournament win in Jersey/Guernsey was a good example of all this."

Pedersen is a left-handed top order batsman and an off-spinner. He has played in 19 List A matches in which he has scored 406 runs, including a century and two half-centuries. With the ball, he has taken two wickets. Pedersen was also a contracted player for the MCC Young Cricketers in 2006 and 2007 which has also helped him develop his game.

Pedersen's side is in Group A with Afghanistan, Netherlands, Canada, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Hong Kong, Bermuda and Nepal.

Looking ahead at the group, he says: "We last played Afghanistan, Netherlands and Bermuda in South Africa in 2009 and it seems they have brought in some new faces, just as we have. The core of their teams looks more or less the same as earlier, whereas we have built our game a lot more on a lot of guys chipping in with runs and wickets. We are probably less dependent on individuals than we have been in the past.

"Canada and Nepal will be the two sides of more unknown qualities. Our last meeting against Canada was in a warm-up match for the ICC Trophy in Ireland way back in 2005. But a lot has changed for both of us since then. In my time for Denmark, we have not played Nepal. So this will be a match where we do not quite know what to expect. Judging by their results leading up to the tournament, however, they are by no means a team to be taken lightly.

"We played PNG and Hong Kong in the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in Hong Kong in 2011. So, they will not be completely unknown to us. We lost to both of them, but as we have seen so many times with Twenty20 cricket, anything can happen. We will definitely be up for the challenge."

Talking about his side's preparations for the tournament, Pedersen says: "Our preparations started last year in September ? a couple of weeks after the end of our domestic season. This gave all the players a chance to get away, relax and recharge their batteries before the lead-up to this tournament.

"The program has been well-planned with an emphasis on the technical aspects of the game. Fitness has also been a major part of our preparations due to the hectic schedule with the seven group games in eight days.

"All in all, I have been impressed with the level of commitment, the intensity in the training, and the work ethic of all the players in the squad. To me, it looks as if we are ready to go."

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