Published December 10th, 2019
Winner of the 2019 Finnish T20 Premier League Championship, Helsinki Cricket Club, will be the torch carrier and be the first Finnish team to play in the illustrious European Cricket League in 2020. Established in 1972, Helsinki Cricket Club is the oldest registered cricket club in Finland. Having won the top prize in Finnish cricket several times, Helsinki Cricket Club appreciates the honour and have already started their preparations for the upcoming games.
“Within Finland we have been quite strong in One Day format of the game. With hard work and continuous training, we also managed to get things right and championing the T20 format of the game as well”, comments Helsinki Cricket Club’s President Zahoor Khan.
“We have already started our training indoors, even though it is usually below zero degrees outside in Finland. We know that our strength is our team, we will try to focus on our fitness and leave no stone unturned”, says Helsinki Cricket Club’s Captain Zahidullah ”Niki” Kamal.
“It is a privilege to play the game among the best in Europe of course. We will try to play our natural game and enjoy it. Being the first Finnish team entering ECL makes us the mystery team, which could work in our favour with opponents not knowing our game. Hopefully we can turn the surprise element to our advantage”, continues Kamal.
Three of the Finnish National Cricket Team, aka Finnish Bears, represent Helsinki Cricket Club: Aniketh Pusthay, Adnan Syed and Maneesh Chauhan. Aniketh Pusthay was Helsinki Cricket Club’s top run scorer in 2019 with 408 Runs in the Finnish T20 Premier League.
“Helsinki Cricket Club has done great work with their membership development and with their training programme. Being the oldest Finnish cricket club gives them a heritage to build on, but today no club can take the future for granted as there is so much competition for people’s free time. Helsinki Cricket Club sets a great example and them playing in ECL next summer is a fantastic achievement that builds extra excitement among all Finnish cricket enthusiasts and the whole community. Suddenly, winning the next Finnish championship in 2020 to qualify for ECL 2021 brings a whole new level of inspiration to all participating teams”, says Andrew Armitage, Chairman of the Finnish Cricket Association.
The European Cricket League (“ECL”) is the Champions League of cricket in Europe. Founded by Daniel Weston, Roger Feiner, Frank Leenders and Thomas Klooz and hailed as a cricketing equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, the second staging – ECL20 – will be played from May 31- June 7, 2020.
Weston has outlined 5 clear goals for the ECL, all in line with Cricket Finland’s development strategy:
1. Develop the ECL to motivate today’s cricketers in Europe to join a club and become champions of their National domestic league to receive an invite to the ECL.
2. Create heroes of today’s European cricketers by giving them a platform on the world stage.
3. Inspire parents to involve their children, in local cricket clubs so they aspire to play in the ECL and national teams.
4. Ensure the ECL objective is clear (it’s the European Cricket League for European based cricketers), credible (only the National domestic champion team can play and entertaining (with an action packed T10 format).
5. Create a sustainable sporting and business platform which will make cricket the number one summer sport in Europe.
Helsinki Cricket Club is established in 1972 and it is the oldest, registered cricket club in Finland. The home grounds of the team is Kapylan Liikuntapuisto. The club own the following titles: Finnish T20 Premier League 2019, One Day Premier League 2019, Finnish T20 Division 2 League 2019 and Finnish T20 Premier League 2018
Niki Kamal, club captain, Helsinki Cricket Club, p. 050 566 3626
Andrew Armitage, National Development Director, Suomen Krikettiliitto, p. 050 323 7099