Mumbai: India have announced a 16-member squad for the Over 50s cricket World Cup to be held in South Africa next year. The team consists of former Ranji Trophy players, club cricketers and those who play on the international circuit. The team was selected after a gruelling selection process, which lasted for over four days in Mumbai. 

The tournament will be played in Cape Town and Stellenbosch in South Africa, between March 10 and 24, 2020. The final is at Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town, on March 24.

Also read: Danish Kaneria ill-treated in Pakistan for being a Hindu

The team was selected by the members of the India Over 50s Association (which is spearheading this initiative) and ad man Shailendra Singh who is the captain of the team. Those selected include captain Shailendra, Iqbal Khan, Mayank Khandwala, Parak Ananta, Tushar Jhaveri, Ashwani Arora, Preetinder Singh, Aadil Chagla, PG Sunder, Pradeep Patel, Verinder Bhoombla, Thomas George, Sanjay Beri, Deepak Chadha, Dilip Chavan and Srikanth Satya.

Also read: Selection trials in Mumbai for Over 50s World Cup

The team includes former Ranji Trophy players like Iqbal, who is the vice-captain of the team, Sunder and Beri.

The 16-member squad was unveiled in the presence of actor Suniel Shetty, who is not only a huge cricket fan but also the brain behind Ferit Cricket Bash, which was launched last year with former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan. Shetty is also the captain of the Mumbai Heroes cricket team in the Celebrity Cricket League (CCL).

"It's a joy to back this exciting foray India is making into over 50 cricket. I've always believed that one should never stop what they love doing. And this tournament allows the passion for cricket to only grow in a country where the sport is embedded in every person and street," said Shetty.

India are to play their first match of the over 50s tournament on March 5, 2020, against England. This is the first time India will be taking part in the over 50s World Cup and are placed in the Pool ‘B’ with Pakistan, England, Wales, Namibia and South Africa. Pool 'A’ includes Australia, West Indies, New Zealand, Canada, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.

As Indian captain, Singh is more than happy with his team. “We couldn't have asked for a better composition of energetic veterans to do the country proud. Each player brings with him decades of experience in the field of cricket as well as life, which contributes to building a strong team with the right attitude. We have a rigorous routine of training sessions, and we can't wait to begin in full swing. The adrenaline is running high,” Singh said.

Ajoy Roy, the president of the India Over 50s Association, who is spearheading the Indian initiative said, “I was determined to have India on the map of Over 50s cricket and it's extremely satisfying to see the team shape up bit by bit. Each member’s sensibility adds a special element to the team and I'm sure they will give it their all to make our country proud.”