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Rediff.com  » Cricket » India 'A' to tour Israel in July

India 'A' to tour Israel in July

April 10, 2008 15:56 IST

The Board of Control for Cricket in India will send a team to Israel for the first time, for a series of three 'One-day Internationals'.

This was confirmed on Thursday by BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, who said the board is in the process of "finalising arrangements" for the tour.

Prof. Shetty also confirmed that the team being sent will be a full-fledged India 'A' side.

The news was broken to GE Features by Stanley Perlman, chairman of the Israel Cricket Association, who said the team will tour Israel in July as part of the nation's 60th anniversary celebrations (Israel was founded in May 1948).

"This is sensational news for Israel cricket," said Perlman, speaking from his office in Tel Aviv. "It is a historical day, as I cannot think of any better country to tour Israel considering the rich history of cricket in India."

He said the matches will be played in Tel Aviv, Lod and, possibly, Eilat.

Israel has been an associate member of the International Cricket Council since 1974 and a founding member of the European Cricket Council in 1996.

Since cricket in Israel is well below international standard, the Israel Cricket Association has decided to field an 'Israel Invitation XI' consisting of prominent international players of Jewish extract from around the world.

This includes South African batsman Adam Bacher, nephew of former captain 'Ali' Bacher. Adam played 19 Tests from 1996 to 1999, with a top score of 96, and 13 ODIs, the last of which was in 2005. He is also an outstanding fielder.

Another international player in the Israeli side will be Roland Lefebvre, a former captain, considered the best cricketer the Netherlands has produced. 

There will also be three players with extensive experience in Australian first-class cricket -- Jon Moss and Michael Klinger (Victoria) and Steve Hirzberg (Tasmania).

Perlman also said another player -- "a really big name" -- would be making an appearance, but was not willing to reveal his identity yet. The team will be augmented with local players.

There are nearly 60,000 Indian Jews, mainly from Mumbai, who have settled in Israel and they dominate cricket at the domestic and international level. In India, less than 4,500 of the community remain.

Israel staged a full international match for the first time last November and were beaten by five runs by Croatia, in the ICC World Cricket League Division Three Playoffs.

Gulu Ezekiel/GE Features