Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club's vice-captain excited to be entering the history books with England O50s World Cup call-up
Sean Cooper is excited enough about making his England Cricket debut next week, let alone as part of the country’s first ever World Cup squad.
The 51-year-old flies out to Australia tomorrow as part of the England Counties 50+ team, for the age group’s inaugural World Cup.
The Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club’s vice-captain was named in the squad back in August, having made his debut for the side a year earlier.
The veteran right-arm medium pace bowler said: “There’s always some nerves before a normal game, let alone playing for your country at a World Cup. I’m very excited about it.
“It’s amazing to know I’m going to be a part of the first ever event, it’s special to get that opportunity.
“It’s a very proud moment to be asked to represent my country at any age group or event but to be asked to do it at a World Cup just adds to it all.”
The tournament will begin on November 20 with some warm-up games and a ‘Meet and Greet’, with England first in action the following day, against Sri Lanka at the Hurstville Oval in Sydney.
The competition has eight international sides taking part – with top cricketing nations England, hosts Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Pakistan joined by Wales and Canada.
“It’s hard to say what our chances are,” Cooper said. “Our team is made up of Minor County cricketers like me, not ex-professionals.
“We have Mel Hussain (brother of former England captain Nasser Hussain) but otherwise we’re a team of experience but not ex-professionals.
“Apparently we’re classed as fourth favourites and I’ve heard New Zealand, for example, are sending a really strong side, so we’ll have to see.
“We know we need to win five or six of our group-stage matches if we want to progress to the semi-finals, so it’s going to be tough.
“But, either way, it’s going to be an amazing experience – winning would just be incredible of course, but so is the chance to play against ex-Test match professionals.”
Each team will first play each other in a round-robin series before the top four progress to the semi-finals, to compete for a place in the Grand Final, to be contested on December 5.
The four teams that do not make the semi-finals will compete in the Cricket World Plate semi-finals before its own Grand Final on December 4.
The tournament will be a 45-over format, with unlimited batting but a limit of nine overs per bowler.
With the event taking place in Sydney, the second-ever Over-50s Ashes series will also be incorporated into the competition.
England’s round-robin match against the host nation on November 25 will double up as the first of three One Day Internationals making up the O50s Ashes, with the winners determined by a best-of-three format.
Cooper said: “It’s just the icing on the cake really, to also get to compete in an Ashes series. The first ever O50s Ashes took place last year, and we won it, so Australia are keen to claim it on home soil.”