England XI captain predicts exhilarating play at the ECC

Lincoln in action, batting for the Kent Spitfires. SUR
Lincoln in action, batting for the Kent Spitfires. SUR
  • Dan Lincoln speaks to SUR in English ahead of the England XI debut at the European Cricket Championship 2021 at the Cártama Cricket Oval

The captain of the England XI team in the European Cricket Championship, Dan Lincoln told SUR in English this week that he is confident that the side will achieve a good result in Cártama next week.

Running until 8 October, the inaugural tournament features 15 teams from all over Europe including Finland, the Netherlands and Germany.

Making his captaining debut for the England XI side, Lincoln says it is an immense privilege to have been selected to lead the team in this new European tournament.

Lincoln said, "This is definitely a highlight of my career, as being asked to travel, play and represent the nation in any capacity is a real honour, and something that myself and the boys are really looking forward to."

All members of the team have played some form of second level county cricket or first-class international cricket and have been selected on merit through their "excellent contributions", added Lincoln.

The 26-year-old captain has high aspirations that the team will qualify and make it through to the Championship week at the beginning of October.

Lincoln described the most important challenge as the need for the team to "gel as quickly as possible" but is optimistic that, because many of the players have competed against and know each other well, this will be easily achieved.

Used to the longer format of county cricket, having played most of his cricket for Berkshire County Cricket Club, he is excited to see how his team fares in the fast-paced environment created by the shorter T10 structure (a single innings restricted to a maximum of ten overs per side).

A hard-hitting batter himself, he feels particularly suited to the shorter format and feels that the combination of talent joining him in Malaga should make for some exhilarating play.

It is important for Lincoln to emphasise the accessibility to the sport brought to fans through the T10 structure of the tournament.

Hoping that the format will appeal to new fans, he believes that the profile of cricketing supporters is getting younger, and so the shorter and more exciting the game, the higher the attraction.

Though he acknowledges that test match cricket is "the pinnacle of the sport", he argues that it is important to note that millions more people play amateur, one-day and T20 cricket.

T10 cricket is great for younger players, he said. "We've seen more so than ever this season that players are starting to play from younger ages such as 18, 19, 20, 21 - which has not always been the case."

This allows the possibility for more people to get involved.

Lincoln is convinced that the mix of quick and spin bowlers - "it will be interesting to see how they fare on the Astroturf wickets" - and talented batters provides the perfect combination to win the tournament, as they are "covered on all bases".

Considering the countries' lack of experience on cricket's international stage, Lincoln has been surprised at the calibre of some nations in the competition.

"It widens everyone's eyes to the cricketing world," he said, adding that it clears the path for other nations to emerge as talents at a global level.

Spain and Belgium in particular have been very strong, having gone through to finals week, while the Netherlands are also looking very good.

When prompted to express his views on the role that the European Cricket Championship will play in the cricketing world as a whole, Lincoln said. "The tournament is a great way to reach as many people as possible: locals, fans, families. It is a great advert for the sport."

With England XI being among the favourites to win the tournament, Lincoln says that they will focus on "showcasing our skills, highlighting what we can do and hopefully the wins will follow suit".