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07/12/2005
WILLSTROP TO LEAD ENGLAND'S WORLD TITLE BID

Yorkshire's 22-year-old James Willstrop will now lead England for the first time

In a late change to the team order on the eve of the Men's World Team Squash Championships in Pakistan, Yorkshire's 22-year-old James Willstrop will now lead England for the first time when the event gets underway tomorrow (Thursday) at the Roshan Khan Complex and the Mushaf Squash Complex in Islamabad.

England are favourites to reclaim the title they won in 1995 and 1997. When the seedings were announced last month by the World Squash Federation, Willstrop was nominated as the team's third string, behind former world number ones Lee Beachill and Peter Nicol, the 1999 world champion.

But, following the former world junior champion's success in winning the Qatar Classic in Doha last month, Willstrop leapt six places to No2 in the December PSA world rankings with Beachill staying at five and Peter Nicol slipping to eight.

Willstrop will now lead England - ahead of Beachill; Nicol, a semi-finalist in last week's Men's World Open in Hong Kong; and world No10 Nick Matthew. With four players in the world top ten, England are fielding one of the strongest teams in the history of the championships.

Event hosts Pakistan Squash Federation have announced that the full title of the event will now be the Big Time Men's World Team Squash Championships following a sponsorship agreement with Pakistan telephone card company Big Time.

Top seeds England begin their World Championships campaign against 13/18 seeds Kuwait in Pool A, while hosts Pakistan, the seventh seeds and six-times champions between 1977 and 1993, take on Scotland, also 13/18 seeds, in Pool F.

Fourth seeds Australia take on 19/22 seeds USA to begin their defence of the title they won for the record eighth time in 2003.

1999 champions Egypt, led by the new World Open champion Amr Shabana, are the event's second seeds who face event newcomers Iran in their opening tie.

The pool line-ups (with seeding in brackets) are:
Pool A: [1] England, [12] South Africa, [13/18] Kuwait, [19/22] Austria
Pool B: [2] Egypt, [11] New Zealand, [13/18] Germany, [19/22] Iran
Pool C: [3] France, [10] India, [13/18] Ireland
Pool D: [4] Australia, [9] Netherlands, [13/18] Finland, [19/22] USA
Pool E: [5] Canada, [8] Wales, [13/18] Hong Kong
Pool F: [6] Malaysia, [7] Pakistan, [13/18] Scotland, [19/22] Spain

 

   

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