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The Canadian Cricket Association national selectors have named their 30-man winter training squad. This pool will be used to select the playing squads for the tours to South Africa, later this year, and Kenya, early next year. These tours set the stage for next year’s Cricket World Cup in the West Indies. Accordingly, the tours focus on One-Day International matches.
The players will undergo fitness and training programs that have been prepared by National Coach Andy Pick. The nucleus of the squad is from Ontario but includes players from British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta. There is a base of veteran players and others who made their mark with the national team this summer. Six others come into the squad.
The veteran base includes players such as John Davison, Ian Billcliff and George Codrington. It also has the opening bowling pairing of Henry Osinde and Umar Bhatti, commonly regarded as the best opening bowing pair within the ICC Associates. Geoff Barnett, Abdool Samad and Jyoti.
The highlight of the Kenyan trip is the inaugural ICC World Cricket League Division 1. The participants are Kenya, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Bermuda and The Netherlands. The South African trip includes the 4-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match with the Netherlands. Canada has an excellent chance of winning their group, which would see the team reach the final.
This announcement of the winter training squad came on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Those in the Canadian Cricket community can give thanks for Canada’s long cricketing history, but, more importantly, let’s look forward in the hope the game can realize it’s potential in this country.
Scratching the surface of the 30 man squad reveals heritage relationships with Australia, Barbados, India, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, Pakistan, St. Kitts, Sri Lanka and Uganda.
There is the need to ensure the rich global and sporting heritages of cricket are engendered into our youth. They, hopefully, will flower and in turn pass the candle to future generations.
Further potential exists to broaden the cultural base of Canadian cricket with initiatives to attract. During a cricket promotional event at Downsview Park on Canada Day people of many backgrounds tried out the sport. Some had English and French heritage with current sporting interests in hockey, baseball, American and Canadian Football and hockey. Bring them back to the fold!
It was easy to attract the interest of those with West Indian and Indian subcontinent heritage to join in. Possibly the highlight of the day was a lady from Bangladesh bowling to a female Korean teenager. Other participants included people of Chinese, Russian and Austrian blood. A couple from Japan, now working in Toronto, went to the Kenya Intercontinental Cup match at King City.
Young and old, men and women. Cricket – Canadian cricket - can attract them all….but it must have the will and make the effort. It needs visibility and transparency. Not just on the playing fields, but ‘Beyond the Boundary’. There’s a lot of interest and potential goodwill out there for cricket.
The future of Canadian cricket depends on the blending of well thought out, and approved, strategies and plans together with the resources to implement, or exceed, those plans. Hopes must be blended with realism.
The infrastructure of the game needs to develop. This is turn is dependent upon resources and commitment. Resource needs include both human capital and obtaining the necessary financing and sponsorships to achieve and sustain development.
Can Canadian cricket pull together and capitalize on the goodwill? I know I am not alone in hoping it can. Hope springs eternal. Realism? Time will tell.
Squad Desmond Chumney, Sandeep Jyoti, Pubudu Dassanayake, George Codrington , Sunil Dhaniram, Abdool Samad, Trevin Bastiampillai, Surendra Seeraj, Durand Soraine , Brian Rajadurai, Asif Mulla, Ashish Bagai, Don Maxwell, Austin Codrington, Umar Bhatti, Henry Osinde, Sanjay Thuraisingham, Anderson Cummins, Geoff Barnett, Ian Bilcliff , Haninder Dhillon, John Davison, Kevin Sandher, Steve Welsh, Qaiser Ali, Khrunalbai Patel, Naresh Patel, Abdul Jabbar Chaudrey, Orson Greaves.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.