Canadian cricket January 16, 2007

Frustrations for Canada ahead of World Cup

Eddie Norfolk

Just before leaving for Canada's trip to Kenya, national coach Andy Pick passed on some of his thoughts. Overall he was upbeat and looking forward to a busy tour. "As time ticks down to the World Cup, we have to look at and identify roles for the personnel in this team; to see who fills each role best. The importance of the World Cricket League with a Twenty20 Championship place in to be won (and the $250,000 from the ICC that goes with it) means we must go out and try to win. We can't use this event to experiment with players."

Some of the Associate coaches control player selections, but this is not the case in Canada. Pick admitted: "It is frustrating that we cannot name our World Cup squad now (before the WCL trip). Time might be spent on a player or players in Kenya who are not named for the World Cup. It's very frustrating, but the bottom line is it is very prestigious to qualify for the Twenty20."

Looking beyond the Kenya squad, he said: "there are a couple of the overseas batters not available for Kenya who are likely to be in the World Cup squad." I am sure he was thinking in terms of opener Geoff Barnett (contracted to Central Districts) and Ian Billcliff (personal reasons - his wife is expecting a baby)."

"We can look at the encouraging performances in South Africa and look to players to step up again and look for continuing improvement through to the World Cup."

12 of the 13 named for South Africa are in the 15-man squad for the Tri-Nations and WCL series in Kenya. Given limited facilities for other players to prepare adequately, especially those outside the Greater Toronto area, it seems imperative for the core squad to do at least as well in Kenya as in South Africa.

That still leaves some additional steps to climb when it comes to the likes of New Zealand and even England. But the core players have been working hard and, in my opinion, deserve their chance at the World Cup. Even so, there may be some disappointments for some of the current squad when it comes to the World Cup.