Interview with former coach Andy Pick May 2, 2007

Canada must appoint a coach soon

Now that Andy Pick has dived back into coaching England Under-19 it's essential Canada replace him soon © Getty Images
Canada must appoint a coach soon if they are to qualify for the next World Cup, says Andy Pick their former coach. Pick, who has resumed his role with England Under-19 after his year-long sabbatical with Canada, has warned that, with the qualification stages in just 18 months, steps have to be taken now.

"It's essential to get a coach in place," he said. "If Canada miss out on qualification that will be a massive step backwards."

The importance of qualifying has taken on even more weight now that the ICC is likely to increase the amount of money given to the Associates on the back of its deal with ESPN. Without qualifying, then the gap between them and the Full Members could widen massively and so "they need to beg, steal or borrow to get a programme in place for the next 18 months."

While coaching Canada in their recent World Cup campaign was "a very, very enjoyable experience", Pick admits to being disappointed at the restrictions he found when it came to putting his ideas into practice. "It's frustrating. I was taken there as a Level 4 coach to implement frameworks and structures but there was no money to implement them. Money was between very, very tight and non-existent."

You can't buy consistency... but you can put in programs that help you be consistent

The ICC did contribute and, as Pick acknowledges, it's not a bottomless pit, but the conditions that came with the funding were, at times, restrictive. "They put the money in, but it's all ringfenced." Still, Pick believes the solution has to come from within: "Hopefully the national government will start funding cricket to a certain level." CCA were missing certain criteria to make them eligible for government assistance, but these are now being addressed. What's needed is an initial input of cash to fund appointments such as a marketing manager to raise more money and such schemes as a junior development programme, and "that's when it will get exciting."

There is enough potential, he says, within Canadian cricket: as so many play the game, there must be "a trickle, if not a stream, of natural talent." He adds: "It's just a question of putting programs in place."

Canada at the World Cup: "We showed glimpses of competitiveness" © Getty Images

And he is optimistic for Canada's future. He has identified that the artificial pitches and nets need to be replaced, where possible, with grass to improve techniques. He would start with Toronto, where 85% of the top players are based, and would change their nets and the Premier League pitches.

He admits the chief executive Ben Sennick's desire for Canada to be a Test team within ten years is a long-shot, but not impossible. "That vision is there." A more realistic goal is being a one-day outfit in the mould of Bangladesh and Kenya, and one that should be attained well within a decade.

He was encouraged, in parts, by Canada's display in the World Cup. "We showed glimpses of competitiveness. You can't buy consistency... but you can put in programs that help you be consistent. We've shown in places we have the ability." But only by playing more will they truly compete. And to play more the players have to be available and to be available they all of course need... money.

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo