Canada ready for Caribbean T20
After spending December trapped in by snow and bad weather, Pubudu Dassanayake, the Canada coach, is thrilled that his team are playing in the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament just prior to the World Cup.
Canada completed a training camp on Wednesday and will play the tournament, which will be between January 10 and 23. With the World Cup just over a month away Dassanayake is thankful that the team will get some valuable match practice.
"When I thought about it, here [in Toronto], there's snow and you have to be indoors, and, if you go to the Caribbean, you're going to face all the top quality bowlers, you're going to play on good grounds and facilities," Dassanayake told CBC.ca.
Ravin Moorthy, Canada's high performance manager, echoed the sentiment and reassured that the change in format won't affect his side's preparations. "It's a slightly different format than what we'll face in the World Cup [with its 50 overs], but it's an opportunity to play against good quality cricketers in a well-organised tournament with good facilities," said Moorthy.
"It's a good opportunity for guys to get outside, play some cricket outdoors and dust off some of the cobwebs."
Canada are in Group B at the Caribbean T20, along with Barbados, Hampshire Royals, Leeward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago and play their opening game against Hampshire on January 11.
"What we want to achieve, of course, is to win," Dassanayake said. "But at the same time, it's all about going with the same plans we're going to have in the World Cup. Having the same batting order, trying to improve our fielding as a group and the variations of how we use our bowlers, is all of the stuff we're going to work on this tour as a preparation towards the World Cup."
Moorthy felt being together for nearly a year has done the team plenty of good and he hopes they will be ready to play their best cricket by the time the World Cup comes around. "At this stage, it's not so much technical remediation; it's learning how to bring your best performance onto the top stage."
It has not all been plain sailing however, with Canada's all-time leading run scorer John Davison deciding last month to withdraw from the squad until further explanation was given for the omission of batsmen Geoff Barnett and Ian Billcliff from the World Cup squad.
The turmoil is sure to have rocked the camp but Moorthy is confident the bond between the team is strong enough to overcome the loss and Dassanayake backed the youngsters to make up for Davison's absence.
"It's a group that has very little challenges as everybody seems to enjoy each other's company so, from that perspective, it's a pleasure to be a part of," said Moorthy. "Everybody's on the same page and everyone is really focused towards doing something.
"The youngsters that we have, especially Nitish Kumar, Hiral Patel, Ruvindu Gunasekera and Parth Desai, have the talent to be at that level," Dassanayake said. "Even though they're young, you can see that these guys came a long way and they do things like senior players. I'm expecting them to perform in the World Cup and put on a good show."