UAE v Canada, ICC Intercontinental Cup, Sharjah November 16, 2004

'Davison's absence gives others a chance' - Billcliff

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Ian Billcliff, Canada's captain, has said that John Davison's absence would be felt during their ICC Intercontinental Cup semi-final against UAE at Sharjah, but that it would give others a chance to display their skills. He believed that the team's sense of self was a strength, and though they had not played UAE much, they would reply on getting their basics right in order to win.

"John is obviously a very important player for us and has been our most successful performer in the qualifying matches so it goes without saying that he will be missed," said Billcliff. "But his absence gives some of the others a chance to shine. We've got some good players and I'm still confident we can do well."

Billcliff said that the experience his team got in the tournament would be vital, and that facing different countries and conditions hurried their learning. "Any opportunity we have to play cricket against quality opposition is a great experience for us. Playing in different countries against varied opposition is a very steep learning curve, and what we have experienced so far is that the team that comes to terms with the conditions the quickest and executes their plans efficiently comes out on top.

"It [playing the three-day game] definitely has been helpful to learn to be able to build an innings and to be patient with the ball and build pressure. The experience will definitely benefit the team's growth and I think that we have grown closer as a unit over the series of three-day games. The wearing pitch is the biggest factor. To be able to adapt one's game as the match progresses is the key.

"We have had limited experience playing these teams so there will have to be a lot of input from various members of the team. There will be a fair bit of thinking on our feet but in the end it is a fairly simple game, and the team that executes the basics the best will win the tournament.