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Davison's 'withdrawal' undermines Canada's WC plans

Faraz Sarwat

December 30, 2010

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

John Davison speaks to the media after Canada's warm-up loss to Ireland, University of West Indies stadium, near Port of Spain, March 8, 2007
John Davison has sought an explanation for the absence of Ian Billcliff and Geoff Barnett © Getty Images

Canada's World Cup preparations have been dealt a significant blow with opener John Davison, one of their key players, withdrawing from the World Cup squad over the exclusion of fellow batsmen Geoff Barnett and Ian Billcliff. He has told Cricket Canada he would be withdrawing until the pair are given the reasons for their exclusion from Canada's 30-man preliminary line-up for the tournament.

In an e-mail to Cricket Canada, where he called into question the competence of Canada's chairman of selectors Chris James, Davison wrote, "I am embarrassed to be selected in the squad of 30 when players who have been long-time servants have been omitted, and given no valid reason for their non-selection. It is with great regret that I have to withdraw my availability until these players have been given answers to some very simple questions."

Billcliff and Barnett played a significant role in Canada's qualification for the World Cup. However, commitments outside of cricket, as well as distance - Davison lives in Australia, while Barnett and Billcliff live in New Zealand - have limited the trio's availability, something that has contributed to Canada's inconsistent performances over the years.

In November, Canada undertook a preparatory tour of India to play against club teams. It was initially envisaged that this tour was compulsory for players wishing to be considered for World Cup selection. Billcliff's work commitments prevented him from going on tour, but Barnett was available for the final leg. As the tour progressed Cricket Canada re-evaluated the weight it wished to give to the tour, considering that Canadian players of Pakistani origin could not make the trip to India due to visa issues. With key players missing all around, Canada advised Barnett and Davison that they were not required to be on the tour. Yet it appears that not going on the India tour is what is being held against Billcliff.

"In regards to Ian Billcliff, if Barnett and myself were not required to be in India for selection, then surely he doesn't need to be?" asked Davision in his e-mail. Barnett did not receive any official communication from Cricket Canada about his non-selection in the 30-man squad.

Cricket Canada's president Ranjit Saini, who maintains that he stays out of team selection, has asked the vice-president in charge of the senior men's team to submit a complete report on the matter. "Without having a complete briefing on all of this, I do feel that we owe Geoff Barnett an explanation (for his non-selection). He has performed really well for us over the years."

Regarding Davison's potential withdrawal from the team Saini said that it was something that would be discussed with the player. "This is an internal matter and it's normal for a player to ask for an explanation about selection. I think JD's (Davison) position is that he just wants the communication gap closed with the two players (Barnett and Billcliff)."

Saini went on to say that if Davison is available he has a lot to offer Canadian cricket at the World Cup and beyond. "At the World Cup we see him as having a leadership role with the younger players in the team. We've selected players like JD and Balaji Rao who are mature, experienced and knowledgeable about the game, to guide the young force we've assembled."

Faraz Sarwat is the cricket columnist for the Toronto Star and the author of The Cricket World Cup: History, Highlights, Facts and Figures

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Comments: 7 
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Posted by ray on (January 1, 2011, 22:08 GMT)

@ Canuck44 I agree completely with your opinion here. The typical thinking that "the most experienced players should be in the team", does not encourage healthy competition and doesn't allow the real talent to emerge simply because same set of people are given opportunity again and again. For once the selection committee has taken a great stand because it should not be about the team NOW, it should be about expanding the pool of players to provide with the best alternatives. The young players whose stats in the domestic cricket show real talent should be put up on the pedestal now to allow them to gain valuable experience, which would definitely allow much needed improvement for the Canadian team in the near future.

Posted by boxer on (December 31, 2010, 17:51 GMT)

@L.Pearce on lananad comment i read ur first post and do agree with the state of cricket internationally, however, the strongest team does not include these two, experienced as they are i doubt if anyone of the THREE will be playing for Canada in a years time, lets get the youngster some of that experience so that by the next year we can have a competitive team that i can be proud to stand and shout im a Canadian Cricket team Fan!

Posted by boxer on (December 31, 2010, 17:40 GMT)

So what JD is saying that those 3 old men has been representing/losing for Canada for so long that any time a team is picked they should be included. Well Mr. Chris James is finally doing what no one else had the courage to do. I dont see how having a team with old out of shape players is going to Canada past the first stage of ant tournament. There is heaps of talented young cricketers in Canada who we must try and groom to better our cricketing future. We can no longer allow an elitist group of past prime-time player to curtail the development of these young men. It is a shame that JD thinks he must come out against the selectors, did he ask the reason for his inclusion? I do hope CC let him stay in Australia as his exclusion will leave a place for a young athlete to perform on the world stage and receive valuable experience. Thanks for your service Mr. Davidson, Mr. Barnett, and Mr. Billcliff may you find peace in your retirement.

Posted by Levi on (December 31, 2010, 16:40 GMT)

@lananad... clearly you are not a supporter of Canada if you had any idea you would have took notice of my previous comment. Canada are not my no.1 team however it is even in my best interests of not just Canada but all cricketing nations to put an end to this all to frequent situation. Saini/James should have picked the strongest/experienced 30 in the first placed then if said issue did arise deal with it justly. people like you who irritate me the most and are the sort of which who should never be put in charge of such things.

Posted by lananad on (December 31, 2010, 14:58 GMT)

This is absolutely crap from JD.He should be glad to plat in WC at the age of 40.I cannot understand why he's backing those two guys. Then he should stand up from dropping Daniram who has done much more to Canadian Cricket. Canada has so many talented youth.it is better off to give them an opportunity rather than going behind bunch of old guys who does'nt even play competitive cricket.My Hats off to the selectors courage. greate job ....

Posted by Levi on (December 31, 2010, 5:21 GMT)

this sort of thing really gets on my nerve. its the same story all over the world. you really have to wonder about the people running the game for the respective countries and whether or not the teams/players best interests are a priority. just resolve the issue; explain why barnett and billcliff where not selected so davison plays then include said players in the official 15 for the WC. problem solved and canada have some chance of fielding their best side which all in all should be in the best interest of whoever runs the game (ranjit saini, chris james) get your act together, run things how they should be and give canada the respectful decentcey it deserves of fielding its best team and competing against test sides as best it can. its bad enough they are without samad, dhaniram and sandher.

Posted by mau on (December 30, 2010, 12:27 GMT)

From the look of it, it does not seem to be worng on JD's part. CC needs to be dragged in public at times and made anwerable. Barnett was not needed for India tour and they used the India tour excuse against Billy. Pretty sad as these two have played very well for Canada. WC, and probably the last one for associates, is not a place for younsters. It is putting your best possible side out. Not sure if CC can include Billy and Barnett now...to give credit to JD, he has just asked that explanation be given to both the players on thir omission. He know's that there is none... Without JD, the WC is over.

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