ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
World Cup 2011
Canada youngsters eager to perform
February 11, 2011
For the past three months Canada's squad has been hard at work preparing for their country's fourth appearance at the World Cup.
In squad are five players aged 20 or younger - Nitish Kumar, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Hamza Tariq, Hiral Patel and Parth Desai - all five of whom played in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup team, and are now looking ahead to their first outing on the main stage.
"The Under-19 World Cup experience really helped me [become] knowledgeable of what level the other Under-19 players in the [ICC] member countries are at and how to fine tune my game to become a better cricketer," said stand-out batsman Gunasekera."A lot of players came through the Under-19 World Cup [team], so it was a good experience and I got to know what international cricket is going to be [like]," added fellow batsman Patel.
With such a young group, it's understandable to think the long road training for the World Cup would grow tiresome, but they see it as an experience they've been waiting for their entire lives. "My goal was to play in this World Cup in 2011 and I've been preparing for a much longer time than the three months," said Gunasekera. "From the day I picked up a bat my dream was to play at a World Cup and I think all of the players here that's what they dreamt of when they picked up a bat or a ball."
Since beginning their World Cup training process in India back in November, Canada have participated in a number of tours and the youngsters have been able to stay concerned with the task at hand to overcome the gruelling regime en route to the World Cup. "We don't think that far ahead when we're on other tours, so that's how we stay focused every time we go on tour," said Patel. "Yeah we're away from families but it's World Cup time."
Though it's a privilege for the young group to play on the world stage, participating amongst the elite is not the ultimate goal. Rather, producing results that have never been seen for Canada is on the minds of the youthful core.
"Make a name for Canada at the World Cup, since we've only won one game [at the World Cup]. The first thing that comes to my mind is Ireland reaching the Super 8 [at the] last World Cup, so I think we have to at least repeat that," said Gunasekera.
With such lofty goals the youngsters understand what it will take for the team to reach the quarter-finals. "We know what we have to do, what the team has to do to succeed, we all know our roles and goals, so it's hard to lose focus as long as we stick with the team," said backup wicketkeeper Tariq.
There's no shortage of experience on the Canadian roster and the younger members have used all the experience available to improve their own games, inheriting the enthusiastic work ethic the elder players demonstrate.
"Looking at all the senior players and how you get [there] pushes you when you're practising. You want to do what they've done to get to where they are right now," said Tariq. "They share their experiences with me so that's helped me a lot and they've gone through the system as well, so their experience I use as my guidelines to help me survive at this level," added Patel.
Though the older players are there to assist their younger counterparts, Gunasekera says it's ultimately up to the players themselves to improve. "I think all their experience [will] help you transition to the national system and once you're there I think it's up to you how you handle the situation and how to improve from there."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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Whatever happens, the Australia-New Zealand World Cup final at the MCG will be the most divine fun