ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Canada v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup 2011, Colombo
Struggling Canada hope to compete
The Preview by Siddhartha Talya
March 2, 2011
Match FactsMarch 3, Colombo
Start time 14.30 (0900 GMT)
Features : Pakistan finally focus on fielding
News : Pakistan mull changes ahead of Canada game
News : Self-belief key to recovery, says Davison
News : Razzaq wants larger role
News : Rehman to miss Canada match
Matches: Canada v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS)
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
The Big Picture
A game between two countries continents apart will be infused with a strong South Asian flavour on Thursday. Canada's been the adopted home of more than a million immigrants from the subcontinent, including the bulk of the national team, and the Toronto suburbs of Brampton, Missisauga and Scarborough, each with a significant South Asian population, will have some watching the potential mismatch with more than a reasonable interest.
There's much at stake for Canada. Their performances, including a meek surrender against Zimbabwe, have, in the eyes of many, justified the ICC's decision to shrink the next World Cup. Some of their more experienced players weren't picked in the World Cup squad; instead, five players from the Under-19 level, fresh to international cricket, were given a go, raising concerns over whether the best-available XV were selected. Their senior cricketers, Ashish Bagai and John Davison, have failed to step up. The only consolation is that their group members, Kenya, have had a worse time this tournament. For those at home with competing loyalties, a determined display against Pakistan would prove a satisfactory result.
Pakistan, eyeing a third straight win, would want a performance as dominating as the one against Kenya, but it remains to be seen whether they choose to tweak their combinations in a game with little room for surprise.
(completed matches, most recent first)
Watch out for...
Mohammad Hafeez: He has proven to be a reliable opener for Pakistan since the start of 2010, but has often been dismissed after getting a good look-in at the crease. Hafeez has made three half-centuries and a ton, apart from a spate of 30s, in the last year. He's gifted with timing, is solid in defence and has the ability to bat out an innings. The Canadian bowling offers him a a good chance to dig in.
John Davison: The oldest player in the competition and Canada's big-name player has had a horrible two games with ducks in each. There was little hope against Sri Lanka in a mammoth chase but his team needed a strong start from Davison against Zimbabwe, an opposition Canada had hoped to beat at the start of the tournament. Without any impetus at the start of the innings, the rest of the Canadian batting appears to switch focus to survival rather than pushing on. With so much responsibility on his shoulders, Davison needs to set an example.
The fitness status of Henry Osinde remains unclear, but it would be worth it to promote their frontline batsman, Zubin Surkari, and allrounder Rizwan Cheema up the order. They batted at No.7 and No.6 respectively against Zimbabwe, coming in well after the game had been decided. There is also talk of Davison moving down the order.
Canada (possible): 1 John Davison, 2 Nitish Kumar, 3 Ruvindu Gunasekera, 4 Ashish Bagai, 5 Rizwan Cheema, 6 Zubin Surkari, 7 Jimmy Hansra, 8 Tyson Gordon, 9 Khurram Chohan, 10 Harvir Baidwan, 11 Balaji Rao.
Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman has been ruled out of Thursday's game with an injury to his adductor muscle; offspinner Saeed Ajmal could well make his World Cup debut. Misbah-ul-Haq has a hamstring niggle but is expected to be fit while there is uncertainty over whether Pakistan will rest Shoaib Akhtar. If they do, left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz could be picked.
Pakistan (possible): 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Kamran Akmal (wk), 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi (capt), 8 Abdul Razzaq, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Shoaib Akhtar/Wahab Riaz.
Stats and trivia
- The Canadian squad features three Pakistan-born players - Rizwan Cheema, Khurram Chohan and Hamza Tariq. Chohan has been part of the Pakistan Under-19 team.
- Shahid Afridi became the 11th bowler to take 300 wickets in ODIs during his four-wicket haul against Sri Lanka. He is the first Pakistan spinner and the third overall to achieve that feat.
- The two teams last met in an ODI in the 1979 World Cup. The South Asian presence in the Canadian XI back then was limited to two players.
"Personally for me, it's more of a mental game. I am 40 years old and probably have those self-doubts... do I have the ability to perform at this level?"
John Davison admits his problem is in the mind.
"We are thinking about it [of resting Shoaib] but then again, at this age or time, sometimes rest is not good, because you want to get that rhythm and momentum going."