ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Canada v New Zealand, World Cup 2011, Group A, Mumbai

No fear for focused Taylor

New Zealand know that Canada shouldn't cause them many problems and their stand-in captain was suitably bullish ahead of the contest

Nagraj Gollapudi in Mumbai

March 12, 2011

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John Davison is bowled by Ray Price, Canada v Zimbabwe, World Cup, Group A, Nagpur, February 28, 2011
John Davison has a good record against New Zealand but is having a poor World Cup © AFP
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Players/Officials: Ashish Bagai | John Davison | Ross Taylor
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup

Unsurprisingly for a team that won their previous match by 110 runs against Pakistan, a meeting with Canada doesn't hold any fears for New Zealand. Ross Taylor, their stand-in captain, believes if his team are assertive Canada are bound to crumble in Mumbai where the renovated Wankhede Stadium, the venue for the final next month, is staging its first game of the tournament.

"We know that if we can put the so called minnows under pressure earlier on, we can try to dominate from there," Taylor, who is covering for the injured Daniel Vettori, said confidently. "But we have to try and restrict them. We know the result should be a win,"

Taylor also ruled out New Zealand playing with the specific intention of bettering their net run-rate in order to strengthen their standing in terms of who they may face in the quarter-finals. "Net run rate may play a part but the focus is to win the next two games whether chasing or batting first," he said. "Playing Canada you don't start doing things differently compared to playing against India for example. You've got to do good preparation."

Taylor is leading New Zealand on the back of his thunderous, unbeaten 131 against Pakistan which included brutal assault in the final overs where New Zealand ransacked 112 runs from the final six overs. Kyle Mills and Tim Southee then bowled aggressively to demolish the Pakistan batting top order so maintaining that momentum is the key for New Zealand going forward.

"We know we are a good side," Taylor said. "We believe in each other to put up good performances. The confidence in the camp is getting higher. Once you are on a roll and in cricket if there is some momentum going you get a bit of confidence from the momentum and you start playing better."

His counterpart, Ashish Bagai, will expect nothing less from his own team either after they scored a convincing victory against an out-of-sorts Kenya in Delhi. That win came after demoralising losses in the first three matches. "We are getting better and better with each game, the performances if you have noticed is getting better and better," Bagai said.

But Canada have had some tough few weeks. At the outset they had singled out the contests against Zimbabwe and Kenya to earn points. However, the brittleness of the batting was exposed against Zimbabwe where, chasing 298, Canada's top six fell for 66. Bagai likened their team appearing the World Cup as turning up to the Olympics once every four years without enough quality preparation and didn't want to be too harsh on his batsmen, but admitted mistakes had been made.

"In the first three games, and even the practices games, it was disappointing for us with the bat," he said. "We talked about having some self-belief for the guys coming in, getting to another level. Yes, we have a few young guys up the order who are struggling. But I still feel that senior guys like me, John [Davison] and Rizwan [Cheema] have to take some responsibility. We did not do that. Hopefully, the last two games, we can use the last game as a confidence booster for us."

Davison, Canada's most senior batsman, needs to stand up for his team. He began the tournament with consecutive ducks before being left out and on his return he was moved into the middle order agains Kenya where he came in for the final moments. Canada have played New Zealand at the last two World Cups in South Africa and West Indies and, on both occasions, Davison has hit sparkling fifties - the first one in 2003 was the third fastest at the time. The time has come for Davison to refresh those memories and create a new mark.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Ellis on (March 13, 2011, 9:17 GMT)

All credit to the Canadian players for their commitment and enthusiasm. However, being a professional cricketer in Canada is about as effective as being a sled dog driver in the Sahara. There is neither the structure nor the money to enable meaningful participation at the international level. Century makers and wicket takers in the Canadian leagues have to up their games several levels to compete internationally, and usually are unable to do so. Canadian cricketing ambitions far exceed the capabilities of the best players. There is certainly no harm in trying, but, reality must take hold sometime. Participation in a second or third level tier of international cricket makes sense. At this time, any higher level will be fruitless and discouraging.

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