ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Australia v Canada, Group A, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

Bagai calls for regular competitive cricket

Sriram Veera at the Chinnaswamy Stadium

March 16, 2011

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Ashish Bagai drives during his 39, Australia v Canada, Group A, World Cup, Bangalore, March 16, 2011
Ashish Bagai scored 39 against Australia to cap off a World Cup in which he also got two fifties © AFP

Ashish Bagai, the Canada captain, has said that if cricket has to grow as a sport in Canada the locals have to take up the game. "Cricket is mainly played by expats from India, Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia and our team is representative of that cricket culture," Bagai said after Canada's loss to Australia in their last game of this World Cup. "It's important to get the locals to play if we are to get support from corporates or the government."

Canada doesn't have a domestic structure in place and Bagai sought help from the ICC and the Test-playing countries to improve the state of cricket in Canada. "We need to keep playing competitive cricket over the next few years. It would be great if we can have A-team tours from other countries, or get to participate in domestic competitions elsewhere."

Bagai pointed how all the four Associate teams have shown improvement as the tournament progressed and cited it as evidence for the need for more exposure. "The guys from the four teams have started to come out of their shells. Six games are not enough to do that. We need to keep playing competitive cricket over the next four years."

Some of the Canada players take part in the Sri Lankan domestic circuit, and Bagai said they needed more such initiatives; else they might lose young players like Hiral Patel. Bagai said playing on the English county circuit could do wonders, but Canada don't have an easy entry. "The European players get to play as locals in England but we need to play as overseas players and therefore it is not easy to get contracts." English counties can only play two overseas players in the domestic Twenty20 competition and one in four-day games.

Canada did participate in the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies earlier this year, and finished fourth in their group.

Bagai also spoke about the initiatives that the Canada board is undertaking to spread the game. "The board is trying to instill it in grass-roots levels, in schools and trying to get the locals to play."

Looking back at the tournament Bagai chose the bowling as the highlight. "Our bowlers were fantastic; they were world-class. Some of the young batsmen got good knocks which will hold them well in the future. They need to use it and keep working hard over the next few years. The overall experience of playing this tournament has been a great one. We have to keep improving and make Canada a lot stronger in the next five years."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 25 
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Posted by Finn on (March 18, 2011, 16:20 GMT)

Fact of the matter is that the Test nations have no incentive to help out these Associates, it's all about money and sadly these boards don't want to send their A-teams out for a month or two when they can use the money on an extra Twenty20 match somwhere! The ICC should step in

Posted by Bede on (March 17, 2011, 9:49 GMT)

Canada should definately set up a domestic league and invest in the next generation coming through in a few years time. Don't kick the associates out of the next CWC

Posted by Zuber on (March 17, 2011, 8:00 GMT)

Zimbabwe and Kenya should be replaced with Ireland, Nederlands and Canada who have continued to show growth over the years. It would be great for cricket to spread worldwide....wider than it already has.

Posted by ashok on (March 17, 2011, 5:33 GMT)

Indians are the most loyal fellows where ever they go and who ever they work for... Jai Ram Ji ki... Ashish, Definitely Canada has a good potential...

Posted by Senyo on (March 17, 2011, 4:34 GMT)

Monday morning I did an interview with CTV News, lunch time edition, and my sentiments were similar. Good job Ashish! In Canada we need a solid first class structure in place with franchises to top it all off. Admittedly, there are numerous developmental, structural and un-named hurdles that need to be overcome, but it is possible.

Posted by Cricket Fan on (March 17, 2011, 3:59 GMT)

Yes test playing nations should help all other countries to develop cricket globally

Posted by Philip on (March 17, 2011, 3:45 GMT)

I'm not surprised the minnows improved as the tournament went on. They need more cricket, not less.

Posted by Dre on (March 17, 2011, 3:39 GMT)

What he's saying is clear common sense. EVRY1 who follows the game KNOW that Bangladesh were in super poor condition when they got test status but through continuous playing vs test nations they have IMPROVED and now are above the associates. If a team like Ire, who clearly look more promising than Bangladesh's first test team, gets an opportunity to play more often against test nations, they WILL improve dramatically and become competitive in I believe (my opinion) less than ten yrs.

Posted by sathish kumar on (March 17, 2011, 3:27 GMT)

Gr8 to see nations like canada playing competitive cricket and showing interest to improve, I hope they quickly grow as srilanka did. Let cricket spread to all nations, ICC shud start making concrete plans towrads this.

Posted by Gordon on (March 17, 2011, 3:17 GMT)

If Canada has have picked their full-strength batting line-up (Barnett, Billcliff) for this World Cup they would have put up a better show with the bat. Their bowling was fantastic, and with a stronger batting line-up they would have defeated Pakistan and generally scored more runs in each of their matches instead of always being 2/2 at the start.

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