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July 30, 2008
Davison is Canada's most experienced player and caught the attention with a swashbuckling 111 off 76 balls against West Indies in the 2003 World Cup. Canada are hoping for similar performances in Twenty20 as Davison returns after a gap of 14 months.
"John is rated amongst the best and it is great news that he is back to bolster the side for this important event," said Bagai. "All the players are definitely looking to him to guide us through to the next year's event. His return to the side gives a totally different look to this talented team."
Davison has been the mainstay of Canada cricket for almost a decade. He was Canada's star in the 2001 and 2005 World Cup qualifiers where Canada finished third to secure places in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups in South Africa and the West Indies respectively.
Bagai said Davison's stature was unique within the playing group. "He is more than a player to the Canada team. He is a strategist, an inspiration and mentor to everyone in the side. He is receptive and the players listen to him.
"Whenever he has represented Canada, he has brought all these qualities with him and has played each role to perfection. I think Canada cricket owes him a lot."
Canada's preparations for the Belfast tournament have been far from ideal with defeats against Bermuda both in the ODI series and the Intercontinental Cup matches earlier this month. "I think the team prepared itself nicely for the two events but it just couldn't produce the desired results," said Bagai. "I also think Bermuda played their best cricket in both the events. But those defeats have given us an opportunity to look at the grey areas, work on them and travel to Belfast better prepared."
Bagai lives in England and admits it is not the best preparation for any team. "John lives in Australia while I live in England and it is not an ideal situation where you get together as a team only a few days before the start of the tournament.
"But John and I know the players and likewise, the players know us so we can overcome this disadvantage. In our absence, the team is preparing as hard as it can. It's the best side that has come together for Canada in a long time. I am confident that the results in Belfast will echo my views."
And Bagai says he won't be affected by the fact he will not be captaining the side. "I think it makes sense when you have a captain who is always available to the team as compared to someone like me who is only available for selected matches because of work commitments.
"There is mutual respect between me and the players and I am motivated and committed to play my role as a senior member of the team. For me, representing or being involved in any role that can help Canada cricket is an honour and a privilege."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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