Canada v England, Group C, St Lucia March 19, 2007

Davison wants end to Canada's amateur era


Sunil Dhaniram, a fork-lift truck driver by profession, picked up the game in Guyana © Getty Images

John Davison, the captain of Canada, fears for the future of his adopted country's progress as a cricket nation unless a more professional set-up is put in place.

"The most important thing for Canadian cricket is that we get some sort of infrastructure in place," Davison said. "The Canadian Cricket Association doesn't have anyone who is employed by the association. It's basically done on a voluntary basis.

Most of Canada's squad at the World Cup discovered cricket overseas. Sunil Dhaniram, the 38-year-old left-arm spinner, played for Guyana and Anderson Cummins, the 40-year-old fast bowlerm represented West Indies at the 1992 World Cup. However, Davison - who, at the 2003 World Cup, secured his place in history by scoring the fastest World Cup century, off 67 balls, against the West Indies - insisted homegrown players were coming through the ranks.

"There are definitely talented players in the country. We need them to be coached properly and brought through a system." He also felt that Canada needed a proper system for bringing through players: "If we want to compete at this level we are going to have to be semi-professional at least if not professional."

Canada, with just one full-time professional in opener Geoff Barnett, who plays for New Zealand's Central Districts, bounced back from a seven-wicket loss in their World Cup opener by Kenya, with a creditable display in a 51-run defeat by England in St. Lucia. Chasing 280, they finished on 228 for 7 - their highest World Cup score - and it was a notable achievement for a team featuring a salesman, a telephone technician and a teacher among a variety of full-time occupations. Dhaniram, a fork-lift truck driver by profession, had a match to remember when he picked up three wickets for seven runs in 11 balls to spark an England middle-order collapse.

Davison said he would be around for a little while longer yet, even suggesting he could play in the next World Cup, in 2011, at the age of 40. "We've got a four-day game coming up against Ireland in the Intercontinental Cup in May and I'll definitely be playing in that. And I'll believe I'll play in the next [World Cup] qualifiers in two years' time and after that we'll see how we go."

Davison added that Canada and all the other associate or junior nations at the World Cup could take heart from Ireland's shock win against Pakistan. "I thought they were brilliant," he said. "The way they fielded, the catching in the slips and the way the skipper [Trent Johnson] polished it off with a six, was great. We are good mates with most of the associate nations and we were on their side."

Canada have one more game to go, against New Zealand on March 22 in St. Lucia.