By Ravendra Madholall in Toronto
Ashish Bagai Announces Retirement
Cricket Canada’s president Ravin Moorty has classified out-going Captain Ashish Bagai as a special cricketer during his 14-year career in the red and white colors. The wicketkeeper/batsman announced his retirement a few days ago.

Ashish Bagai has played 61 one-day games for Canada. Photo: DigicelPhoto

Bagai was selected to lead Canada again in the imminent International Cricket Council (ICC) 2014 World Cup limited-over Qualifiers in New Zealand but the 31-year-old stroke-player stated he wanted to end his career.

He represented the North American side in 61 one-day games while he participated in three world cup tournaments ranging from 2003, 2007 and 2011.

“I think he was very special as a cricketer; to consistently play at the high level he did without benefit of a first-class cricketing structure around him is nothing short of amazing,” Moorty mentioned.

He also rated Bagai to be one of the greatest players at the annual Toronto and District Cricket Association Elite tournament.

“He was one of the best players to feature in the Associate game and his presence will be missed not only by Canadian cricket but by many around the world,” Canada cricket’s boss related.

Bagai began his career at the age of 17 in the 2003 ICC World Cup 50-over tournament played in South Africa while he featured in the other two 2007 and 2011.

He was part of the team that toured Dubai recently for a place in next year’s ICC T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

His personal performances were somewhat admirable but his side only won two of their stipulated seven matches. Bagai, who will miss the next major assignment, represented Canada at the under-15 and under-19 levels too.

“He consistently drove us to expect more on and off the field and set a fine example for those around him as to what it means to be a Canadian player but now we can only wish him all the best in his future endeavors and we are looking forward to work with Ashish off the field to grow and move Canadian cricket forward,” Moorty declared.

Bagai, who is still Canada’s highest run-scorer in the ODIs with 1964 runs at a satisfactory average of 37.76, tweeted and said he was joyful to play for Canada while he cherished the victory over Bangladesh at the 2003 mega event.

He scored over 2000 runs in 96 List A games during his impressive cricketing journey too while he is a member of Toronto Cricket Club.

Meanwhile, only recently Chairman of Selectors, Chris James retired after serving in that and other different capacities for two decades. Long-term coach Gus Logie was asked to leave as the head coach in the aftermath of Canada’s non-qualification to the 2014 T20 World Cup.

The team now has a new coach Andy Pick, who worked with them before but has been appointed as a temporary replacement for the former West Indies and Trinidad and Tobago batsman Logie.

Veteran player Jimmy Hansra is likely to take over the captaincy for the tour of New Zealand. Bagai reportedly set to resume studies despite recently graduated with a MBA in Finance from a University in USA.