2013 Toronto and District Cricket Association
By Ravendra Madholall in Toronto
Veteran Guyanese all-rounder Ian Baldeo topped the bowling chart with the most wickets overall after the 2013 Toronto and District Cricket Association (T&DCA) Elite limited-over tournament culminated recently.

Since he commenced his cricketing career in North America representing the long-established Vikings Cricket Club in 1993, the right-arm medium pacer has been consistent with the ball and showed similarity with the bat on a regular basis too.

His impactful contribution was acknowledged as T&DCA updated its individual performances over a ten-year period.

He came out with the best bowling average of 17.58 and a satisfactory economy rate of 3.65 having grabbed 322 wickets to be among several outstanding performers.

Baldeo, who bats right-handed as well, churned out a great number of memorable performances over the years and was elated to be the leading bowler throughout the decade. Notably, in this year’s edition, Baldeo’s participation was shortened owing to an injury.

The 40-year-old Baldeo, who spoke greatly about Vikings Cricket Club which has made a great impression since its formation in 1970, said they always invite a plethora of former and present Guyanese senior cricketers to play professionally in Canada.

His finest bowling display was last year when he delivered emphatically to capture 6-29 from his maximum ten overs to lead his side to victory while he recalled he had played pivotal roles in seeing the prominent club in Canada Vikings spurred to a number of wins and reached the T&DCA Elite finals semi-finals frequently.

The burly athlete is always a great cricket follower and is eager to make a contribution for his team. He has been a member of the club over the past two decades, which is indicative of his commitment to see the continued prosperity of it.

Ian Baldeo bowls during a game in New York City. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

“This [is] fantastic to be the leading bowler and I am extremely delighted to know I have been on top of the list of good bowlers in Toronto; but I glad they have highlighted and recognised our performances and this will certainly inspire me to keep play on a steady basis,” Baldeo mentioned.

He was a former captain of the side and was happy to lead players like former West Indies skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan among other West Indies and Guyanese regional players, including Sewnarine Chattergoon, Royston Crandon, Nicolas DeGroot and Esuan Crandon who would have all featured for Vikings at the Elite Division.

“Having been in the club for this long and then skippered players of these calibre was definitely wonderful; we want to see the best from the players and believed that they would have made it to the top; it shows we have a great club and willing to support young and aspiring cricketers at all time,” Baldeo, who migrated to Canada in the early 90s, related.

Many ardent cricket fans perhaps would certainly understand his undying love for the game despite failing to make it to the top, but he vehemently believes the administration of cricket in Canada generally is poor and they need to bring a solution to the issue soon for the betterment of the promising players and more importantly the youths.

“I think the administration is ‘terrible’ and they have got to do something to organise the game in a more professional way; we need better structure and that will encourage players to take and play the game more seriously because with the influx of players coming from different parts of the world and playing here, we have to develop a good reputation,” Baldeo, who played first-division cricket for East Coast Demerara, in Guyana, lamented.

Baldeo used his cricket talent at King City and other affiliated grounds in the Greater Toronto Area but he has been an active softball player and does appear for Rems Sports Club in the annual Ontario Softball Cricket League.

He was proud to say that he played for Haiwanni Arctic Cricket Club which won the Scarborough Cricket Association first-division competition for the past four successive years.

Others Guyanese cricketers who would have played for Vikings Cricket Club over the years are: Hemnarine, Sewnarine and Harrienarine Chattergoon, Zaheer and Azeemul Haniff, Fazil Sattaur, Azib Ally Haniff, Damodar Daesrath, Jeremy Gordon, Krishna and Vishaul Arjune, Krishna Deosaran, Rayon Griffith, Paul Persaud, Sunil Dhaniram, Rajindra Chandrika, Clayton Lambert, Zamal Khan, Assad Fudadin, among others.