By Ravi Madholall
Despite losing out on one-day status after failing to qualify at the 2015 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup event, their aim is to reclaim that privilege of returning at the top to participate in qualifiers.
The road is continual for Canada as they set to feature in the forthcoming ICC World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in Uganda with five matches contain the round-robin assignment.
One of the country’s top batsmen Hiral Patel is not going to the African country owing to a break from the game to pursue educational studies but he is predicting the North American side to come back as a victorious unit.
The good thing about Canada they have kept elevating back to the top after a successful run in Division 4 but they must reach at least Division Two to be qualified to take part in World Cup Qualifiers.
With the ICC World Cup mega event slated for England in 2019 and the Qualifiers announced by ICC lately that would take place next year, Canada in for a difficult task of making their participation a reality.
The national selectors named a 21-member squad for preparatory reason and ensured the team gets some necessary turf practices. The contingent headed down to Barbados where they won all five of the warm-up matches in convincing fashion against local cricket clubs.
With a mixture of youth and experience in the team and those impressive performances, Patel is brimming with high confidence the Canadians can dominate proceedings from May 23 in Uganda.
“Yes, I [am] confident that Canada can make a big impact.
They will be the most experienced side in the tournament having played in 3 World Cup tournaments. With Henry Osinde (Assistant Coach) who hails from Uganda on board it will be plus for the team in terms of familiarizing with local conditions,” Patel, who scored 421 runs in his career spanning from 2009-2013, related. He appeared in 23 matches.
Canada will begin their campaign against the hosts before colliding with Oman in their second game and then confront Malaysia. In their penultimate fixture, the Canadian side will clash with perennial rivals USA before meet Singapore in the final game. The two top teams will advance to Division 2 after this tournament.
The Indian-born Patel stated that the team looks balance and with their outstanding performances in Barbados, certainly would have propelled their confidence tremendously.
“They have a good side, it is a balance side, but alot will be depended on batsmen like Nitish Kumar and Ruvindu Gunasekera. They are the most experienced players in the team. Both of them will be coming off a first class season. Hope they continue their good form while in bowling department, Nikhil Dutta and Saad Zafar will have to play big roles.
Again Canada will have the services of one their most seasoned campaigners Rizwan Cheema, who hit a scintillating 176 in Barbados.
“Cheema is a destructive batsman and lot will be depended on him as he is most senior player in the team; I expect him to lead from the front; he had an excellent tour to Barbados and I expect him to continue the same excellent form in this important tournament,” the 25-year-old Patel declared.
Canada featured in the 1979 World Cup while they appeared back till 2003, 2007 and 2011 but they were booted out after they failed to win a single match at the Qualifiers in 2014 and which consequently relegated them to Division 4.