Nitish Kumar (above) will lead the Canadian team against USA in the Auty Cup. Photo by WICB Media/Ashley Allen
By Ravi Madholall
Former Canadian fast-bowler Henry Osinde has thrown his support behind the national team to come out triumphant in the three limited-over matches of the Auty Cup tournament which bowls off on Thursday at Woodley Park facility in Los Angeles.
Henry, who was born in Uganda, made his debut for Canada in 2006, an impressive career which spanned seven years after taking 45 wickets from 42 ODIs, and also featured in 11 T20s, 23 first-class matches and 59 List A games.
Henry stated that the team is loaded with a bunch of talented cricketers while there is a good mixture of youths and seniority and that has given him the motivation to declare that the Canadian side can retain the trophy over their arch-rivals United States of America.
After announcing his retirement three years ago, Osinde continued to play professionally representing Brampton Masters in the annual Toronto and District Cricket Association. He now has also been named a national selector for Cricket Canada.
“I [am] happy to be part of Cricket Canada and being my first assignment to select the side to take on USA is also a great privilege; I am full of confidence that these players would create a good impression too,” the 37-year-old Osinde declared.
USA, who will use these matches as part of their preparations for the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) 50-over six-team tournament also scheduled to be played at the same venue, should pose a serious challenge to the tourists but Osinde not too worry about their much-touted anxiety.
“Obviously, the USA side will maximize on the opportunity to boost their confidence and get themselves ready for that tournament but we have to ensure that we play competitive cricket against them; it is a big tournament (Auty Cup) and both teams no doubt would want to dominate,” Osinde, who came to Canada permanently in 2000, revealed.
The Auty Cup had a unique history when it first started off in 1844. For the last two successive years, the competition had been halted owing to financial constraints from the two countries’ cricket boards.
When the tournament was played in Canada 2013, Canada prevailed as the dominant side by winning the T20, the 50-over and the two-day games, all at King City ground.
According to Osinde, again there is an opportunity for the young players to gain some international exposure especially since Canada lost their one-day status because of poor performances over the past two years.
They will resume their quest though with the ICC WCL Division 3 tournament set to be held in early 2017 at a venue to be named.
“I think we have to keep improving as a team; good exposure for the youngsters and a great chance for us to try and get back to the top; several senior players could not have made it to the USA because of various reasons but I think we have a good choice of players to make us proud by Sunday afternoon,” Osinde mentioned.
One of Canada most consistent batsmen Ruvindu Gunasekara will miss the tournament due to work commitment while newcomer Mark Montfort could not have obtained a US Visa because his name was incorrectly spelt on a travelling document and Nanveet Dhaliwal opted out to attend his sister’s wedding this weekend.
Gunasekara’s replacement is Varun Sehdev while Shehan Kamileen came in for Montfort and Parveen Saroye the other called-up player.
However, one of the country’s brightest prospects Nitish Kumar will lead the team for the first time and Osinde said he would be very successful because he has got great temperament to be a captain.
At only 22, Kumar brings a lot of experience to the team having made his first appearance as a 15-year-old while he has played lots of cricket in England. Kumar turned out for St. Lucia Zouks in this year’s Caribbean Premier League annual T20 tournament and Osinde feels he is a suitable man for the pivotal job.
The full squad reads: Nitish Kumar – Captain, Bhavindu Adhihetty, Satsimranjit Dhindsa, Nikhil Dutta, Varun Sehdev, Dilon Heyliger, Shehan Kamileen, Farhan Malik, Salman Nazar, Cecil Pervez, Parveen Saroye, Junaid Siddiqui, Hamza Tariq, and Srimantha Wijeyeratne, Davy Jacobs – Coach, Khurram Chohan – Selector/Asst. Coach, Ingleton Liburd – Manager.