Cricket Canada held its annual general meeting last weekend. The majority of the sessions were closed to all but official delegates but public sessions provided some interesting information about upcoming plans. There was also a player recognition dinner, where more information was shared, particularly in regard to the “Global T20”, a proposed Cricket Canada sanctioned competition planned for this summer. It appears that plans for this are well advanced. The competition is scheduled from late June to mid July and will feature six franchise teams. Each team is to include four Canadian qualified players in their squads. All matches will be played at Maple Leaf CC at King City (plans for a second venue were abandoned due to the cost of moving TV production equipment). Matches will be played on weekends, as well as mid-week. It is expected that player registration will start soon, with some form of launch event in the next few weeks. It appears that Mercuri have already made a major financial commitment to Cricket Canada, but the plans seem ambitious with only 6 weeks before the start of the competition.
The open session featured reports from all the provincial members (also posted on the Cricket Canada web site), which seemed to show cricket in Canada at the grassroots level is in a fairly healthy state. Infrastructure is a major issue, with Manitoba having to turn away teams because of a lack of grounds, PEI unable to get their season under way due to vandalism of their only pitch, Nova Scotia needing pitch investment, Alberta seeking help in keeping their Edmonton turf pitch in good condition as well as planning installation of turf in Calgary. Nearly every smaller province identified lack of training and development opportunities for officials and coaches a major challenge and barrier to development. There was substantial discussion of the development of women’s cricket, with provinces with some success in this area sharing experiences with those who have struggled. Questions were asked of the Ontario representative in regards to whether schools cricket was part of the organization- it was clear from the response that Cricket Ontario were struggling with their role in schools cricket.
Ed Bracht gave an overview of funding available through a charitable trust associated with Cricket Canada. A number of grants were handed out last year, including support for Cricket Newfoundland and Labrador’s new pitch but also $25,000 towards improving drainage at Maple Leaf CC.
The player’s recognition dinner featured speeches from the President, as well as politicians and special guests Dave Cameron (President of the West Indies Cricket Board) and Fara Gorsi (ICC Americas Regional Development Manager). It was clear from Cameron’s presence and comments that the relationship between the West Indies and Cricket Canada has improved significantly in recent times. The U19 and Senior men’s team were present and formally recognized with presentations- a gesture that seemed to be appreciated. The CC President in fact apologized to the teams for the lack of support that the organization had been able to provide, and indicated that the Global T20 partnership may allow significant improvements in the future.
Much of the interest was on the elections for the board- all positions were up for election apart from treasurer. The election for president was a two-way race between incumbent Ranjit Saini and Abigail Rajkumar- won by Saini. Incumbent vice-president Rahpal Bajwa was re-elected by acclamation. The secretary position, vacated by incumbent Mike Sharma is now held by Amanda Pooran, somewhat of a surprise given she has no background in cricket administration but also a landmark as it seems she is the first ever female board member for Cricket Canada. The fight for director at large positions was tough with 10 candidates vying for 4 positions. The three of the four positions went to existing board members, Mohammed Sheikh and Amit Joshi re-elected, and Mike Sharma elected as director after standing down as secretary. The fourth director again was somewhat a surprise with Qasim Virk from Alberta elected. A number of well qualified candidates missed out including incumbent director Praim Persaud, and it is to be hoped that Cricket Canada reach out to all those willing to commit volunteer time to the national body to see if they can lend their expertise in other capacities.
There appeared to be an annual report circulated to members, and it is to be hoped this, along with financial statements, will appear on the Cricket Canada web site in due course to provide further information.