Bhatti leads Ontario Seniors

15 July 2005


Umar Bhatti, former Canadian youth captain and member of the senior national team that finished third at the ICC Trophy tournament in Ireland, will lead an experimental Ontario team to the Canadian Interprovincial Tournament in Vancouver August 1-6. Bhatti, a leftarm fast bowler and hard-hitting lower order batsman who represents Victoria Park Cricket Club in the Toronto and District Premier Division, is a graduate of the West indies Cricket Academy in Grenada.

Ontario Cricket Association president Errol Townshend said he was the only Ontario member of the current ICC Trophy team available as the others had taken considerable time off from work to go to Ireland and noted that the squad was heavily weighted ( 9 out of 14) in favour of players from regions outside Toronto. "They too deserve every opportunity to strut their stuff for the selectors to see", he said.

Vice captain of the team is former Canadian wicketkeeper Surendra Seeraj and includes experienced batsman Suresh Budhoo who was a member of the Canadian touring party to Jamaica in 1989. Manager of the team is Petra Pompey, the OCA secretary and one of Canada's most qualified scorers.

Townshend said the IPT provided a timely opportunity to blood some new young talent and pointed to 18-year-old wicketkeepeer-batsman Inderjit Dhaliwal from Southern Ontario. He also noted the inclusion of Rizwan Cheema who opens the batting for T&D Premier Division club Yorkshire. Cheema, he said, has been ripping new ball bowlers to shreds with back-to-back centuries this season. "He is an extremely powerful and clean hitter, with superb timing and a good eye", said Townshend. "If he can do to the other provinces what he has been doing in Toronto the IPT should be a lot of fun."

The full squad is: Umar Bhatti (capt), Surendra Seeraj (vice captain), Rizwan Cheema,Suresh Budhoo, Devin Persaud (T&D); Murtaza Hassan Malik, Khizar Bilal ( Hamilton and District); Girish Shankar, Nereraj Bhardwaj, Inderjit Dhaliwal, Pankaj Gupta (Southern Ontario); Anthony Forde, Shailesh Masih,Rajiv Bhatia (Ottawa Valley). Manager: Petra Pompey (T&D)