Import Players: Our Saviors ... or Our Executioners?


Kirby St. Michaels


That is the question. Are they good for Canadian cricket, or are they preventing the development of real Canadian cricketers?

The intention of the Canadian selectors was probably to get the best possible team for the ICC Trophy, no matter what the cost. "If it means that a young Canadian cricketer gets dropped for an import, then so be it. There is always tomorrow." It had to be very tempting for the selectors to bring in these import players, and they gave in to their temptations. It is hard to make a big case against their actions, as the team qualified for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. However, there is a good chance that the repercussions will be felt after the World Cup.

If the CCA is an organisation with vision, then what is their plan for after the World Cup?

The import players have ulterior motives - and who can blame them. None of these players can play for their real countries, so they take the next best avenue and get to the World Cup via Canada. The CCA has been more than happy to oblige. The CCA believes that they can use these players to get ODI status, and then grow the game from there. However, to get ODI status, the Canadian team will have to prove themselves at the World Cup, and unfortunately this is unlikely due the the lack of preparation for the team. Also, the CCA is hoping that a good performance will get the organisation some government funding. Any sensible government official will recognise that cricket, as it currently stands, is a bad investment. Canada's governing body of cricket is unorganised, unprofessional, unfair, and unaccountable. It is a sad thing to say, but it is the truth.

Without ODI status and nowhere to go, the import player will say, "Thanks for the opportunity, but there's nothing left here for me." It can be pretty much guaranteed that Canada will lose its four import players. The Zimbabwean team is a great example of this occurrence. Both Murray Goodwin and Neil Johnson were brought in and made Zimbabwe look like a good team. Then they left, and now Zimbabwe's team is in big trouble. In addition, Canada's older players, such as Harris and Joseph, will call it a day after the World Cup.

Where does that leave Canadian cricket? Square one. Actually, even worse than square one. In crisis.

A new Canadian team will be selected after the World Cup. It will be a team without experience, and it will consist of players who have a chip on their shoulders because the CCA put import players ahead of them. Sure some of the import players approached the CCA to play for Canada, but it is a known fact that the CCA approached Nicholas DeGroot. In doing this, what is the CCA saying to Canadian bred players? They are saying that no one in Canada is good enough, so the CCA has to go elsewhere to find its players. The CCA may be lucky if some of the players on the fringe of selection are willing to play for Canada after the World Cup.

For the good of Canadian cricket, the CCA should send a team of players to the World Cup that are going to play cricket for Canada after the World Cup. Sending one or two young players is not good enough. If the CCA does not do this, then they are wasting their time and money - not to mention a great opportunity for Canada's young aspiring players.


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