The Canadians are coming


Colin Mohammed


Team Canada has embarked upon an ambitious plan to prepare for the 2003 World Cup. Recently returned from a rained out trip to Argentina, they are enroute to Namibia for the Emerging Nations tournament. Certainly they will face tough competition from Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Kenya. This will provide a much needed training and antivenom to the after effects of the World Cup.

Ambitious, I say because we are facing two major problems aside from the current myriad. Firstly we have ageing players, only Ashish Bagai and Barry Seebaran are of a reasonable development age. I do not mean to make disparate remarks about the team's abilities but it points to another problem. There is no viable farm system in Canada. If we examine the variant leagues from coast to coast, there are no National Level Junior or Senior tournaments to encourage our best local talent.

We did a fair job in the recent u-19 World Cup in New Zealand and it is very apparent that we have the raw talent to nurture into professionals. So, I ask, what is to happen to Anjaria, Ziesmann, and Bhatti et al? Are they to return to playing in the various junior leagues or are they marked for future development? It would be a tremendous waste to see them fall by the wayside. I am suggesting, my friends, that we harness our collective talents and work towards a goal beyond the World Cup; I mean, following South Africa, the next tournament is scheduled for our backyard.

The infrastructure for such development already exists. The Internet is powerful vehicle to bring our leagues together. Already is filling this void. Within our communities we have easy access to cricket grounds, gyms, qualified sports analysts, therapists, and an army of statisticians lying dormant. Is funding an argument? Ask yourselves this though, has anyone developed and presented a business plan to demonstrate and leverage the Global following of Cricket. 1.5 billion people speak to a lot of advertising.

I am not here to place blame on the CCA. I wish to point out the flaws so that we can make progress and gain the momentum needed to become a competitive nation. It would be very frustrating if no lessons were applied after Namibia and the World Cup.

Let us put ourselves in the shoes of the Senior Team Canada. True that we have many imports; but they are inevitably raising our internal standards. Billcliff, Davison and Diwan took us to the World Cup; so why are we so critical of that well deserved goal? Does anyone in the global audience really care that Diwan developed his cricket in the UK? No, he is on the field with a Maple Leaf. Our arrival in South Africa will, I hope, awaken the sleeping giant and bring Canadians to the front. Thus, this bold experiment by the CCA will have achieved an unforeseen goal.

Harris & Co. needs your support; we owe them the same dignity afforded to the previous pioneers of the game. Beyond the politics and rumour mongering, our boys are in the middle and deserve our respect.

I am anxious to see what flags come out when we begin the campaign.


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