September 2008

Fewer but better - MCC overhauls tours policy -- Posted Tuesday, September 30 2008

The MCC has announced an overhaul of its touring policy which will enable it to concentrate on areas of development.

Until now, the club has undertaken a number of trips each year with tours categorised as A, B or C status depending on the strength of the opposition. A tours were fully funded by the club while B and C tours were partially or fully paid for by the participants.

From 2009, the MCC will scrap the three tiers and only send a limited number of trips to countries which can fully benefit from MCC playing members' coaching skills and passion. All such tours will be fully funded by the club.

MCC will send a team to a European country every year plus teams to three out of four ICC regions of Asia, the Americas, East Asia/Pacific and Africa. In 2009 teams will go to Croatia, Japan and Indonesia, Nepal and Mozambique.
There will also be special tours to the USA and Canada to mark the 150th anniversary of the first cricket tour across the Atlantic.

The 2000 playing members of the MCC will be able to compete for a tour place. Teams will still be picked to reflect the strength of opposition in the destination country.

John Stephenson, MCC's head of cricket, explained the thinking behind the changes: "MCC is committed to developing cricket across the globe and we believe the best way of doing that is targeting greater resources to slightly fewer tours. As well as playing for the club, tour members will provide coaching and expertise to leave a strong legacy in countries they visit.

"Representing MCC abroad is a pinnacle of many players' careers and is both a privilege and an honour. We want to reward those players who have shown consistency and loyalty in MCC matches, whilst taking their ability to pay out of the equation. All tours are equally important to the club and have a great potential to develop cricket in the host country, and I believe this new system reflects that."

Overseeing these changes will be ex-Somerset wicketkeeper Rob Turner, who will assume the chairmanship of the MCC tours sub-committee on October 1.

Article sourced from:-

Life beyond Davison -- Posted Monday, September 29 2008

Five years after Canada made their biggest strides in world cricket they've realised it's homegrown players and expertise that will take them to the next level

There was a warm glow around Canadian cricket after the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Expectations had not only been met, but exceeded, with the win against Bangladesh. Sweeter still was the performance of John Davison, whose form with the bat was simply exhilarating. His belligerent 111 against West Indies is now the stuff of legend. If there were such things as cricket posters in Canada, there's no doubt who the poster boy would be. Davison became Canadian cricket.

Fast forward five years and Davison's inability to inspire his team to higher than fifth out of six teams in the World Twenty20 qualifiers is seen by many as a sign of stalled progress. The failure to make it to next year's Twenty20 World Championship is a missed opportunity of the highest order in a country where cricket is said to be the fastest growing sport but where the mainstream media's limited understanding results in the game largely being ignored. A spot in a big tournament would have gone some way in elevating cricket's profile, and more importantly would have attracted more sponsorship dollars.

Looking to the future, Cricket Canada CEO Atul Ahuja feels it is time the country stopped relying solely on imported players. He denies that the 38-year-old Davison is out of favour or that he has played his last match for the country, but stresses that Canadian cricket needs players who actually live there. There is an impact on morale, he says, if the side that has been practising and playing together knows that when a big international match comes around there are spots on the team that will be filled by players who are not part of the day-to-day set-up. It isn't easy for the players flying in either. "It's difficult to come into a team as an outsider, bond with the group and then be expected to perform," Ahuja says. It is clear, though, which side of the argument he thinks is stronger.

Yet the Davison factor is huge. He gave the team instant credibility, and after his 2003 World Cup heroics eclipsed Kenya's Steve Tikolo as the most famous cricketer from an ICC Associate country. Finding another opening batsman of such explosive power, who can also bowl a brace of overs, would have seemed an impossible task for a team like Canada.

Enter Rizwan Cheema. A quick-scoring batsman around the Toronto and District Cricket Association league, Cheema was included in the squad for the tri-series last month against West Indies and Bermuda. His debut went well, with a brisk 34 off 24 balls against Bermuda. Four days later he bettered that, bludgeoning West Indies for 89 runs off 69 balls, with ten boundaries and six sixes. The innings overshadowed his bowling earlier in the day, 3 for 31 in ten overs of medium pace, and in a West Indies score of 303 for 4 in 50 overs at that.

Two days later Cheema clubbed Daren Powell, Jerome Taylor and Co. to the tune of 61 runs off 45 balls. Cheema's performance has given the team a feel-good factor and created positive expectancy among the other players too.

Another player singled out for praise by Ahuja is Dhaniram. "Dhani is extremely disciplined, mentally very strong, an excellent team man and utterly dependable. He knows what it takes to compete." There is no doubt that in a woeful team Dhaniram has been the most consistent performer, fighting day in and day out with both bat and ball. A soft-spoken man, shy to the point of having a fear of speaking in public, he lets his bat do the talking - as in his hard-hit 70 against Ireland in last month's Intercontinental Cup match, an innings he admits was fuelled by being "pissed off at how I had to do everything myself".

Dhaniram has been around Canadian cricket long enough to know what works and what doesn't. "You need the team to feel like a team, to feel connected. You can't have that when people from the outside just come in and take spots in the side, and then just stick to themselves."

With the philosophy of team composition clearer, Cricket Canada is now trying to get the sport out of its weekend/picnic state and to transform it into something more professional. One of the highest priorities is remuneration for the players, allowing for more stability in a team that all too frequently is unable to field its best XI because of players' work commitments.

Infrastructural improvements remain high on the to-do list as well. There are plans for turf wickets in every part of the country, to curb what Ahuja calls HBS, Horizontal Bat Syndrome. There need to boost the number of coaches in the country who can actually coach on turf wickets is recognised. Developing training facilities that can be used in the winter is a necessity too.

Progress on these fronts will only come with increased funding, which for the most part is still dependent on the ICC. In the past year, however, money has started to trickle in from other sources, notably a three-year sponsorship deal with Scotiabank and, following the official recognition of cricket as a sport by the Canadian government, federal funding, albeit a miniscule amount (less than $200,000 over two years).

Cricket Canada also hopes to tap into the resources of Canadian sports technology and adapt it to cricket with both short- and long-term goals. Istvan Balyi, a Long Term Athlete Development coach who is involved with a number of Canadian sporting bodies, has already begun working with Cricket Canada on age-appropriate scientific sports training that targets both the physical and mental aspects of athlete development. Balyi is not new to cricket, having worked with the ECB, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa.

While qualifying for the next World Cup is a priority, Cricket Canada also has its sights set on a more intriguing goal: winning the 2012 Under-19 World Cup that will be held in Canada. Having won the Under-15 Americas Championship, Cricket Canada feels that with early player-identification and proper training, an Under-19 World Cup win is a realistic target.

Leaving aside the past year's failures and the seeming regression from 2003, cricket in Canada is entering a new phase of professionalism and goal-oriented progress. The future seems bright as the sport continues to grow - not just via immigration from cricketing countries, but also through a quiet but rapid expansion into Canadian schools and popular consciousness. One hopes that the turmoil is a thing of the past and has merely been a case of two steps back to take three steps forward.

Faraz Sarwat

September 19, 2008

Faraz Sarwat is the cricket columnist for the Toronto Star and the author of The Cricket World Cup: History, Highlights, Facts and Figures

Article sourced from:-

St Catharines retains Hamilton & District Cricket Championship -- Posted Monday, September 29 2008

Hamilton & District Cricket Final ( Churchill Park, Hamilton ; September 28 - scheduled for 50 overs per side):

Hamilton Cricket Club 74 runs all out (30.4 overs)
St Catharines Cricket Club 76 run for 3 wickets (12.4 overs)

St Catharines Cricket Club, having just squeezed into the playoffs, beat Hamilton CC by 7 wickets on Sunday (September 27) to retain the Hamilton and District Cricket League championship. Churchill Park , Hamilton . On Saturday, St Catharines completed a semi-final win over Crescent CC.

Hamilton struggled against the pace bowling of Ryan Griffith, who took 5 wickets for 28 runs. Usman Ali made 24 runs in Hamilton ’s 74 all out. St Catharines opening batsmen Austin Codrington (15 runs) and Varna Peiris (14 runs) soon had the score ticking along. Tawab Ikram briskly posted 24, after Codrington was out, so the vistors reached a winning 76 for 3 wickets in the 13th over.

Codrington, a Canadian international, and Griffith, who has played for Guyana, each scored 60, Griffith was not out, in the semi-final win over Crescent. Hamilton-based Crescent had to settle for heading the regular season standings.

Eddie Norfolk

Etobicoke and Hamilton Finals on Sunday (Sept 28) -- Posted Sunday, September 28 2008

St Catharines beat Crescent on Saturday to reach the Final of the Hamilton and District Cricket League Championships. St Catharines now faces Hamilton Cricket Club in the Final at Churchill Park, Hamilton, on Saturday (11 am start).

It was wet and soggy at Centennial Park on Saturday, so the Etobicoke and District Cricket League final will now be played on Sunday. Play is due to begin at 11 am.

Eddie Norfolk

Life beyond Davison (CricInfo) -- Posted Sunday, September 28 2008
Faraz Sarwat

There was a warm glow around Canadian cricket after the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Expectations had not only been met, but exceeded, with the win against Bangladesh. Sweeter still was the performance of John Davison, whose form with the bat was simply exhilarating. His belligerent 111 against West Indies is now the stuff of legend. If there were such things as cricket posters in Canada, there's no doubt who the poster boy would be. Davison became Canadian cricket.

Fast forward five years and Davison's inability to inspire his team to higher than fifth out of six teams in the World Twenty20 qualifiers is seen by many as a sign of stalled progress.

Read more

Big-time cricket is returning to the Toronto area -- Posted Saturday, September 27 2008

For the first time in a decade, big-time cricket is returning to the Toronto area.

Organizers of the Quadrangular Twenty20 Cricket Cup announced yesterday that Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe will compete in the Oct. 10-13 tournament which also will feature Canada.

And while all the details regarding ticket information and transportation logistics are still to come, organizers are planning for crowds of nearly 10,000 at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club grounds in King City for each day's play.

The tournament is significant for a few reasons. In addition to being the first competition involving Test nations in Canada since the Sahara Cup brought India and Pakistan for three series in the 1990s, it also introduces Canadians to the 20-overs-per-side game which many observers say inevitably will surpass the 50-over one-day international format in popularity. The tournament format will see all four teams in action each of the four days.
It also is significant for the Pakistan team, which hasn't played a Test match in 2008 and were to play host to the ICC Champions Trophy until its postponement due to security concerns.

But the biggest beneficiary could be Canadian cricket.
A successful tournament could result in more high-level competitions on this side of the world.

"Our main motive has been to promote Canadian cricket," Hasan Jalil, chief operating officer of Sports International Marketing, said. "We want to bring young cricketers an opportunity to see the forefront of international cricket."

The teams will compete for more than $100,000 in cash including $60,000 to the tournament winners. Ticket details are expected to be announced later in the week.

Article sourced from:-

Toronto cricketers 'ambassadors' to the world -- Posted Saturday, September 27 2008

A keen cricket player from the age of 5, India-born Harsh Desai arrived in Toronto with his family in 2002 with "no clue" his beloved game was played here.

Yesterday at city council, in a measure of how far he and his adopted city have come, the 19-year-old and others recruited mostly from low-income neighbourhoods for the "Mayor's XI" cricket team were honoured for a triumphant run at an event this summer in England, the sport's birthplace.

"They could not find a team they could not beat," Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) bragged to council, reporting on the team's six wins and one draw (a game called for rain) against top amateurs and an under-21 police team from Scotland Yard at the inaugural Cricket Across the Pond.

The makeup of the team, whose trip was paid for by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and other corporate sponsors, speaks volumes about the city's diversity and focus on youth in underserved areas, Mayor David Miller said. "We from time to time have tragedies occurring in some of our neighbourhoods," he told reporters soon after presenting a city plaque to team captain Darius D'Souza, 18. "We have to remember that some of those same neighbourhoods produce these wonderful ambassadors for our city."

Mr. Vaughan, who went to the event to learn from English officials how to build a cricket club system here, said the team is a portrait of immigrant-rich Toronto.
"You have kids from both sides of the [political] split in Sri Lanka and you have Muslim kids from Pakistan and Hindu kids from India," he said. "You put them all together and there is an opportunity to create common ground."

Last spring, Toronto recreation officials put the word out to 40 high schools in 13 so-called "priority neighbourhoods," signing up 120 students for tryouts. That group was winnowed to 30, who were interviewed about their community service and commitment to cricket. In the end, 10 of the 12 students were chosen from the "priority neighbourhoods," with one from Upper Canada College. Mr. D'Souza, a top-flight amateur player from Mississauga, was also chosen for the team.

Mr. Desai, who much to his delight has played cricket almost without a break since his family moved to northwest Etobicoke, was recruited while a student at Kipling Collegiate where he volunteered as an anti-bullying mentor.

Now at Ryerson University, Mr. Desai sees cricket as more than a sport. "It is giving chances to youth. Teenagers can focus on cricket instead of hanging out late at night," he said.

Article sourced from:-

Cricket bowls over Toronto -- Posted Friday, September 26 2008

Cricket has become a booming passion in Canada's Toronto District.

School cricket is big in the area, as about 150 schools in the Greater Toronto Area offer it.

So great is the passion for the sport, that there are now plans to make it a sanctioned school sport this year in the York region. The Royal Bank of Canada is also sponsoring a program to introduce cricket to elementary schools, reports the Globe and Mail.

But, according to the paper, the sport still lacks serious funding, and is crying out for facilities. There is also the lack of an internal structure to produce players who can compete internationally.

"People just think it's something foreign. I think that's why indigenous Canadians haven't stepped up to join. It's the same thing with soccer - they don't realize how big it is elsewhere," says Paul Hillman, the convenor of the Toronto District Cricket Council

"Our team qualified for the World Cup the last two years, but something is not clicking well in Canada," said Ranil Mendis, who organizes the CIMA Mayor's Trophy tournament, Toronto's highest-profile cricket competition.

"There is no big corporate support or big media support for games. How far can [the sport] go without proper support? That is the problem," he adds.

But the booming success that soccer has experienced here is now on the horizon for cricket. Cricket is part of Toronto's life," claims the city's mayor David Miller.

Indeed, cricket's worldwide governing body, the International Cricket Council, has set its sights on the city as one of the sport's next hot spots, and Cricket Canada has been restructured to take players, and the sport's profile, to the next level.

In a bid to make cricket more appealing to modern sporting palates, the game better known for tea breaks, politeness and five-day matches is getting a makeover. A new, shorter form of cricket brings the game down to about three hours. Called Twenty20, the format gives each team 20 overs (akin to baseball innings), and includes show-time pizzazz, continuous play, and cheerleaders.

The irony is that Toronto already has a deep cricketing history: The Toronto Cricket Club was founded in 1827, and its members made up most of the winning Canadian team in the first ever international cricket match - Canada beat the United States by 23 runs in 1844.

Yet the passion, obsession and devotion that cricket inspires in almost every Commonwealth nation somehow bypassed the Great White North. Instead, someone arrived one summer with a baseball bat, and cricket fell by the wayside.

Cricket's resurgence is seen as a win-win for the sport and its players, many of whom come from cricket-mad countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Jamaica and Bermuda.

Article sourced from:-

United and York Central win Etobicoke Premier Semi-finals -- Posted Monday, September 22 2008

United and York Central won Saturday's Etobicoke and District Cricket League's Premier Division semi-finals. United made 183 run for 8 wickets, then bowled out Calypso for 113, to win by 70 runs. Opening bat Nadeem Khan made 48 runs and later took 3 wickets for 27 runs. Reaz Mohammed's 43 runs served as the backbone for the latter part of the United innings. Five of the Calypso players got into double figures - William Kevron making 27 - but none was able to take control of the bowling.

York Central decided to bat first, but made just 109 runs. Elix Cornwell, batting at number six, and Samaal Thomas started to turn the innings around, but promise suddenly came to an end. Cornwell made 32 and Thomas 24. Sadly, for Bramalea Sports, the reply never began and would have been much sorrier if Mevan Naik had not made 18 not out. This in a score of 42 all out. A combination of factors meant York batted one player short but Bramalea were three short, so 'all out' for Bramalea came with the fall of the 7th rather than the 10th wicket.

So United and York Central will return to Centennial Park, Etobicoke, for next Saturday's Premier Final (Sept 27, start due at 11 am). Hopefully the weather will cooperate - washed out games meant some potential players for York and Bramalea had not played sufficient regular season games to be eligible for the playoffs. So some potential players had to sit it out and watch.

Eddie Norfolk

Alcos wins Victoria and District's Colonist Cup -- Posted Friday, September 19 2008

E Norfolk

Alcos beat Oak Bay by 30 runs to win the Colonist Cup, awarded to the playoff winners in the Victoria and District Cricket Association on Vancouver Island, British Columbia . Oak Bay had to settle for the Payne Cup, having topped the regular season standings. In the final at Beacon Hill, Alcos made 194 all out in 44 overs, lead by an opening stand of 95 between Nadeem Cheema and Marshall Travis, then bowled out regular season leaders Oak Bay for 164 runs.

This win qualified Alcos the playoffs to decide the British Columbia provincial champions.

Cheema hit 10 fours and two sixes in making the game’s top individual score of 61 runs. Fellow opening bat Travis made 30, as did middle order batsman Andy Scott. But most of the middle order failed to build on the solid start. Jiggs Patel lead the Oak Bay bowling taking 4 wickets for 18 runs in his 9 overs.

Oak Bay ’s innings followed a similar pattern. Three of the top order made a start but a promising 110 for 2 wickets slumped to 117 for 5 and an eventual 164 all out in the 37th over. Kim Swaroop made 39, captain Gurmit Sandhu 29 and Afzar Mailk 29. Left-arm slow-medium bowler Marc Gaudet took 4 wickets for 35 runs in 6.3 overs.

Semi-final recap

Oak Bay had squeezed home by 2 runs in a nail-biting semi-final against Cowichan, 4th placed in the regular season standings. Captain Adam Benning’s 60 runs for Cowichan just failed to drive his side to victory. Oak Bay made 169 all out. Cowichan responded with 167 for 9 off its 45 overs.

Alcos had beaten Albion by 7 wickets in the semi-finals. Albion was all out for 214 (45 overs) with many of the runs coming from lower-middle order batsmen Victor Bhanga (46 runs) and Raj Bawa (36 runs). Alcos batted solidly to reach 215 for 3 wickets in the 41st over, lead by Nadeem Cheema’s 55. Kadif Cheema made 51 not out and Marshall Travis 46 runs.

The Victoria and District Cricket League is based on the southern part of Vancouver Island , British Columbia . Cricket was first reported at Beacon Hill back in 1863. Six teams currently participate in the weekend league. There is also a 15-team mid-week league. Spinnakers Brew Pub beat Pig’s Trotters to win this year’s playoffs and topped the mid-week league standings. Every two years, the league runs the 6-a-side competition, known as VISAS – the Victoria International Six-a-Side Cricket Festival. It attracts an international entry. The 2008 event, won by Dallas, included teams from Argentina, England, the Isle of Man, Italy, New Zealand and the United States, as well as British Columbia.

Toronto and District Elite Final heads the weekend's GTA cricket playoffs -- Posted Thursday, September 18 2008

Brampton Masters and Cavaliers are set to meet at Maple Leaf Cricket Club on Saturday (September 20) in the Final of the Elite Division of the Toronto and District Cricket Association (T&DCA), Canada ’s largest cricket league. Heavy rains last weekend meant the final had to be re-scheduled. Playoffs commence this weekend in other T&DCA Divisions.

The Etobicoke and District Cricket League Premier Division semi-finals are due at Centennial Park , Etobicoke, on Saturday. The semi-final line-up is United against Calypso and Bramalea against York Central. Play is due to begin at noon. Sunday is the reserve day in the event of bad weather.

Last weekend’s bad weather also hit playoffs in the Hamilton and District Cricket League (HDCL). The semi-final between Crescent and St Catharines was washed out on both days. It is now hoped to play the game on Saturday, with the Final to follow on Sunday. Hamilton beat Mississauga Ramblers on run rate last Saturday to reach the Final.

The Ramblers tumbled from 48 runs for no wicket to 99 all out (35 overs). Hamilton had scored 79 runs for 6 wickets from 28 overs when heavy rain eventually forced the players off the field. Ramblers' opening bat Trevin Yousuf scored 34 runs.

The HDCL Final will be staged in Hamilton . If Crescent beats St Catharines , the Final will be at Crescent’s Mohawk Sports Park ground, but if St Catharines wins the Final would be at Hamilton CC’s ground in Churchill Park .

Eddie Norfolk

Cricket at Stanley Park, Vancouver -- Posted Thursday, September 18 2008

The Brockton Point Athletic Club was incorporated April 6, 1889 by special Act of the Parliament of British Columbia, and by 1890 the clearing of Stanley Park had begun in earnest, led by Jerry Rogers and his teams of oxen. And when a lease for the 10 acres now comprising Upper Brockton, the Oval and the cottage was signed April 21, 1890 between the City of Vancouver and the Athletic Club for a 40 year term and the Athletic Club signed an agreement for the Club to borrow $10,000 from the City at 5% (payments of $ 605.25 p.a.), the Vancouver Parks Board was not yet constituted.

The Brockton Point Recreation Grounds circa 1900 were the finest athletic grounds in the City of Vancouver. The ground played host to lacrosse, rugby, baseball, and soccer at the Oval. Field hockey and cricket were played on Upper Brockton. Tennis Courts were located at the N.E. corner of the Upper Brockton field. The fields boasted a grandstand and bleachers, lacrosse clubhouse and cinder track in the vicinity of Brockton Oval; a Pavilion, changing rooms and a caretaker's cottage at Upper Brockton.

The Athletic Club was comprised of Vancouver's elite. The club had come into existence by special act of legislature, financed by the City, and established to pander to the tastes of the City fathers for high calibre amateur sport, far from the eyes of the madding crowd. For example, up to 1913 cricket was played in BC under the auspices of the Pacific Coast League and included teams from Tacoma, Nanaimo, Duncan, Victoria and Vancouver. Only representative cricket matches were allowed to be played at the Athletic Club grounds at Upper Brockton until 1910, when a constitutional amendment was passed to allow local clubs to join the Athletic Association. There was a 2nd tier of cricket played in Vancouver, which was called the Vancouver and District League but they confined their activities to the City proper.

The lease between the City and the Athletic Club signed in 1890 contained provisions against charging an entrance fee to view any of the sporting activities held at Stanley Park. In 1912, the Athletic Club found itself a year in arrears of rent payments to the City. The club opened up negotiations and contracted with Mr. Con Jones for the sub-leasing of the Brockton Oval to play professional lacrosse. The terms of the agreement; 15 years; rent $1,000 per annum; 100 tickets including an escort per event to club members; the lacrosse promoter to expense $15,000 in improvements to the Oval. The proposal to sublease never had a chance.

Aligned against the proposal were:

(i) the City Beautiful Association
(ii) the newly created Parks Board
(iii) the City Solicitor
(iv) the City Council
(v) the Finance Committee of the City

versus for the proposal, every amateur sports body in the City. An examination of the correspondence of the day is illuminating to show democracy at work or as the cynical might say, back room maneuvering.

Suffice to say, in 1913 the lease between the City and the Athletic Club was brought to a premature end, in no small part due to the efforts of the newly created Vancouver Parks Board.

The Brockton Point Cricket Club is the successor in interest to the Brockton Point Athletic Club - the Athletic Club having ceased operations in 1913 and the cricket club having commenced operations in 1914 out of the same location in Stanley Park. Brockton Point Cricket Club has maintained continuity of use of the Pavilion and Upper Brockton from 1914 to the present day.

Article sourced from:-

Bradman played on the Stanley Park ground in 1932. He is reputed to have stated that the ground was the most delightful he had ever played on. (JH).

West Indies pull out of Canada quadrangular -- Posted Monday, September 15 2008

West Indies have pulled out of the four-nation Twenty20 tournament in Canada next month after their request to postpone it by two weeks was turned down. The tournament, scheduled from October 10-13 at the Maple Leaf ground in Toronto, will now feature Zimbabwe alongside Pakistan, Sri Lanka and hosts Canada.

"We have confirmation for the tournament to be played at Maple Leaf ground," Nauman Nabi, chairman of Sports International Marketing, the tournament organisers, told AFP>. "West Indies have some problems adjusting to the new dates so they wanted the event to be further delayed, which considering the cold weather of Canada was not possible, so we replaced them with Zimbabwe."

The tournament was originally scheduled between August 14-17 but had to be postponed due to sponsorship issues. Bangladesh wereslated to feature in the tournament, but the revised dates clash with their home series against New Zealand.

Pakistan has remained committed to the series from its inception, and for a good reason too, given that they've been starved of international cricket of late. Following the postponement of the Champions Trophy, which they were meant to host this month, plans for a proposed tri-series in South Africa and a short ODI series at home against Sri Lanka also fell through. Pakistan have also invited West Indies for a two-Test series in November.

Article sourced from:-

Canada Cup Four Nation 20/20 -- Posted Sunday, September 14 2008

West Indies pull out of Canada quadrangular

West Indies have pulled out of the four-nation Twenty20 tournament in Canada next month after their request to postpone it by two weeks was turned down. The tournament, scheduled from October 10-13 at the Maple Leaf ground in Toronto, will now feature Zimbabwe alongside Pakistan, Sri Lanka and hosts Canada.

"We have confirmation for the tournament to be played at Maple Leaf ground," Nauman Nabi, chairman of Sports International Marketing, the tournament organisers, told AFP>. "West Indies have some problems adjusting to the new dates so they wanted the event to be further delayed, which considering the cold weather of Canada was not possible, so we replaced them with Zimbabwe."

The tournament was originally scheduled between August 14-17 but had to be postponed due to sponsorship issues. Bangladesh wereslated to feature in the tournament, but the revised dates clash with their home series against New Zealand.

Pakistan has remained committed to the series from its inception, and for a good reason too, given that they've been starved of international cricket of late. Following the postponement of the Champions Trophy, which they were meant to host this month, plans for a proposed tri-series in South Africa and a short ODI series at home against Sri Lanka also fell through. Pakistan have also invited West Indies for a two-Test series in November.

Article sourced from:-

Hamilton & Distrcit Cricket Final delayed -- Posted Saturday, September 13 2008
E Norfolk

Result: Mississauga Ramblers 99 runs all out (35 overs) lost to Hamilton CC 79 runs for 6 wickets (28 overs) on run rate in a rain interupted game. Match due to be 40 overs a side

Hamilton Cricket Club beat Mississauga Ramblers on run rate in a rain-interupted game on Saturday to reach the Final of the Hamilton & District Cricket League. But persistent rain prevented any play in the Crescent-St Catharines semi-final, which it is hoped will take place on Sunday (Sept 14). The Final is now expected to take place next weekend.

The Ramblers began well but tumbled from 48 runs for no wicket to 99 runs all out (35 overs) under grey skies in Mississauga. Opening bat Trevin Yousuf scored 34 runs but was one of three players dismissed by Hamilton bowler Usman. Mousan also took 3 wickets for Hamilton to bring the Ramblers innings to a sudden end.

Rain came during the Hamilton innings and eventually brought play to a halt. Hamilton had scored 79 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in 28 overs, and was awarded the game on having the better average scoring rate. Consecutive boundaries while rain came down pushed Hamilton to victory. Azim Saad was 14 not out when rain eventually forced the players off the field.

Bad weather had been expected, and the semi-final matches were targeted as 40 overs per side, rather than the normal 50 overs. In the event, the Ramblers innings lost its way and ended with 5 overs unused.

In reality, it was a surprise that so much play took place.

Result: Mississauga Ramblers 99 runs all out (35 overs) lost to Hamilton CC 79 runs for 6 wickets (28 overs) on run rate in a rain interupted game.

100 Years of Cricket in Manitoba -- Posted Saturday, September 13 2008

Cricket, a traditionally English game that is played widely and held in popular esteem in many countries where typically British institutions prevail, is, paradoxically, virtually an unknown sport in Manitoba to-day.

Where, at the turn of the century, the game was played in towns and villages all across the province, it is now all but extinct, and survives only in an enclave in Winnipeg, in a cultural environment that, if not actively inimical to the game’s survival, is certainly indifferent to its fate. Were it not, indeed, for the exuberance and enthusiasm of a small group of migrants from the sunny islands of the Caribbean, the game here would, in all probability, be as dead as the dodo.

Yet the game of cricket has a long and honourable history in Manitoba, having been played continuously for over a hundred years. Assiduous research has failed to reveal precisely when the game was first introduced into this area, but an educated guess would suggest that it arrived with the earliest British military garrisons who manned the out-posts of empire along the Red River. Certainly, a number of photographs of cricket teams, undated but of considerable antiquity, are to be seen in the old log church at St. Andrews on the Red River.

The game definitely antedates the incorporation of the City of Winnipeg, for the earliest allusion to the formation of a cricket club is to be found in Joseph James Hargrave’s book, Red River, published in 1871. This was the North-West Cricket Club, founded in 1864, with the Governor of Rupertsland as its first president.

As may be readily imagined, the cricket played in these pioneer days was of a rather haphazard, not to say rudimentary, character. The early accounts of the game emphasize such interesting peculiarities as the players’ predilection for the consumption of copious quantities of alcoholic beverages during the course of the game. On one occasion recounted by Hargrave in his book, retired chief factor Thomas Sinclair of the North-West Fur Trading Company showed his appreciation of the game by giving the teams a gift of “a gallon of sherry, procured and drunk upon the field.” Hargrave goes on to add that, “before he left the field, the old gentleman very nearly had reason to regret his liberality.” It seems that a ball, presumably struck with more vigor than skill by an inebriated cricketer, “passed so swiftly and so close to his spectacles that he did not see it until a taller friend standing close beside him dropped to the ground with horrible groans and discoloured face, consequent on having received the missile in the ribs.”

If the cricket then tended to be of a somewhat rough-and-ready variety, the surprising thing is, not that it was an unsophisticated form of a highly sophisticated game, but that, in the prevailing conditions, it was played at all. To put the matter in perspective, it is only necessary to remember how recently the area had been settled by British immigrants. The inhabited area of the Colony of Assiniboia, as the settlement was then called, stretched from the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers a distance of some fifty miles west and forty miles north, but at no point extended more than two miles from the riverbanks. The settlement was accessible from the east only by way of the United States and down the Red River from St. Paul. In 1865 a large number of destitute Indians were in an encampment on the outskirts of the town, a source, at once, of acute embarrassment and potential danger to the settlers.

To have found time to play cricket in these conditions was no small achievement, and it says a great deal for the intrepid character of these pioneer settlers that they had no sooner hewn from a hostile wilderness a home and a livelihood than they introduced the traditional game of their homeland into the fabric of their fragile society. As one of the few diversions to relieve the rigors of their spartan existence, the game was evidently welcomed both for the opportunities it afforded for athletic recreation and for its convivial atmosphere of social intercourse.

The first cricket match of which a record is extant was played on July 16, 1870 at Victoria Park in the St. Andrews district of the Settlement, about half way between Winnipeg and Lockport. Three years later the record shows the game also played in Selkirk, and the score book lists teams fielded by the military battalion and the civil service.

From about 1874 on, the game enjoyed widespread popular appeal in Manitoba, and rarely a summer week-end went by without a cricket match to report. The old back numbers of The Winnipeg Free Press, preserved for posterity on microfilm in the newspaper’s archives, contain interesting and colourful accounts of the cricket activity of these years, together with detailed score cards of many of the cricket matches played in that era. Prominent amongst the team members listed are the names of several illustrious personages, like the Hon. A. G. B. Bannatyne and J. H. McTavish, better known for their activities in the arenas of politics and commerce. The names Osier and McGillivray also appear, attesting to the interest shown in cricket by scions of the old pioneer families of Manitoba.

A strictly amateur, or dilettante, attitude to the game is evident in the casual approach to competition. Organization was conspicuously absent, and the customary method of arranging a match was by choosing teams arbitrarily and issuing challenges, a method which bears the stamp of hallowed English tradition. These challenge matches seem most often to have been played on high days and holidays, and a good deal of imagination evidently went into the selection and naming of the teams. The newspaper reports show that teams representing the military garrison were prominent, and most frequently successful, and that matches were played between teams comprising bankers and lawyers, but, in addition, there were games played by teams bearing names like All Corners, and Benedicts, the latter evidently a team of bachelors, and led by a clergyman called Beck.

In 1882 a Winnipeg cricket team went east for the first time to play a series of matches in Ontario and Quebec. The tour lasted from July 19 to August 5 and proved a resounding success for the Winnipeggers. They played against Toronto, London, Port Hope, Ottawa, and Montreal, and beat them all convincingly, the margin of victory being quite wide in all matches. The detailed scores appear in J. E. Hall’s and R. O. McCulloch’s monumental work, Sixty Years of Canadian Cricket, first published in 1894 and, although now long out of print, still available in the Winnipeg Public Library.

By the early years of this century, cricket was played in towns and villages from Emerson to Selkirk, and from Winnipeg to Moosomin and Wawanesa. Weekend horse-and-buggy expeditions between neighbouring towns were a common occurrence as rival cricket teams visited each other’s home grounds. The matches were invariably attended by numerous ladies in their summer finery and, if a military team was playing, the match would be made into a gala occasion by the presence and rousing performance of a military band. Military personnel, indeed, played a leading role in the cricket activities of these times, and military establishments were, of course, well equipped to provide suitable grounds and other facilities for the promotion of the game.

Interestingly, too, the spacious and well tended grounds of the hospitals for the mentally ill at Selkirk and Brandon for many years provided ideal cricket fields in pleasant surroundings. This happy connection between cricketers and the Provincial Mental Hospital authorities has, regrettably, been severed in more recent times, although this essayist well remembers having played in the last cricket match held in the grounds of the Brandon Mental Hospital in 1957.

Early in this century, too, wider cricketing horizons began to open up to Winnipeg cricketers. Inter-provincial and international competition became increasingly common after 1908, when a team of C.P.R. employees exchanged visits with a team in Minneapolis. The following year Saskatchewan sent a team to play in Winnipeg, and in 1912 a team came to the city from as far afield as Philadelphia, which was then amongst the most world renowned cricket playing centres. That same year a Winnipeg team challenged Toronto for possession of the John Ross Robertson trophy, then as now emblematic of the club cricket championship of Canada, and won handsomely in Toronto. The first three decades of the twentieth century were marked, too, by the signal successes of the Western Canadian Inter-provincial cricket series. Competing provincial representative teams from the four western provinces met annually for many years, sometimes at such unlikely venues as Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan and Moosomin, Manitoba. This burgeoning was to prove, in fact, the pinnacle of cricketing achievement in the west, a great flowering of the game that has never since been equaled.

In the midst of flowering, decay set in. Times were changing dramatically, and old traditions were being eroded by modern influences. The leisured way of life that had been open to certain fortunate classes in late Victorian and in Edwardian times was disappearing, and the few vestiges of the old, privileged style of life that survived the War of 1914-1918 finally vanished in the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing economic depression that lasted well into the 1930-1940 decade. The institution of cricket in Manitoba was no exception to the general rule of change in society, and, where the game survived at all, it was irreversibly changed. Pockets of resistance remained, of course, and, in one noteworthy tour de force, Winnipeg cricketers raised enough money even in the depths of the depression in 1932 to bring the world famous Australian team to the city that summer. This Australian team, which played matches against both Manitoba and Canada in Winnipeg, included the young Don (now Sir Donald) Bradman, perhaps the world’s most successful cricket player of that or any other era in the game’s long history. These events were exceptional, however, and the general tenor through the long depression years was apathy. The Second World War which followed decimated the ranks of Winnipeg cricketers, and all but annihilated the game here.

There was, it is true, some sporadic activity during the war. Australian and other Commonwealth aviation cadets took time from their flying training to help keep the summer game alive on the prairies but, when the war ended, only three cricket teams still existed in Winnipeg, and none elsewhere in Manitoba. Post-war immigration from Britain, and the re-opening of the flying training schools during the Korean War brought new cricketers to the area and ensured that the game would not become extinct, but cultural assimilation caused many of the newcomers to abandon cricket in favour of more socially acceptable recreations, like golf. Not until the arrival of a new wave of immigrants, this time from the Caribbean islands, in the 1960s, did the game once again begin to enjoy a resurgence of popularity and to attract considerable numbers of participants and greater public interest.
Even during the long doldrums, of course, the game continued to provide ample attractions for an initiated and devoted minority. The long tradition of cricket as an essential feature of the sports curricula of the big private schools in Ontario and British Columbia—the game was introduced at Upper Canada College, for example, as long ago as 1837—has done much to maintain the game in these provinces and has also provided an impetus for its promotion elsewhere across the country. In the past 25 years the game in Winnipeg has received repeated stimuli from a continuing series of inter-provincial competitions, international matches, and a never-ending stream of visiting teams from abroad.

The modern inter-provincial series started in Toronto in 1947, when the game in Winnipeg was strong enough only to send a corporal’s guard of cricketers to carry the Manitoba colours as a contingent of a combined Prairie Provinces team. The following year at Vancouver, however, and again at Edmonton and Calgary in 1949, Winnipeg cricketers appeared in force, and, by 1950, the year of the last disastrous Red River flood, they were able to stage the week-long series at Assiniboine Park. Manitoba cricket was back on the map. The events of these and other competitions of the 1947-1955 era were recounted in Cricket Our Weakness, published by the Manitoba Cricket Association in 1957.

In 1960, the Manitoba Colts, a team of Winnipeg schoolboys ranging in age from 12 to 18, travelled to Vancouver where, although considered underdogs in the competition, they astonished their opponents and, winning five of their six matches, emerged at the end of the week worthy winners of the Canadian Junior cricket championship.

The following year, 1961, Manitoba’s adult cricketers made a brave attempt, at Calgary, to emulate the achievement of their younger counterparts. Capably led by a New Zealand expatriate, the Manitobans finished worthy runners-up in this series.

Amongst the more frequent visitors from abroad during this period, the most popular are the teams of amateur, sheep-country cricketers from Tamworth, New South Wales, who, travelling under the aegis of the Emu Cricket Club, come to Winnipeg every fourth or fifth year. The Marylebone Cricket Club, domiciled at the famous headquarters of world cricket at Lord’s Ground in the heart of London. the club that started the modern game and that is charged with responsibility for carrying England’s colours and reputation abroad whenever a touring, representative team travels, has also several times played in Winnipeg, the most recent occasion being 1959.

The pinnacle of post-war cricket achievement in Winnipeg was, however, reached in 1970 when, to mark the occasion of the centenary of Manitoba’s entry into Canadian Confederation, Assiniboine Park was selected as the site and venue of the annual match between Canada and the United States. It is not commonly known that cricket is widely played in the United States, nor that the Canada-v-U.S.A. cricket match is historically the oldest international sporting event in the world, having commenced in 1844. The entire series has been recorded by John Marder in his book, The International Series, published in 1968.

In the match played here in 1970 the Canadian team possessed a commanding lead at the close of play on the first day, but were foiled by a torrential downpour which occurred on the second day and prevented the match from being played out to a decision.

Although it would be foolhardy to conclude a capsule history like this with a prediction of the future of the game in Winnipeg, it is probably fair to say that the game will survive. The Manitoba Cricket Association is a prosperous, non-profit corporation, incorporated under the Companies Act of Manitoba, and the game has achieved a modest measure of public recognition and support as well as tolerant and genuine, if polite rather than enthusiastic, responses from press, radio, and television. Winnipeg’s two hundred active cricket players look, with some confidence, to an auspicious beginning to the game’s second hundred years in Manitoba.

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Masters at Edmonton 2008 -- Posted Thursday, September 11 2008

After a long three-year absence and a few unexpected snags, the Masters were back in force at scenic Victoria Park over the August 23/24 weekend under clear, blue skies and blazing late summer sunshine which saw two competitive matches that narrowly went the home team way.

It was a genuinely exhilarating occasion to witness the great interest shown in the matches by the veterans from the two Alberta cities. It was equally uplifting to see the masters of yesteryear, many of whom coming out of long retirements, grace the field with enthusiastic cameos and an unending zest for the game, masters like Spencer Gooden, Paul St. Rose, Bhandari, Ivan Mahelal, Art Alfonso, yours truly, Charlie Green, at 70, probably the oldest man in Alberta who can still acquit himself admirably on a cricket field, Wilfred Steele, Sammy Naicken, Arthur Chung, Zafar Khan, Roy Thomas, Tallboy, and many more.

The matches were played in the true Spirit and Tradition of the Game. To observe the mutual respect, camaraderie, cooperation, sportsmanship, bantering and friendship was, indeed, exemplary. It would have been magnificent if more of the younger players had been present to witness.

The Masters are a great Alberta tradition and maybe other provinces will pick up on it before long. Alas, we must fully support it and retain the opportunity for our veterans and contributors to stay in the game for as long as they want and we must never again allow any reason keep it off the agenda.

Day one: Calgary scored 210 for 8 in their allotted overs with Paul St. Rose top-scoring with 56, followed by Ron Saywack 41 and Trevor DeFreitas 30. C. Chung and A. Jackson bagged two wickets each whilst A Chung, R Beepat and R. Singh captured one each

In reply, Zafar khan was unbeaten on 87, Art Chung 63, Sammy Naicken 19 and Ryan Rahaman 18.

For Calgary, Paul and Art took two scalps each with Ron and Bhandari chipping in with one each.

Day Two: Calgary batted first again and amassed 236 in 39 overs: Manny 98, Ivan 43, Art 35 and Paul 19. Steve Dutchin trapped six Calgary batters for 46.

Edmonton: 238 for 8: S. Dutchin 115, T. Browne 25 and K. Clark 28.

Bowling: Manny 3/44, Jackson 3 for 26.
* Jackson was a cross-over Edmontonian playing for Calgary.
* Steve Dutchin was the class of the competition with his lone but scintillating century and a brilliant six-for.

* Edmonton were great hosts...hats off to them. Thanks, guys, for making the was truly a great gesture we hope to match next year in Calgary!

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Toronto, Hamilton and Victoria (BC) Finals this weekend -- Posted Tuesday, September 9 2008

The semifinals and final of the Toronto and District Cricket Association (T&DCA) Elite Division are set for this weekend at Maple Leaf Cricket Club, King City , Ontario . Two other Canadian leagues, Ontario's Hamilton and District, and British Columbia's Victoria & District also have finals at the weekend.

In Saturday’s T&DCA semi-finals (Sept 13), Brampton Masters meet Centurions and PCB (Popeyes) meet Cavaliers. The winners meet in Sunday’s Final. These playoff games are due to start at 11 am each day.

Masters main run-getter this season was Albert Gopie with 365 regular season runs, including 3 fifties, while Rishi Bachan took 19 wickets at an average of 10.79. Atullen Beadle made 307 regular season runs for Centurions. PCB include Rizwan Cheema who hit two ODI fifties for Canada in the recent Scotiabank Series against West Indies, although Saeed Ahmad topped the club batting with 434 regular season runs. Cavaliers include Sunil Dhaniram, captain of Canada in that series. Dhaniram made 141 runs in one of just 5 regular season appearances for his club.

Playoffs in other divisions of the T&DCA continue into the next weekend.

The Hamilton & District Cricket League has a similar arrangement to the T&DCA Elite Division, with two semi-finals on Saturday, followed by a final on Sunday. Matches start at noon.

Saturday's semi-finals see the 2007 finalists Crescent and St Catherines meet at Mohawk Sports Park, Hamilton. St Catherines won on a miserable day last year. Players had scorched in the previous day's semi-finals. It can certainly be tough going for players in Canadian cricket. Mississauga Ramblers hosts Hamilton CC at the Avebury ground in Mississagua in the other semi-final. Hamilton CC beat the first West Indies touring team back in 1886. The venue for the final depends on the outcome of the semi-finals.

Beacon Hill on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is the setting for Saturday's Victoria and District Cricket League's final between Oak Bay and Alcos. Oak Bay won 10 and lost 5 regular season games. Alcos won 6 and lost 6 with 3 games rained-off. This match is also due to start at noon.

The British Columbia Mainland Cricket League was won by Pakcan, who beat Abbotsford, in the final, while the new Metro Vancouver Cricket League was won by Meraloma, who beat Richmond in the inauguarl final. Earlier this season, Meraloma won the John Ross Robertson Western Championship, involving champion clubs from the western provinces.

ICC set to move World Cup Qualifiers -- Posted Sunday, September 7 2008

Bangladesh in line to host tournament

A little more than a week after the postponement of the Champions Trophy, Cricinfo can reveal that the ICC will have to either move or postpone its next high-profile event, the World Cup Qualifiers.
The tournament, which involves the leading Associates, is due to be staged in the UAE next April, with the top four countries winning a place at the 2011 World Cup. The event will also be used to establish which six Associates will be granted one-day status for the next four years.

The competition had been arranged to mark the opening of the multi-million dollar Dubai Sports City, but it appears that the facility will not be ready until later in the year.

The option to delay staging the Qualifiers has not found favour among the Associates as it will reduce the time available to them to prepare for the World Cup itself.
That leaves the ICC looking for an alternative venue. Almost all Associate countries are ruled out by the time of year, with March and April being out of season for many. Malaysia has emerged as the only Associate with the facilities and climate which make hosting the tournament possible.

The other option is for the event to be held in Bangladesh, which has the infrastructure in place and where interest is likely to be much higher than elsewhere. However, several countries are believed to have expressed concerns that the conditions will be too unfamiliar for their players at that time of year. The counter argument is that some games in the World Cup itself will be held in Bangladesh so it will give the Associates good experience of the conditions facing them.

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Limbada blasts century in Toronto and District Junior Finals -- Posted Thursday, September 4 2008
E Norfolk

The Toronto and District Cricket Association has Canada ’s largest junior cricket leagues. The junior season concluded on Labour Day weekend with wins for Overseas at Under-19 level, Mississauga Ramblers at Under-17 level, Ontario Cricket Academy (OCA) at Under-15 and Famous North Stars Academy at the Under-13 level.

Overseas batted well against OCA in the Under-19 final. A third-wicket stand of 186 between Usman Limbada, who made 102, and Asif Manjra, who made 80 not out, pushed Overseas to an imposing total of 295 for 3 wickets in 50 overs. OCA’s leading batsmen Darius D’Souza and Lakshan Liyanage, both just back from the CIMA Toronto Mayor’s XI tour to England , were dismissed quickly and the OCA was bowled out for 145, losing by 150 runs.

Hussain Zaidi made a quick 45, followed by an aggressive 47 from Satsimranjit (Babar) Dhindsa for Mississauga Ramblers in the Under-17 Final. But the Cavaliers bowlers took over and the Ramblers tumbled to 127 all out in 21 overs, in a 50-overs a side match. Zaidi then struck with 3 early wickets and the Ramblers kept on the pressure, dismissing Cavaliers for just 85 runs, and won by 42 runs.

The Under-15 final saw the Toronto Cricket Academy (TCA) lock horns with the Ontario Cricket Academy (OCA). TCA elected to bat, but was restricted to 71 for 9 in 19 overs. Jeevan Sidhu took 3 wickets for 10 runs and Viduara Ratnayake took 3 wickets for 22 runs. Siddharth Mookerji lead the OCA victory chase, by scoring 26 runs and the OCA won by 5 wickets in scoring reaching 72 for 5 in 18.1 overs.

The Under-13 final was won by Famous North Stars, who had lost in the 2007 Final.

Several of the stars of these matches have played at the junior international level for Canada.

CIMA Toronto Mayor’s XI win 6 and draw 1 on Surrey Tour -- Posted Tuesday, September 2 2008

The CIMA Toronto Mayor’s XI won the last two matches of its tour to Surrey, England, and has returned with a highly successful record of 6 wins and 1 drawn match. The Toronto side had an encouraging 65 run win over a Surrey Cricket Board Under-18 side and left on a high note with an 8 wicket win over the Kingston-upon-Thames Deputy Mayor’s XI. Lakshan Liyanage scored half-centuries in each of these matches.

Summary Scores – last two tour matches

Aug 28 – 15 over match:

Kingston Deputy Mayors XI 108 for 7 wickets in 15 overs (Kala 42; Lakshan Liyanage 2-10, Darius D'Souza 2-26)

CIMA Toronto Mayor’s XI 111/2 in 13 overs (Lakshan Liyanage 52*, Darius D'Souza 38)

CIMA Toronto Mayor’s XI won by 8 wickets

Aug 27 – 40 over match:

CIMA Toronto Mayor’s XI 183 for 6 wickets (40 overs; Lakshan Liyanage 50*, Owais Khurshid 35)

Surrey Cricket Board Under-18’s 118 all out (34 overs R. Cook 31; Salman Nazar 3-12, Darius D'Souza 2-19)

CIMA Toronto Mayor’s XI won by 65 runs.