By RON FANFAIR
So impressed were they with the cricket facilities and Cricket Canada’s ability to host the Under-19 World Cup global qualifier in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in September that International Cricket Council (ICC) officials Andrew Faichney and David Thorley cut short their assessment visit last week from four to just two days.
Faichney, the ICC’s Development Event Manager and Thorley, the tournament manager, met with Cricket Canada’s secretary Calvin Clarke and acting chief executive officer Ingleton Liburd and visited Toronto Cricket Club, Malton, Ajax and Maple Leaf cricket grounds before leaving last Wednesday night. They also toured G. Ross Lord Park which has a turf wicket which is in a state of disrepair and will not be used for the 10-team tournament to be played from September 1-13.
Maple Leaf ground at King City has four turf wickets while there is one each at the other venues. The ICC has stipulated that a minimum of five turf pitches is required to host the competition.
Because of heavy rain early last week, part of the King City ground was under water when the ICC officials toured the facility on Canada Day.
“It’s fantastic to come to Canada and have a look at the facilities,” said Faichney. “Having so many grounds at one location (at King City) is excellent. I am sure that everything will be up to the required standard once we get to September.
“We just want consistent wickets and grounds basically. This is going to be a full 10-team round robin tournament, so we need to have facilities that will allow the best cricket sides in the event to come out on top and not be affected by anything that’s extraneous.”
A total of 10 ICC Associate and Affiliate teams will compete for five spots in the 2010 Youth World Cup in New Zealand.
Two teams from the five ICC Development regions – the Americas, Africa, Asia, East Asia-Pacific and Europe – will take part in the global qualifier with the winners joining Kenya and the 10 Full Members in next year’s 16-team youth World Cup held every two years since 1998.
Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu have already booked their places for Canada after finishing first and second in their regional competitions. The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, with a population of nearly 216,000, was elevated to Associate membership of the ICC at last month’s annual conference at Lords.
The Americas qualifier, featuring Bermuda, the United States, Argentina, the Cayman Islands and host country Canada, is taking place this week at King City while the European qualifier comprising Denmark, Guernsey, Ireland, Scotland, Jersey and The Netherlands, will be held in Jersey from July 14-20.
A total of five games will be played each day, with a rest day every two days, during the upcoming 45-game global qualifier.
This is the second largest tournament that Canada will host since the ICC Trophy competition for Associates in 2001, and it will be used as a test run for the 2012 Youth World Cup to be staged here.
Faichney said the ICC’s decision last month to strip Kenya of the rights to host the 2010 youth World Cup because it felt the facilities would not be ready for the series in the next seven months should not be of concern to Cricket Canada which is slated to host the event in the next three years.
“One situation does not lead to another,” he said. “They are quite different scenarios…Malaysia hosted a successful tournament last year. It was just unfortunate that the grounds in Kenya could not be ready in time for next year…Canada has been appointed as the host for 2012 and we want it to go forward. Anything that the upcoming global qualifier can bring to assist in that regard will be great.”