The national youth cricket team has begun preparations for next year’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
The coaching staff, comprising Wilbert Plummer and his assistant Farouk Kirmani, met with players and their families to roll out Cricket Canada’s plan for the squad for the next three months.
The tournament takes place in January.
“The majority of the players who will form the nucleus of the squad are in college and university, so we wanted them and their parents to get a clear understanding of what our expectations are for them in the next few months,” said Plummer. “We want to make sure they follow a prepared fitness schedule and also pay attention to their nutrition. It’s about getting everybody on the same page.”
All-rounder Hiral Patel and middle-order batsman Usman Limbada, who played pivotal roles in Canada advancing to the finals, will head to Sri Lanka later this month while all-rounder Darius D’Souza has transferred from the University of Toronto to England to further his studies.
“Usman and Hiral will play cricket in Sri Lanka for a few weeks while Darius’ university has a cricket academy that will help with his preparation,” said Plummer.
Limbada was the fifth leading scorer in the ICC Global Qualifier in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) last month with 288 runs (av. 36) while left-arm spinner Patel was the second leading wicket-taker with 17 (av.15.88)
The squad will begin indoor training this weekend.
“We hope to have about three sessions a week,” said Cricket Canada’s senior development officer, Ingleton Liburd, who, along with national senior team coach Pubudu Dassanayake, will assist with the preparations. “A squad of about 20 will soon be named, but we expect the majority to come from the side that participated in the ICC Global Qualifier.”
With the squad limited to indoor training before the tournament, Liburd said preparations are being made for the team to travel to the Caribbean – possibly Jamaica — in December for a short camp and a few practice matches.
“We are looking at a minimum of a week and possibly two weeks which will mean they will be in the Caribbean for Christmas,” said Liburd. “We will then try to get them out to either Australia or host country New Zealand a bit early in January so they could complete preparations for the competition. The aim is to get the best prepared team on the field to compete in the series.”
Canada made its last appearance in the youth World Cup five years ago in Bangladesh. The national team lost all six of its matches to Uganda, Ireland, host country Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Australia led by Tim Paine, who was the wicketkeeper/batsman in the Aussie team that retained the Champions Trophy in South Africa last Monday.
Canada will join the United States, Afghanistan, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and the ICC Full members West Indies, Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, England, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and defending champions India in the 16-team tournament to be played from January 16 to 30 in Christchurch, New Zealand.