By RON FANFAIR
Canada’s national youth cricketers are set for the upcoming youth cricket World Cup in New Zealand after taking part in a rigorous 10-day training camp in St. Kitts.
The 17-member squad, which returned home on December 21, played two limited-overs matches against the West Indies youth side – one game was ruined by rain while the Caribbean side won the other – and a 50-overs contest against a St. Kitts Under-23 side that Canada clinched by 139 runs. The matches were played at Warner Park.
Half-centuries by Rustam Bhatti (81), Hiral Patel (61) and Usman Limbada (55 not out) propelled Canada to a 300-6 in 50 overs. Patel completed a fine all-round performance, taking four wickets while Parth Desai claimed five to limit the home team to 161.
“I am very happy with the way things went during the camp,” said coach Wilbert Plummer. “The facilities were excellent and the island’s Ministry of Sport was very supportive.”
British-based fielding coach Julien Fountain, a former English baseball player who has worked part-time with the West Indies, Pakistan and England, accompanied the team.
“You could see an improvement in the team’s fielding as the camp progressed,” said Plummer. “The catching got better and the lads were moving quicker to the ball that resulted in a few run-outs…Overall, the trip was very productive and I expect our boys to be competitive in the upcoming international tournament.”
The 15-member national squad leaves here on January 2 for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand. The squad will play practice matches on January 8 in Auckland before traveling to Christchurch to meet South Africa on January 11 and Hong Kong a day later in warm-up games.
Canada begins play in the Under-19 World Cup tournament on January 15 against Zimbabwe. The team will then meet host country New Zealand a day later and Sri Lanka on January 18.
A total of 16 teams will take part in the two week tournament.