By RON FANFAIR
The margin for error in cricket’s shortest version – Twenty/20 – is extremely minimal.
Canada now knows that after their extremely disappointing showing in the just concluded International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty/20 World Cup qualifier in the United Arab Emirates.
Not only did the national senior team go winless – the Scots did too – in the eight-team qualifier for this year’s World Cup in the West Indies, but the margin of defeat in two of the three contests was embarrassing.
Canada succumbed to Kenya by nine wickets with 38 balls remaining and to the United Arab Emirates by 42 runs in 69 minutes with 25 balls left.
“This was absolutely disappointing,” said Cricket Canada’s vice-president and High Performance Manager Ravin Moorthy. “Our goal going in was to win the tournament so, of course, we expected to qualify.”
Winners Afghanistan and losing finalist Ireland advanced to the third ICC tournament to be played in Guyana, St. Lucia and Barbados from April 30 to May 16. Afghanistan is in the same group with India and South Africa while Ireland joins the West Indies and England. The remaining groups comprise Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia and Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.
Former captain John Davison, who is the spin bowling coach with Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, epitomized Canada’s abysmal effort, scoring just eight runs – two ducks – off eight balls.
Canada spent a month in Sri Lanka preparing for the tournament.
“Our guys have been exposed to a lot of first-class cricket and specialist coaching and training,” Moorthy said. “We had a lot of preparation going into to the United Arab Emirates.”
Medium-pacer Arsalan Qadir – who was inexplicably sent out as a replacement for Henry Osinde who was posted home because of indiscipline – appeared in the crucial second game against Kenya, bowling just one over. Qadir and Manny Aulakh were sent out for Osinde and Abdool Samad who suffered a shoulder injury in Sri Lanka and was forced to return home.
Qadir did not leave with the rest of his teammates at the beginning of January for the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand because of disciplinary problems. The team returned home two weeks ago.
It’s alleged that Qadir – who arrived in New Zealand a day before the start of the competition – was among several players who broke curfew at least once during the tournament. He is also accused of using foul language in front of teammates and officials.
Moorthy said Cricket Canada did not receive the team management’s report as of last week.
“Arsalan went through a disciplinary process which we have and he was able to join the squad in New Zealand,” said Moorthy. “However, we have not seen the report of the New Zealand tour and we cannot act on hearsay.”
Moorthy, meanwhile, said Cricket Canada will conduct an independent assessment of all its programs, beginning later this month.
Canada takes on Afghanistan in the second of two One-Day Internationals today in Sharjah. The two teams will meet again in a four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture starting on February 20 at the same venue.