By RON FANFAIR
Canada will have a substitute coach for this month’s sixth biennial Americas Cup cricket competition in Bermuda.
Former national skipper Ingleton Liburd is temporarily vacating his desk duties as Cricket Canada’s Development Officer to fill in for Pubudu Dassanayake who will be attending a Cricket Australia High Performance clinic that coincides with the regional tournament which runs from May 28 to June 7.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has negotiated with Cricket Australia for six Associate members, including Canada, to attend the workshop.
Liburd, who acted as Cricket Canada’s chief executive officer for most of last year, is unfazed by the challenge of inspiring a side that has dropped 13 of its 15 matches this year and the last five, including a four-game sweep in last month’s Jamaica Cricket Festival’s (JCF) One-Day International and Twenty/20 series.
“I think I can bring a fresh perspective to the team,” he said. “In fact, I prefer to be out on the field working with players, especially the young ones, instead of being in an office.”
With just five batsmen reaching double figures in the JCF and Canada’s highest total being 148 in the four-game series, Liburd knows there are major batting concerns and is seeking to enlist the assistance of either Paul Prashad or Rohan Jayasekera, two of Canada’s most successful batsmen.
“We have got to get this thing turned around,” he said. “Some of our batsmen have to begin to start taking some responsibility and make contributions. Having Paul or Rohan pass on their knowledge and experience might help some of them move in the right direction.”
Liburd began working with the Greater Toronto Area-based players recently at Qasra indoor facility in Etobicoke. The practice sessions shifted last week to Toronto Cricket Club.
“We are looking to be at Toronto four times a week and the sessions will focus on all aspects of the game, including some individual training,” he said “We want to get the players in the best possible physical and mental shape for the upcoming tournament.”
Cricket Canada’s first vice-president and High Performance manager Ravin Moorthy hinted that Liburd’s association with the national side could be long-term.
“Going forward, we want to see him take a more active role in technical matters because that’s where his expertise is,” Moorthy said. “He brings added value and we want him to be more hands-on.
Canada – which won the inaugural 2000 Americas Cup and regained the title from the USA four years later — has not fared well in the last two series, finishing third in 2006 and 2008.
The national squad leaves on May 27 for the tournament that also includes defending champions the United States, host country Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.
Meanwhile, the winner of next year’s World Cup will receive nearly $4 million in prize money after the ICC announced a pool of $10 million for the tournament which is double what was at stake in the last World Cup in the West Indies three years ago.
Defending champions Australia pocketed $2.4 million while runner-up Sri Lanka took away just $1 million.
A total of 14 teams, including Canada, will contest the 10th quadrennial competition in south Asia next February and March.
Canada, which has won just one match in three tournaments, will meet host country Sri Lanka in Hambantota on February 20; Zimbabwe eight days later in Nagpur, India; Pakistan on March 3 in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Kenya on March 7 in Delhi, India; New Zealand in Mumbai, India on March 13 and Australia three days later in Bangalore, India.