By RON FANFAIR
The national cricket side needs to build momentum as the World Cup looms in the next few months.
With just two wins this year in 15 matches, Canada will be seeking to show it’s capable of competing against the world’s top teams when it begins play tomorrow in the Americas Region Division One tournament in Bermuda.
Canada opposes the Cayman Islands on the opening day before taking on the United States on Saturday, Argentina next Monday (May 31) and host country the Bahamas on June 1. The national side will also play the USA and Argentina on June 5 in two Twenty/20 contests.
National captain Ashish Bagai has been rested for the upcoming series. The 28-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman has been bothered by a nagging knee injury over the past year.
“He has played through it but, unfortunately, it has not improved much in the past three months,” said Cricket Canada’s vice-president and High Performance manager Ravin Moorthy. “He’s now being treated and going through intensive rehabilitation with the medical staff.”
National youth skipper Rustum Bhatti will keep wicket while hard-hitting opener and useful medium pacer Rizwan Cheema will captain the side in the sixth biennial tournament.
The other members of the squad are Khurram Chohan (vice-captain), Trevin Bastiampillai, Umar Bhatti (no relation to Rustum), Parth Desai, Sunil Dhaniram, Jimmy Hansra, Calvert Hooper, Sandeep Jyoti, Nitish Kumar, Usman Limbada and Zubin Surkari.
Former national skipper Ingleton Liburd is temporarily vacating his desk duties as Cricket Canada’s Development Officer to be the coach in place of Pubudu Dassanayake who will be attending Cricket Australia’s biennial science, medicine and coaching conference in Queensland from June 1-3.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has negotiated with Cricket Australia for six Associate members, including Canada, to attend the conference.