Veteran all-rounder Sunil Dhaniram is back in the Canadian team less than a week after going public with the news he had retired from the sport after being snubbed by the national selectors.
Following an exclusive interview that appeared in the last edition of Share, senior selection committee chair Chris James, High Performance Manager and Cricket Canada’s first vice-president Ravin Moorthy – both of whom did not initially return Dhaniram’s phone calls inquiring about his omission from the team meeting Ireland this week in an Intercontinental Cup match and two One-Day Internationals – and captain Ashish Bagai contacted the left hander requesting that he reconsider his decision.
Moorthy called him last Thursday, the same day that Share is published, while James and Bagai phoned 24 hours later.
“Both Ravin and Chris claimed they never received the phone messages I left them,” Dhaniram said. “Chris however told me the selectors wanted me to play in the four-day game but they could not guarantee me a spot in the teams to play the 50-overs matches. Ashish, on the other hand, said he was unaware that I had retired and he wanted me in the four-day team.”
Dhaniram’s recall may have been helped by the late withdrawal of middle-order batsman Jimmy Hansra.
After careful consideration, consultations with his wife and a few mentors, his employer’s blessing and an impressive performance last Saturday that helped Cavaliers defeat Overseas to achieve its first win this season in the Toronto & District Cricket Association’s Elite division, Dhaniram acceded to the selectors’ late request to play in the four-day match against the Irish that started last Tuesday.
In just his second club game this year and first in a month, Dhaniram scored an unbeaten 67, took two sharp slip catches and picked up a wicket in his team’s victory over Overseas which, like Cavaliers, has just one win this season.
“I felt good at the crease and I batted for over two hours which was important since I was going into a four-day match with minimal preparation,” he said. “I had not picked up a bat in almost a month, so it was important for me to go out there and occupy the crease for a lengthy period.”
Dhaniram says he still aspires to play in next year’s World Cup.
“I am fully aware that there is no guarantee that I will play again for Canada after this four-day game,” he said. “I am however confident in my ability and I know that if I do well, the selectors will have no other choice but to pick me.”