The national women’s cricket team is in the Cayman Islands preparing for next week’s Americas Division One Twenty/20 tournament.
With no playing time together since losing to the Americans in the regional World Cup qualifier two years ago, coach George Codrington welcomed Cricket Canada’s decision to send the squad early to the British Overseas Territory for the preparatory camp.
“Winter training in Canada is not ideal and we also have several new players in our squad, so we need some time to get everybody match-ready and on the same page,” said Codrington, a former Barbados youth captain and Canadian all-rounder. “This is going to be a very busy week as we try to achieve those goals and ensure the girls are in the best possible position to win this tournament.”
Canada, along with newcomer the Cayman Islands, Argentina, the United States, Bermuda and Brazil will compete for a spot in the 2013 World Cup Twenty/20 qualifier.
Five newcomers are included in the 13-member touring party for the tournament that runs from April 23-27. They are left-arm medium pacers Lorraine Kenton of Toronto and Winnipeg-based Vijayani Vithanage; Kaisoca Ladies Cricket Club right-handed batsman, Durirya Shabbir and leg-spinner Kamna Mirchandani; and off-spinner Hala Azmat from Mississauga.
Codrington is enthused by the selection of the left-handed bowlers.
“If used correctly, I think those are two weapons that could be advantageous to us,” he said. “The women cricketers in the region are not used to left-arm bowling, especially on slow wickets. In addition, most of the players are not technically correct.”
Former Sri Lanka skipper Suthershini Sivanantham, who moved to Canada four years ago, is the team’s captain. The 38-year-old all-rounder has appeared in 27 One-Day Internationals since making her debut against The Netherlands in Colombo in 1997.
The squad also includes 32-year-old all-rounder Maree Wilson who moved from Victoria, British Columbia to New Zealand with her husband last year and 17-year-old vice-captain Mikaela Turik who three years ago made history by becoming the youngest cricketer (male or female) to represent Canada in an open-age international championship when she debuted against Argentina as a 14-year-old in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Cup championship Florida.
Born and raised in Sydney with her Canadian father and Aussie mother, the top-order right-handed batsman and medium pacer will join the University of Victoria basketball program this year.
The other touring party members are Saniyah Zia and Mahwish Khan of the Greater Toronto Area, British Columbia’s Kim Coulter and Joanna White, Kitchener’s Monali Patel and Sheryl Tittlemier of Winnipeg.
Host country England won the first Twenty/20 women’s World Cup three years ago. Australia emerged victorious in the 2010 series in the Caribbean. Sri Lanka hosts the third edition in September while Bangladesh will roll out the red carpet for the 2014 competition.
By RON FANFAIR