With 10 days preparation in Sri Lanka and two warm-up matches in the United Arab Emirates this week, Canada is prepared and ready for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty/20 World Cup qualifier that starts on Friday.
The Canadians split a four-match series in Sri Lanka, that included a six-wicket victory over Scotland.
“We left Sri Lanka feeling a lot more confident about our ability to play the T20 format,” said coach Gus Logie. “During the time we were there, we saw a marked improvement in our fitness and skill levels. We tried many different batting and bowling combinations and we are quite confident that we have a good idea of what works.”
Canada has never qualified for the Twenty/20 World Cup that will be played in Bangladesh next year.
Doug Hannum, Cricket Canada’s chief executive officer, hopes that changes this time around.
“This qualification tournament represents the culmination of eight months of training and preparation for the team,” he said. “As an organization, we have thrown all of our support into the team and we believe that they are completely prepared.”
Skipper Ashish Bagai, who is appearing in his fourth Twenty/20 World Cup qualifier, believes the national side has the right mix to win this tournament.
“Being a Twenty/20 short format competition, you obviously go in there to finish on top,” he said. “Our first goal is however to qualify, but if you get that far, there is no reason any of the top six Associate countries can’t win the tournament. In saying that, it is not going to be easy as we haven’t really had the results we would have wanted in the last year or so. We know there is a lot of hard work ahead, but we are absolutely going in there to win the tournament.”
Canada’s first opponent is neighbours the United States. The national side will then meet Ireland (November 16), Hong Kong (18), Uganda (19), the United Arab Emirates (22), Namibia (23) and Italy (24).
A total of 16 teams are vying for six World Cup spots in the two-week tournament.
The other group comprises Afghanistan, The Netherlands, Scotland, Kenya, Bermuda, Denmark, Nepal and Papua New Guinea.
The group winners will automatically advance to the World Cup while the second and third place teams in the two groups will play cross-over matches on November 27. The two winners will progress to the World Cup. The fourth and fifth place finishers in each group will also play cross-over games. The winners will then oppose the losers of the second and third cross-over fixtures with the victorious side advancing to the World Cup.
The Canadian squad is Ashish Bagai (capt.), Harvir Baidwan, Rizwan Cheema, Henry Osinde, Damodhar Daesrath, Abzal Dean, Jeremy Gordon, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Amarbir “Jimmy” Hansra, Kenneth Kamyuka, Usman Limbada, Hiral Patel, Raza-ur-Rehman, Junaid Siddiqui and Hamza Tariq.