Anything less than a championship victory is unacceptable.
That’s coach Ingleton Liburd’s outlook as Canada prepares to host the United States and Bermuda in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Under-19 cricket tournament and regional World Cup qualifier next week at King City.
“Not winning will be a major disappointment for us because we have an experienced side and we are playing at home,” said Liburd, a former national captain who is also Cricket Canada’s domestic development manager. “We have two players (top-order batsman Nitish Kumar and all-rounder Nikhil Dutta) who have represented Canada at the senior level and several others who play in the Toronto & District Cricket Association Elite and Premier divisions.”
The youngest player at the last World Cup, Kumar – who survived a horrific accident in England in 2005 that claimed his father’s life – will captain the 14-member team that includes eight Ontario players. They are Dutta, vice-captain Armaan Kapoor, Stephan Joseph, Talha Sheikh, Abrash Khan, Anikit Joshi and Stephan Rajasingam.
The rest of the squad is comprised of Gurkaran Dhillon and Amanpal Gillar (British Columbia), Farhan Malik and Sudeepta Aurka (Alberta) and Trevor Manoosingh and Vasu Shah (Manitoba).
All-rounder Joshua Gilbert will skipper Bermuda while talented wicketkeeper/batsman Steven Taylor will lead the U.S., whose coach is Trinidad & Tobago-born Robin Singh, who represented India in one Test and 136 One-Day Internationals. Basil Butcher Jr., the son of former Guyana and West Indies batsman Basil Butcher, is the physiotherapist for the U.S. team.
Last March, Taylor became the first American batsman to register a Twenty/20 century. He achieved the feast in 61 balls against Bermuda and was the leading scorer in the ICC World Cricket League Division Three series in May.
“He’s got talent and we will pay a lot of attention to him,” said Liburd.
Taylor will also captain the U.S. senior team in the Auty Cup contest against Canada at King City from July 25 to 28.
The national junior team is preparing at King City and Ross Lord Park this week prior to the double round-robin tournament that runs from July 8 to 13.
Canada plays Bermuda on July 9 and 12 and the U.S. on July 10 and 13.
The winner will represent the region at the 10th Under-19 Cricket World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in February 2014.
The 10 full member nations – defending champions and three-time winners India, Australia, which has also won the competition on three occasions; Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Zimbabwe – along with the host country and five associates will participate in the World Cup.
Namibia and Afghanistan have already booked their spots.
The East Asia-Pacific double round tournament featuring Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa ends on July 8 in Queensland, Australia while the European Under-19 competition, comprising Denmark, Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey, Scotland and host country, the Netherlands, will take place from August 2-8.