All-rounder Rizwan Cheema, who has captained Canada in the shorter versions of the game in the last year, has been omitted from the national squad for the Intercontinental Cup four-day fixture starting today and World Cricket League (WCL) 50-over matches against the Netherlands on August 27 and 29 at King City.
The hard-hitting batsman and useful medium pacer said he informed the selectors he was unavailable for the four-day game for personal reasons. However, he said he was available for the two limited-overs contests.
Chair of the national selection committee, Chris James, said Cheema remains a key part of the national program.
“He’s still a big part of our set-up and we are asking for more from him and the other players as we move forward,” said James, the Cricket Alberta immediate past president.
Days after the national squads were announced, Cheema put on a power-hitting display against Islanders last Saturday with an explosive double century in the Toronto & District Cricket Association (TDCA) elite division at King City.
The Brampton Masters Tranzac player innings of 207 included twenty sixes and eleven boundaries. All-rounder Damodhar Daesrath’s 66 was the next best individual score in the team’s total of 348-8 in 50 overs.
Three years ago, Cheema slammed an unbeaten 215 in an Etobicoke & District Cricket League Twenty/20 match.
Ashish Bagai will captain the national side in the WCL matches against the Dutch while Amarbir “Jimmy” Hansra will assume the leadership role in the four-day game. This is the first time that Bagai is captaining the team since taking a break from the sport to pursue MBA studies at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. He graduated last May.
“It was always our plan for Ashish to captain the team and he indicated to us that he wanted to do so now because he felt the time is right,” said James.
Former Uganda player Kenneth Kamyuka, who recently completed the required four-year residency period in Canada, will make his national debut in the WCL matches. Three years ago, the Brampton Masters Tranzac all-rounder became the first African-born player to capture the TDCA Senior Player of the Year Award.
He scored 414 runs (av. 41.40) and took 16 wickets (av. 19.31) in 16 elite division games.
The 31-year-old right-handed middle-order batsman and useful medium pacer, who scored an unbeaten 100 against Malaysia in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy tournament in the Greater Toronto Area 12 years ago, is the second Ugandan-born player to represent Canada after medium-pacer Henry Osinde made his national debut in 2005.
“Kenneth will be a valuable asset to Canada because he understands the game,” said Cricket Canada’s domestic development manager, Ingleton Liburd. “He’s a very sensible player.”
The Intercontinental Cup four-day squad is Amarbir Hansra (captain), Ashish Bagai, Harvir Baidwan, Damodar Daesrath, Jeremy Gordon, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Nitish Kumar, Usman Limbada, Salman Nazar, Henry Osinde, Hiral Patel, Cecil Pervez, Raza Rehman and Junaid Siddiqui.
The WCL squad comprises Ashish Bagai (captain), Harvir Baidwan, Damodar Daesrath, Jeremy Gordon, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Amarbir Hansra, Kenneth Kamyuka, Nitish Kumar, Usman Limbada, Salman Nazar, Henry Osinde, Hiral Patel, Raza Rehman and Junaid Siddiqu.
New Zealand-born Peter Borren will captain the Dutch in both formats of the game.