Veteran all-rounder Rizwan Cheema will captain Canada in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Division One Twenty/20 championship in Indianapolis next month.
The hard-hitting top-order batsman and useful medium pacer who turns 37 this summer, has been a member of the national team since 2008, when he made his debut in the Scotiabank trophy One-Day International (ODI) triangular series involving Bermuda and the West Indies at King City.
Opening the batting, Cheema slammed 34 off 24 balls with three sixes and three fours and took a wicket to lead Canada to a 25-run victory. Following disappointing performances, he was omitted from the national squad for almost a year before being recalled last December for the World Cricket League Division Two tournament in Namibia three months ago.
Cheema is averaging 24.64 and 34.21 with the bat and ball, respectively, in 33 ODI matches and 15.86 and 42.44 in 16 Twenty/20 matches.
Former Canadian middle-order batsman Manzoor Chaudhry is the manager, while Mukesh Narula is the coach.
The 14-member squad leaves on April 26 for Houston for a one-week training camp and three practice matches against local sides before heading to Indianapolis on May 2 for the four-team round-robin tournament that will run from March 3-10 at the new World Sports Park.
The other participating teams are host country the United States, Bermuda and Suriname.
The top two teams will advance to the 14-team World Twenty/20 qualifier from July 6-26 in Ireland and Scotland. The other qualifiers so far are Ireland, Scotland, Afghanistan, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Namibia, Kenya, Oman and Papua New Guinea.
The winner of the six-team European qualifier in Jersey from May 9-13 will progress to the World Twenty/20 qualifier.
Meanwhile, Cricket Canada – whose annual general meeting takes place this weekend in Montreal – is looking for a new home after the Ontario Sport Alliance (OSA), which lost its provincial funding, filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors last week.
Cricket Canada was sharing space with the ICC Americas region staff at the OSA building in the Don Valley & Eglinton Ave. E. area.