Canada achieved its first and only World Cup win against Bangladesh a decade ago, outfitted with cricket kit supplied by Admiral Sportswear.
Submerged in a lean spell, Cricket Canada’s president, Ravin Moorthy, is counting on the return of the internationally recognized cricket brand and Ashish Bagai to turn around the team’s fortunes.
At a press conference following last week’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Development Committee meeting in Toronto, Moorthy welcomed Bagai back to the fold and announced Admiral as the new uniform sponsor for the next three years.
Admiral, which entered the world of cricket in 2000, is also the kit supplier for the West Indies, which won the Twenty/20 World Cup last October in Colombo.
Moorthy also revealed that Cricket Canada has entered into an agreement with CricHQ, which is the world leader in cricket technology. The company’s flagship product is a scoring app that captures fundamental details such as runs, wickets and dot balls, in addition to batting and bowling wagon wheels and bowlers pitch maps.
The app, which can be installed on IOS and Android devices, allows anyone in the world to follow a cricket match in real time with just the push of a button. In partnership with Google, CricHQ TV features a live internet broadcast aspect, streaming video footage to millions around the world.
“We like to be on the cutting edge of technology,” said Moorthy. “This will provide for competition management and anybody can now follow the national team’s progress and our domestic competitions on their computers, mobile devices and some telecasts we will be providing this year.”
Moorthy was in good spirits following meetings with the ICC top brass, including President Alan Isaac and Chief Executive Officer David Richardson, who replaced Sharad Pawar and Haroon Lorgat, respectively, last year.
“I have not had a good relationship with the ICC in the last five years,” said 36-year-old Moorthy, who succeeded Ranjit Saini as Cricket Canada’s president in April 2012. “The new team has been absolutely wonderful to us. Having your largest stakeholder believe in what you are doing as opposed to just saying we have funding criteria and you have to stick to it means a lot.
“It was also important that they come to Canada at this juncture. I think, for one of the few times, Cricket Canada felt that our concerns were listened to. They came here with fair feedback and they have given us fair and measurable goals to work towards.”
Isaac said the trip provided the ICC with an opportunity to observe the new developments in Canadian cricket management following the last annual general meeting (AGM) in Halifax in March. Some of the sweeping changes made at the last AGM included the reduction of the board of directors from 17 to seven and the installation of specific standards for its national selectors who will now be appointed.
“About a year ago, we were not happy with what was happening with Cricket Canada,” said Isaac. “We were here to learn a little bit more about what was happening with cricket in Canada. The key platform of the ICC strategy is to have a bigger and better global game and to that extent, we have created some funds in recent times to assist the lower ranked members, but more particularly to help the better Associate countries develop their game. Our aim is to have a World Cup with 14 teams where each of them can win the tournament.
“That’s not the case at the moment. In the Twenty/20 competition, probably eight can win and in the One-Day 50-over tournament, probably six could win. It’s a big goal, but Canada is a very important part of that goal…It’s critical to the ICC and our success that Canada is there, not just competing, but actually winning as well.”
Isaac announced that the development committee has granted Cricket Canada some funds to help advance the sport.
“That’s primarily aimed at the grassroots level,” he said. “It’s obviously important that if the game is to improve, you must have a strong base.”
Last year, the ICC took a significant step towards bridging the gap between the 10 Full members and the Associates by establishing a $12 million Targeted Assistance & Performance Program (TAPP). Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan have already been awarded various sums of money as the ICC aims to develop more competitive teams at the highest level of the game.
Moorthy said that Canada’s application, which was put on hold last year, has been approved.
Cricket Canada currently receives about $310,000 for being an Associate member and an additional $650,000 annually from the ICC under the High Performance Program. The federal government provides the sport’s governing body with annual base funding of nearly $78,000.
Earlier this year, Canada’s Minister Responsible for Sport, Bal Gosal, delivered $100,000 to help the national team prepare for important upcoming World Cup qualifiers. He has also promised an additional $50,000 this year to help with the team’s preparation for the 2014 Twenty/20 World Cup qualifier in Dubai in October and the 2015 World Cup qualifier in New Zealand in January.