A former Nottinghamshire coach will assist Andy Pick with the national senior team that’s in New Zealand preparing for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup qualifying tournament.
Paul Johnson, who was released by the club a month ago after a 32-year association, will work with the batsmen. Notts’ youngest player when he made his debut in 1981, Johnson scored 20,256 runs before retiring 11 years ago to take up coaching.
The county’s batting coach prior to his release, the ex-Notts captain spent nearly two weeks in the Greater Toronto Area last month working with the inconsistent Canadian batsmen.
“His experience of one-day batting plus his captaincy experience make him someone perfect to work with,” said Cricket Canada’s president Ravin Moorthy.
Johnson and Pick, who was in England with his family over the holiday season, joined the national squad in New Zealand last weekend.
Pick, who coached Canada from March 2006 to May 2007, was recalled to prepare the national side for the World Cup qualifier after Gus Logie was fired last month.
Canada will play warm-up matches against The Netherlands and Uganda on January 10 and 11 before its opening contest against the United Arab Emirates on January 15. The national side will also oppose Hong Kong on the 17th, Nepal two days later and Scotland on the 23rd.
The national side comprises Amarbir “Jimmy” Hansra (capt.), Harvir Baidwan, Trevin Bastiampillai, Khurram Chohan, Parth Desai, Nikhil Dhutta, Jeremy Gordon, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Nitish Kumar, Usman Limbada, Cecil Pervez, Raza Rehman, Junaid Siddiqui, Zeeshan Siddiqui and Hamza Tariq.
The top two sides in the 10-team tournament will join the ICC’s 10 Full Members and Ireland and Afghanistan in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.
Ireland and Afghanistan qualified automatically after being the top two teams in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League championship. Canada was last in the tournament with one win in 12 matches.
Moorthy said funding could be cut back if Canada fails to qualify for the World Cup.
“It will be a step back if we don’t advance to the World Cup,” he said. “Our basic funding level will remain the same, but additional funding of up to $500,000 that’s assigned to help high performance teams prepare for global World Cup tournaments could cease. That funding will most likely go to countries like Nepal and Hong Kong which advanced to the Twenty/20 World Cup.”
Cricket Canada currently receives about $960,000 annually in ICC High Performance Program funding.
Failing to qualify for the World Cup, Canada’s senior players’ next major engagement will be in 2015 when the new ICC Intercontinental Cup cycle starts.
“We will use that time to rebuild,” said Moorthy. “We are in the process of planning some fixtures against Caribbean countries and we have the Auty Cup series with the United States later this year.”