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CW World Cup Countdown. Day 4 - Canada
27 Feb 2007
By: Manan Shah


As part of a series of articles leading up to the World Cup, Cricket Web presents a daily review on the background, players and prospects a specific competing team, starting with the minnows and building up to the favourites. Today we feature Canada.

Introduction

When someone thinks of cricket, Canada does not immediately spring to mind. Though not the strongest of the minnow nations, they have some strength that could lead to an upset or two. The Canadian cricket team has traditionally been composed of expatriates from the subcontinent, and going into the 2007 World Cup, that does not look like changing.

Lead up to the Tournament

Though their four day form has been great, with victories against both Kenya and Bermuda, their one day form has yet to reach the same heights.

They are 4 wins, 6 losses in the last ten games, with memorable victories against Bermuda and Ireland, but crushing losses against Kenya and Scotland.

The problem for them has been the inability to put together a consistent performance in all departments. They have shown the ability to chase big totals, such as the game against Ireland when Canada chased down 308 with six wickets to spare.

Players to Watch

Ashish Bagai - The man in form. The exciting wicket-keeper batsman is perhaps Canada's best chance of an upset in the first round. He has just finished a stretch of five matches averaging 86, including a brilliant 137 not out against Scotland and a 122 against Ireland. He bagged the Player of the Tournament at the ICC World League event for those performances, and at twenty-five, his development as a player will be exciting to watch during the world cup.

John Davidson - The captain of the Canadian team has been the main stray of this side for a long time. He has had a good couple months, averaging 40 with the bat in his last five games and Canada will need him to lead from the front if they hope to progress past the first stage.

Strengths

Canada has a good mix of youth and experience at their disposal. Many of their players have played in a World Cup before, and the limelight is not new to them. It will be essential for them to draw on that experience. They also have several men in form, including their young wicketkeeper Ashish Bagai. Though young, he already has several years of international cricket experience behind him, having played in the 2003 World Cup.

Weaknesses

Their bowling can sometimes be sub par, and they have struggled to bowl sides out cheaply even when their batting has clicked. No one from the bowling department has emerged as a consistent performer for them, which may come back to haunt them when the World Cup begins. In addition, they are in a tough group, with Kenya (generally considered the strongest of the associates) also with them.

Previous World Cups

Canada has only participated in two World Cups in their history: 1979 and 2003. They have lost all but one of the games in their two World Cup campaigns, but the lone victory was a memorable one - coming against Bangladesh in the 2003 World Cup. Unfortunately, their losses have been by big margins, with all being by four wickets or more (and one by 118 runs).

Predicted Finish for this World Cup 15th

Unfortunately, they simply do not have the consistent performers anywhere in their lineups to have a serious chance at making it out of the first round. Couple that with the fact that their group contains Kenya, New Zealand and England - all of whom should be more than a match for them.

Their best hope lies in their batting, and if the bowling can click for a match and the young batsmen like Bagai can come through - then anything can happen.

Canada World Cup Squad
John Davison (captain), Ashish Bagai, Geoff Barnett, Umar Bhatti, Ian Billcliff, Desmond Chumney, Austin Codrington, Anderson Cummins, Sunil Dhaniram, Ashif Mulla, Henry Osinde, Qaiser Ali, Abdool Samad, Kevin Sandher, George Codrington

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