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Can Canada Eventually Enter the World Test Cricket Fray?

Canada has yet to firmly establish themselves in the world of cricket, which makes sense to somewhat of a degree. The country is mostly concerned with sports popular in North America, such as ice hockey, baseball and Canadian football. With all this known, can Canada enter the world test cricketing fray, as a developing nation within the sport? 

To best answer this question, we may want to take a better look at the history of cricket in Canada. As with rugby, cricket in Canada was first played in Montreal, with reports dating the game taking place in 1785. It is further reported that the first cricket game played on an organized basis was in 1834, with a club founded in Toronto being involved. 

Canada is somewhat of an outlier when it comes to cricket, as it is the only former dominion of the British Empire wherein cricket is a minor sport. In the likes of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Pakistan Sri Lanka cricket is either the most followed sport, or one of the most followed sports among citizens of these nations. 

While the country hosts two national competitions: the CIBC National Cricket League, and the Global T20 Canada, the country has not yet been sanctioned by the ICC to play test matches. This hasn’t prevented Canada from taking part in One Day Internationals, as well as first-class games in which they compete against other non-test playing countries. 

Much like is the case with a handful of other sports that Canada participates in, the rivalry with the US is fierce, and the fixture itself is in fact the oldest international fixture in cricket, having been first contested in 1844. 

While it’s clear that the odds are stacked against Cricket Canada for entering the test cricket scene, the sport, along with plenty of other sports in the country, have been handed a life-line. On the 27th of August, 2021, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act received Royal Assent, meaning that Canada’s provinces could govern themselves from an online and retail sports betting perspective. 

What link does this have to cricket or sports you may wonder? With each province being able to regulate itself, provinces have now elected to launch commercial betting markets, with sports betting in the province of Ontario set to launch on the 4th of April 2022. What is significant about this is that the province stands to generate nearly a billion Canadian dollars after merely one year of operating. 

This money could be used to invest in Canadian sport, and we could be further looking at sponsorship deals for teams, competitions, and so on. Now, the likelihood that Cricket Canada will receive any attention is unlikely, there is a chance that this inflow of income can have an effect. 

It is likely that we may never see Canada enter the test cricket scene, and if the country was to ever enter, it would be an uphill battle. But stranger things have happened. If we look at rugby, Italy have managed to rise up the international rankings, along with Japan. It isn’t impossible, it is unlikely. 

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