April 23, 2011
Canada still has a shot at cricket World Cup
By NORMAN DA COSTA, QMI Agency
Canada is cautiously optimistic it could still compete in the next World Cup to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
The International Cricket Council has come under withering criticism for its recent decision to boot out the minnow nations and limit the next tournament to the 10 Test-playing nations.
After being bombarded by letters, emails and insults from the 95 associate and affiliate countries and fans, ICC president Sharad Pawar says his council will revisit the decision at its next meeting in Hong Kong in June.
"It is obvious the ICC was forced to review its decision following the (negative) responses they received,'' said Chandra Gocool, Cricket Canada's CEO. "But having said that I am skeptical to some extent as it could be a smokescreen to placate the non-playing Test countries until the storm dies out.
"My personal opinion is that ICC's credibility has dipped downwards, but let us give them the benefit of doubt and see what comes out of that meeting in Hong Kong."
ICC's high performance manager Richard Done visited Toronto last week for meetings with Canadian officials but declined to talk to the press regarding the nature of his visit. The ICC also muzzled the Canadian officials. Canada depends on the ICC for its handout of some $900,000 U.S. for its programs. But if the World Cup becomes a closed shop that funding could dry up.
Ireland has gone to great lengths to condemn the ICC's outrageous decision and for a good reason -- it is ranked 10th in the standings ahead of Test country Zimbabwe. In the last two World Cups Ireland has beaten Bangladesh, Pakistan and England. Ireland has hinted at legal action if it isn't included in 2015. The Aussies, meanwhile, are the only country that supports the ICC's shameful decision. The almighty dollar rules over common sense.
The ball is now in ICC's court. If it stands by its original decision it would be fitting to call the 2015 tournament "The Invitational" as it would be ridiculous to call it the World Cup.
CANUCK COACH QUITS
Pubudu Dassanayake is the latest coach to follow in the footsteps of several other officials who have resigned or not had their contracts renewed following the World Cup. After three years on the job, Dassanayake has quit as Canada's coach. He gave no reason for his decision, but it was generally accepted he would step down after Canada's dismal performance, where it won just one of its games. Dassanayake, who earned 11 Test caps for Sri Lanka prior to moving to Canada, was not available for comment as he is attending a coaching seminar in Dubai. . . . West Indian Eldine Baptiste has thrown in the towel as Kenya's national coach. There were rumblings during the World Cup that the players were upset by some of his decisions and wanted him fired. So his departure comes as no surprise. Baptiste's team failed to win a game and Canada's only victory came against his team. The sport in the country has hit rock bottom after that stirring World Cup semifinal appearance in 2003, but no nation can touch those classy Kenyans when it comes to running the marathon ... John Buchanan, who coached Australia to three World Cup titles and a record 16 Test wins in a row since 1999, is New Zealand's new director of cricket. That puts him in charge of everything to do with the sport in the country.
IPL RULES THE ROOST
The Indian Premier League has an unprecedented hold on the majority of the world's best players. Little wonder, since they can pocket around $1 million for two months' work. The 10-team tournament that runs from April 8 to May 28 is playing havoc with some countries and club teams who have to make do without their best players ... Sri Lanka demanded its Test players -- including paceman Lasith Malinga -- return home by May 3 to prepare for the forthcoming tour of England. Instead of complying, Malinga retired from Tests. He says his wonky knee can stand up to one-day contests but cannot absorb the rigours of five-day matches ... West Indies' ace player Chris Gayle also ruffled feathers by making himself unavailable for matches against touring Pakistan. Gayle announced his arrival in India by hammering 102 off 55 balls Saturday to help Royal Challengers Bangalore crush Kolkata Riders by nine wickets. Kolkata made an imposing 172 and Bangalore reached its target with 11 balls to spare ... The Windies, meanwhile, won its opening Twenty20 match against Pakistan by seven runs at St. Lucia on Thursday thanks to Lendl Simmons' 65 and a fine spell of four for 17 by leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo. West Indies made 150 for seven and Pakistan replied with 143 for nine.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Gerry Alexander, that great West Indies wicket-keeper best remembered for his knock of 60 against Australia in that famously-tied Test in Brisbane in the 1960-61 series, has died in Kingston at the age of 82. "He was one of the finest wicketkeeper-batsmen I have ever seen,'' recalled former Aussie captain Richie Benaud, now a well-respected TV commentator. "He had another great attribute in that he was 'a good bloke,' liked around the cricket world for his skills but just as much for his communication and camaraderie."