After almost 10 years, the men’s national cricket team has duly restored Canada’s status as an official International Cricket Council (ICC) One Day International playing country.
Head coach Pubudu Dassanayake and team staff held two training sessions Friday (April 28) at Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park, giving local cricketers an opportunity to showcase their abilities as well as a chance to represent Canada on the world stage.
It’s the first time in the country’s history that a national team coach has come to Victoria to recruit.
But the B.C. capital is just the first stop in a much larger coast-to-coast scouting tour for Dassanayake, a Sri Lanka-born Canadian and former international cricketer turned coach who’s now in search of Canada’s top cricket talent.
“We want to show everyone who plays cricket here that our eyes are on them if they do well,” he said in an interview.
“We want to make sure that whoever is playing cricket locally at a high level is training and playing in such a way that will elevate them to the next level.”
With the national team’s international status regained, Dassanayake, who also successfully led Canada to the World Cup in 2011 as a coach, said he wants to contract around 15 players to train full-time throughout the year.
Team manager Alphonso Franco, who owns the Victoria Patriots – the first professional team in 174 years of international cricketing history – also attended the cricket pitch at Beacon Hill Park.
He said the national team’s new status means Canadian cricketers will have the opportunity to play between 80 and 100 more international games over the next four years compared to previous years.
“For us to get that many international games means a lot, and the standard of cricket in Canada is only going to improve,” he said.
Franco said Canada now has a very high likelihood of qualifying for the T20 Word Cup in 2024, which will be held in the West Indies and United States. Canada’s quest to qualify for the T20 World Cup begins Sept. 28 in Bermuda.
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