By Nita Balani
TORONTO: Canada and the US, whose rivalry in cricket goes back to 1844 when even Test cricket between England and Australia was not yet born (in 1877), once again face each other this week at Maple Leaf Cricket Club in King City on the outskirts of Toronto.
The Auty Cup competition this year comprises a two-day fixture, a one-dayer and two T20s between the oldest rival in cricket who played their first match (of three days) on Sept 25-27 in 1844 at St George’s Club in New York which Canada won by 23 runs.
The world’s longest -running Auty Cup competition between the two countries was suspended in 1995 due to financial difficulties faced by the two sides. It was revived in 2011.
Canada are the current holder of the Auty Cup.
As the current champions prepare to take on the US, Canadian coach Gus Logie, a former West Indian batsman, says, “Having the squad play together over the next few weeks will give us the bonding and playing time necessary to try different combinations and approaches that will give us the best chance of success during these games and beyond. I want to challenge all players to take the next few weeks very seriously, focus on the job at hand, and keep your eyes on the prize of representing Canada with pride and consistent high performances.’’
On the other hand, US coach Robin Singh, a fellow West Indian who later moved to India, expects his team to do well.
“I expect the USA team to be very competitive and give a really good account of ourselves during the Auty Cup. I am hopeful of some great performances from our captain Timil Patel and our vice-captain Karan Ganesh, as well as Daniel Ahmed, Tim Surajbally and all the team,’’ says Robin Singh, who played for India and currently coaches the IPL champion Mumbai India.
“Canada is playing in their home conditions and in the recent past they have played more competitive cricket with international teams. They aren’t going to be easy to beat in Toronto. We are going in as the ‘underdog’, but if we can implement the game plan and stick to it when the pressure is on, I am confident that we can win,’’ adds Robin Singh.
The competition is a precursor to the upcoming ICC World T20 qualifiers in Dubai.
Interestingly, cricket was the national sport of Canada till National Hockey League replaced it in 1917.
But the arrival of immigrants from cricket-playing nations such as India, Pakistan, the West Indies and Sri Lanka in large numbers in recent years has impart an impetus to the game in Canada. As a result, the standard of cricket in Canada is improving even though the country is still an associate member of the the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The Canada-US matches at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club at King City this weekend are part of the build-up of Canadian cricket.
For more info check out the website: http://gocricketgocanada.com/2013-teachers-auty-cup