By Tony McWatt
From July 27 through to August 6, 2022, Canada will be hosting the re-scheduled
second round matches for the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League A involving
rival teams from Denmark, Malaysia, Singapore, Vanuatu and Qatar. All matches in
the 10-day tournament will be played at King City’s Maple Leaf Cricket Club.
Canada currently leading the League’s points table by a superior run rate over equal-points
second-placed Singapore, will be seeking to emerge as tournament champions as means of
advancing its chances of progressing to the next phase of the ICC 2023 India-hosted
World Cup. Only the top team from each of the respective Challenge Leagues A and B,
will advance to the World Cup Qualifier which will be held in Zimbabwe next year. The
third and final round of Challenge League A matches will be played in Malaysia this coming
The Canadians have named a very strong 14-member squad for the tournament under
the captaincy of Navneet Dhaliwal. Along with Dhaliwal as the expected opener, Canada’s
batting will be centred around the likes of Rayyan Pathan, the country’s latest hard-hitting
sensation, Matthew Spoors, Ravinderpaul Singh, Nicholas Kirton, wicket-keeper batsman
Shreyas Movva and the exciting young all-rounder Harsh Thaker.
Canada’s bowling attack will be spearheaded by the ultra-quick pacers Dilon
Heyliger and Jeremy Gordon. The Caribbean-born pace duo will be well
supported by the spinning guiles of veteran leg-spinner Saad Bin Zafar as
well as Harsh Thaker’s more-than-useful off-spin. Skipper Dhaliwal will also
have at his disposal the emerging talents of Rommel Shahzad who was one
of the outstanding bowlers in the recently concluded Ontario King City
Maple Leaf Cricket Club-hosted Canadian National T20 Championships,
which featured participating teams from all ten of Cricket Canada’s Member
Back-up wicket-keeper Armaan Kapoor, all-rounder Ammnar Khalid
and seamer Salman Nazar are the remaining members of the Canadian
fourteen-member squad. The squad will initially be under the coaching
management of former interim Head Coach South African-born Amarinder
Bhinder at least for its first two matches. The July 27 tournament opener
against Denmark, followed by the all-important July 30 encounter against
key rivals Singapore.
Canada’s recently appointed Head Coach Pubudu Dassanayake is scheduled
to officially assume his duties as of August 1, 2022. He, therefore, is
expected to be in charge of the Canadian team for its remaining matches
against Malaysia, Qatar and Vanuatu on July 31, August 3 and 5 respectively.
The announcement of Dassanayake’s appointment for what will now be
his second stint as the Canadian National Men’s team’s Head Coach has
proven to be immensely popular. Receiving as it did in excess of 175,000
views on Cricket Canada’s Facebook page as well as hundreds of largely
As an immigrant, the Kandy, Sri Lanka-born Dassanayake
made his Canadian International debut at the 2005 ICC
World Cup. He also represented Canada at the 2005
and 2006 ICC InterContinental tournaments.
Following his retirement as an active player
Dassanayake served as the Canadian Men’s team’s
Interim Head Coach for several months before he
was officially appointed to the role in August 2007.
Dassanayake was at the helm of the Canadian team
for its ICC 2011 World Cup participation but resigned
from the position soon after to take up an appointment
as Nepal’s National Head Coach.
Under Dassanayake’s guidance, Nepal also qualified
for the ICC’s 2014 T20 World Cup. He, therefore, has
a demonstrated knack for guiding National teams that
have been placed under his charge to ICC World Cups.
The Canadian team as well as its supporters will be
hoping that such tendencies can be repeated during
his second stint as Canada’s Head Coach.
How the team performs during the forthcoming ICC League
A Challenge Cup and even more importantly at the
tournament’s decisive third and final round in Malaysia
this coming December should provide early indications
of his abilities to do so.