The Canadian national team gathers in a small, dark, windowless warehouse.
Not exactly what you would expect for the country’s best cricket players. Yet this is the winter home for our cricket team. Behind a suburban plaza at the corner of Markham and Ellesmere roads in Scarborough is where they train.
Having received only $78,000 from Sport Canada for the 2011–12 year, Cricket Canada has to run its program with an amount that pales in comparison to other national sports programs.
Rathan Moorthy, Cricket Canada’s brand and marketing manager, is trying to raise awareness and support for the program.
“This sport is tremendously underfunded in this country and we received close to about $78,000, so just under $80,000 of base funding from Sport Canada,” Moorthy said.
In comparison, the Canadian Soccer Association received $3,459,500 from Sport Canada, according to the Department of Canadian Heritage. Only Ski Canada and The Peres Centre for Peace received less.
Canada’s men’s national soccer team is currently ranked 64th in the FIFA world rankings. The International Cricket Council on the other hand has Canada’s men’s national team ranked at 16th in the world rankings, yet the funding doesn’t align to their rankings.
“One of our concerns is that because cricket is a minority sport played by the South Asian population, we are concerned we may be marginalized a little bit in that respect,” Moorthy said. “But if you look at the things that have been happening in the last couple years, cricket is becoming more prominent with Sportsnet.”
The number of people picking up cricket is also on the rise.
“Our participation is through the roof,” Moorthy said. “We say that we have about 60,000 registered participants in our programs on the year and that number is growing annually by about 10,000.”
Despite the roadblocks, the national team stays competitive and trains hard with the resources they have. Head coach Augustine Logie, former West Indies and Trinidad and Tobago cricketer, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team.
“We have two sessions a day, morning and evening,” Logie said. “Most times they attend both sessions, but generally because of school and work commitments, they come to the evening sessions.”
“It’s about being as mentally tough as possible,” Logie said. “Being physically strong and trying to improve your technical and tactical ability, so when we get out there, we can compete even-keel with most of our opposition.”