Canadian captain says more international cricket exposure is key

Kumar points to young players such as Hamza Tariq as an example of what can be achieved

Canada Cricket captain Nitish Kumar hopes his team mates and other emerging nations players can get more exposure against the top players and elite competitions in the international game.

The 23 year old Kumar was named national team captain last October for matches against the United States after being a squad regular since age 14.

He reflected last week on his teammate Hamza Tariq getting a unique experience of recently being part of the winning Trinbago Knight Riders club, in world renowned Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

“It was great for seeing Hamza getting opportunity to play in CPL,” said Kumar. “I also was lucky enough to play out there for the St. Lucia Stars CPL team last year and it’s a great experience for Canada and players from emerging cricket nation’s to be a part of.

“For Canada specifically, I know how valuable it is to play overseas at that high competitive level, having been lucky enough to experience first-class in England for the last six years at the Loughborough University team.”

For the Pakistan born Tariq, who resides in Calgary, he was on the bench for a majority of CPL competition as the Trinbago Knight Riders dominated through the group stage.

But after his teammate and former New Zealand cricket team captain Brendon McCullum was ruled out of the tournament with a hand injury, he was thrown into the cauldron of the semifinal and final.

“It was amazing, to be honest, I wasn’t really expecting to play in semi-finals and finals after not getting a game in group stage,” said Tariq.

“But I was always ready for it, so I just wanted to get out there, get a feel of it and show what I can do. Hopefully I’ve given people a glimpse of what I can do and hopefully for my next opportunity, I can have a bigger impact.”

Earlier this month, Canada lost to the United States in the “Auty Cup” three-match cricket series 2-1 at the Maple Leaf Cricket Ground in King City, for the first time in 26 years.

Kumar led the team in all three matches while Tariq was absent.

“Preparation was our biggest issue leading up to competition and the usual issue of us not getting enough practice on actual cricket turf and guys getting time of from work,” said Kumar.

Due to those problems both Kumar and Tariq are glad the International Cricket Council (ICC) has given them a chance to prepare for and play more cricket in coming months, via the great chance to qualify for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.

Although some clarity of the event is vague currently, what is basically known is that next year March-April, a 10-team qualifying tournament will be played in Zimbabwe. West Indies, Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe are already in.