News

2020-03-24

Ron Oumadat Dipchand’s journey to his present position as Cricket Canada’s National Chairman of Selections is as impressive as it is lengthy! The former Executive Director and Head Coach of the Manitoba Cricket Association first came to cricket prominence during his teenaged days as a student at the Cornelia Ida School, West Coast Demerara, Guyana.

As a fifteen year old Dipchand was appointed as captain of the West Demerara U16 team for the National School Cricket Championship Semi Finals versus East Bank Demerara at Lenora Cricket Park. He scored 66 runs.

Dipchand’s cricket career ultimately took flight when in 1974 he started attending Georgetown’s Central High School. Playing for Central High School in the Senior National 2nd Division Northcote Competition, he scored 715 runs, including 3 centuries and 4 fifties, enroute to winning the Competition’s batting trophy.

Dipchand’s outstanding achievements deservedly captured the attention of Guyana’s national Youth Selectors, resulting in his inclusion to the Squad for the home-hosted 1974 West Indies Benson & Hedges Under 19 Championship in Guyana. He had scores of 18 against the Combined Islands, as well as 29 and 19 against Trinidad.

Dipchand subsequently went on to play Guyana First Division Cricket for the Gandhi Youth Organization, scoring 3 centuries and 8 fifties in a career that lasted approximately three years. During that period he also represented Demerara in the National 60 over Inter county Championships against Berbice and in 1977 was also called to Trials for selection to the Guyana National Shell Shield Team.

Having immigrated to Manitoba where he obtained a certificate in Sports Management Skills from the Provincial Institute, Dipchand also very quickly became involved in Manitoba Cricket. As a Player and Captain he led his teams to numerous Provincial Championships and himself captured several awards for outstanding performances. He was a 9 Time winner of the League’s batting Trophy. He also won the Bowling Trophy three times and was thrice awarded as the Provincial League’s Most Valuable Player.

Not surprisingly Dipchand was also eventually selected to the Canadian National Senior Team. During an eleven year (1980-1990) career as a Canadian National Player, Ron Dipchand scored two centuries and eleven fifties.

In 1986 midway during his career as a Canadian National Senior team player, Ron Dipchand started taking Coach Courses. That year he completed a 6 week apprentice coach training under Khan Mohammed, Pakistan National Coach that was conducted in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Over the next eight years, from 1986 – 2014, Dipchand enrolled in a variety of Coaching Courses which eventually led to his certification as an ICC Level I Conductor.

Upon the completion of his playing days, Ron Dipchand fulfilled countless coaching duties, at the Provincial, National and International levels. He repeatedly served as the Canadian National U19 Head Coach for Team Canada’s participation at various international Tournaments and ICC World Cups.

Ron Dipchand’s first appointment as a Canadian national Selector was in 1991 when he was appointed to the Cricket Canada’s Junior Selection Panel. Having served on the Panel in the three subsequent years, he was appointed as its Chairman in 2004. He held that position until 2013 at which time he was invited to become a member of the National Senior Team Selection Panel, the Chairmanship of which he now holds.

In addition to his lengthy list of academic and coaching certificates Ron Dipchand is also the holder of three prestigious Awards. In 1984 he was named as a Recipient of the Manitoba Cricket Association “Contribution to Cricket Award”; In the following year, 1985, he became a Recipient of CKY Sports Star Award and in 1994 he was honoured to receive the “Jack Kyle Cricket Canada Development Award”.

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2020-03-24

In Canada’s January 15 first Official Warm-Up Match, prior to its participation in the International Cricket Conference’s (ICC) South Africa hosted 2020 U19 World Cup, which was against the West Indies U19s, Rishiv Joshi captured four wickets for just 23 runs from 8 overs! Those returns seemed to confirm the pre-Tournament hopes and expectations, held by many within Canadian cricket circles, that Joshi would be one of the emerging stars of the Tournament.

Regrettably, Joshi’s subsequent actual returns at the World Cup Tournament were wholly disappointing and unfulfilling of the lofty expectations that had been held of him. Joshi captured just 3 wickets for 210 runs during the 5 2020 U19 World Cup matches that he played for Canada.

As disappointing as they obviously were, Rishiv Joshi’s 2020 U19 World Cup performances should however now only be viewed as a required international standards barometer reality check, on a cricket career that has otherwise always been deemed to be evolving towards becoming something rather special. With a sense of maturity that’s well beyond his very young age, Joshi has since come to regard his 2020 U19 World Cup experience not as a disappointment, but rather as a necessary learning curve!

“I have gained a lot of experience from it and I’m going to take this experience into what I do now in my cricket career!”

Born in Toronto on November 4, 2000, the now 19-year old Joshi has been actively following his evolving cricket passion since the tender age of 10. Joshi credits former Canadian national player Wilbert Plummer, as having been the biggest influence on his early development as a cricketer.

Now playing his regular Club Cricket with the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club, Joshi has tried to pattern his developing career by seeking to emulate the exploits of the likes of India’s Virat Kohli as a batsman and Australia’s Mitchell Starc as a bowler. Such lofty ambitions speak to Joshi’s mindset of being fully committed to adhering to the fundamental requirements of the highest standards of performance.

In pursuit of his cricket related goals, Joshi has already recorded many outstanding achievements of which he can be justifiably proud. He represented Canada at two U19 World Cups and once captured 8 wickets in an U23 Noida Tournament.

As chastening as it may have been, Joshi has nevertheless described his 2020 U19 World Cup participation as having been a good experience! “ There was a lot to learn from what we did and what didn’t do. This experience has made me grow as a cricketer!”

Joshi’s expressed hope is that he will now be able to take what he has learned from the 2020 U19 World Cup with him and that it will serve to positively guide the further development of his cricket career. His most important 2020 U19 Word Cup takeaways were a) The realization that whether you are batting or bowling you have to be disciplined and patient and b) the appreciation that fitness is what it all comes down to as an athlete, which means that if you are not fit you can’t play!

Rishiv Joshi’s immediate goal, as a still very young and aspiring Canadian cricketer, is to keep improving day by day. Towards that end, his intention is to become and remain as fit as possible while practicing his craft and trying to further improve his obviously already, relatively, immense skills every day. As he goes about doing so his progress will definitely be “One To Watch!

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2020-03-24

At last year’s Cricket West Indies 2019 Regional Super50 Championships, the Zone A Canada inclusive matches of which were played in St Kitts, Shahid Ahmadzai captured 10 wickets in the seven matches he played. It was a highly commendable performance by the now 31-year-old Ahmadzai (born 15 November 1988), who was finally making his international debut in List A matches for Canada.

During the 2019 Regional Super50 Tournament, Ahmadzai also scored 190 runs from 8 innings to end the Tournament with a commendable 27.14 average. He shared a significant stand of 103 for the third wicket with Nitish Kumar during Canada’s match- winning first-round encounter against the defending Champions the Combined Colleges & Campuses. Ahmadzai’s contribution to the Canadian innings was a career-high 73 from 87 balls that included five fours and four fours. 

Just recently announced by the Canadian based premier cricket gear company Arsak Sports as its sponsor player, Shahid Ahmadzai’s journey to the prominence he enjoyed as one of Canada’s outstanding 2019 Super50 performers, has been frustratingly long and arduous. He will readily admit to having been a huge fan of cricket for as long as he can remember. He remembers watching cricket on television as a kid and recalls having had a dream to become a professional cricket player one day. 

In pursuit of that dream, Ahmadzai started playing street cricket with other kids in Peshawar, Pakistan when he was just 12 years old. Two years later at the age of 14, he started to play cricket in Afghanistan. Shahid would come home from school, have lunch then go to cricket practice for 3-4 hours, 6 days a week. 

As a student at Afghanistan’s Sayed Noor Mohammad Shah Mina High School, Shahid’s potential as a very promising, prodigiously talented all-rounder soon attracted the attention of the country’s cricket authorities. He was scouted while playing school’s cricket and subsequently selected to play for Afghanistan at the U15 and U17 levels prior to his eventual inclusion in the Afghanistan U19 and national team. 

Tragedy, however, struck Shahid and his family when his father and older brother were killed in 2002, by relatives associated with the Taliban. He began playing cricket for Afghanistan in 2005 and traveled with the youth squad around the world. In 2009, while playing at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup qualifying rounds in Toronto, he and five of his teammates sought asylum. 

Ahmadzai first sought asylum in Canada in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2013 that his claim was heard — and rejected. In the intervening years, the then 29-year-old Shahid was living in Toronto on an open work permit because Canada has suspended deportations of people to war-torn Afghanistan for safety reasons.

With only a Grade 10 education from Afghanistan, Ahmadzai finished high school in Toronto while working in factories, retail jobs, and plumbing. He subsequently also became a Uber driver. Throughout his personal trials and tribulations, he never forgot about his cricket dreams and didn’t ever give up on one day fulfilling his dreams!

Not long after his September 2009 arrival in Canada, Shahid started playing recreationally. He first started to play cricket with the Ontario Cricket Academy(OCA). He played with OCA for about four to five years before leaving to play with the Canadian Cricket Club (CCC). 

In 2017, Shahid was selected to represent the Canadian national team in its AUTY Cup fixture against the USA. “That was a great opportunity which I feel really catapulted my career.! 

For almost ten years Shahid was engaged in a rigorous routine “I’d get home between 4:30 - 5 a.m. after driving Uber for hours during the night. I’d catch a few hours of sleep, before rushing to my cricket practice at 10:30 in the morning and staying there until 8 p.m. After which I’d get back home to shower and then start taking (Uber) orders to start the cycle all over again,” said Ahmadzai, who has been financially supporting his widowed mother and brother in Kabul.

Shahid subsequently applied twice for permanent residence in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds and was rejected both times. His application was finally accepted in 2019; following his third submission. 

As if in celebration of his Canadian permanent resident status finally being approved Shahid was in June 2019, selected to play for the Edmonton Royals franchise team in the 2019 Global T20 Canada tournament. In September 2019, he was named in Canada’s squad for the 2019 Malaysia Cricket World Cup Challenge League A tournament. The following month, he was named in Canada’s squad for the 2019–20 Regional Super50 tournament in the West Indies. He made his List A debut on 8 November 2019, for Canada in the 2019–20 Regional Super50 tournament.

Now having made his mark by establishing himself as an obviously talented all-rounder, capable of outstanding achievements with both bat and ball, Shahid admits to enjoying both roles equally! His personal objectives as a Canadian cricketer from heron in are simple and straightforward. “I want to do good. I would love the opportunity to get back ODI status for Canada. We have a lot of great talent in Canada, I’m hopeful that it is achievable!” 

With his many all-round talents at this disposal and his recently provided access to Arsak’s Sports outstanding cricket gear, there’s now every reason to believe in Shahid Ahmadzai’s capabilities for achieving not only his own personal objectives but also those of Canada’s national team as well!

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2020-03-17

The impact of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation is continuing to have a resounding effect on sport and life in general. Cricket Canada is therefore closely monitoring information related to the spread of the Coronavirus. The health and safety of our cricketers and their families is of utmost importance to Cricket Canada. 

As such Cricket Canada has suspended all practice and upcoming events until further notice. It is our recommendation that all Provinces, Leagues and Clubs suspend all cricket related activities and social events. 

Earlier this month the ICC cancelled the scheduled March 14th – 28th 2020 ‘ICC CWC Challenge League A’ tournament due to the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide. Canada along with Singapore, Oman, Denmark, Vanuatu and Host Malaysia were scheduled to take part in that tournament.

Cricket Canada will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and its impact and will provide updates accordingly.


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2020-03-16

Extracted from "Wickets" magazine

If ever there was a male version of the Cinderella fairy-tale story, Canada’s Saad Bin Zafar would certainly qualify as a most appropriate subject for such an honour. His rise from the relative obscurity of Canadian cricket to international prominence as Man of the Match for the Vancouver Knights Championship Final victory in the Toronto hosted Inaugural Season of the Mercury Canada Global T20 Championship Final, can only best be described as meteoric!

Saad Bin Zafar (born 10 November 1986) is a Pakistan-born Canadian cricketer who plays for the Canada national cricket team. As a left handed batsman and left-arm orthodox spin bowler, Zafar is sufficiently competent in both as to be regarded as a genuine all rounder.

Zafar's Cinderella story had a very early start. At the tender age of 10 he started playing tape ball on the streets of his hometown. Later at the age of 14 his school's sports teacher spotted Zafar and introduced him to leather ball cricket by selecting him for the school's juniors cricket team.

In 2004, having immigrated from Pakistan to Canada, Saad started playing club cricket for Overseas Cricket Club in the Premier Division of the Toronto & District Cricket League. His consistently outstanding League performances eventually caught the attention of the Canadian national Team Selectors. Zafar made his international debut on 4 July 2008 playing against Bermuda. He looked impressive on his debut as he took 4 wickets, including the wicket of Bermuda's captain Irving Romaine who was close to scoring a century.

Since then Zafar’s Canadian cricketing career has been punctuated by several outstanding international and domestic performances, By far the most impressive of these occurred when he scored 262 not out in a 50 over game in Scarborough Cricket League’s Premier Division in August 2015.

In January 2017, having been selected as one of Canada’s representatives for the ICC Americas in the 2016–17 Caribbean Regional Super50 Championships, Zafar emerged as the team’s leading wicket taker. The following year, in January 2018, he was named in Canada's squad for the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two Qualification Tournament.

On 3 June 2018, Zafar was selected to play for the Vancouver Knights during the Players' Draft for the Inaugural Season of the Global T20 Canada tournament. Zafar was the second Canadian player to be selected in the Draft after Nikhil Dutta in round 9.

Zafar’s performances in his Global T20 Canada outings were highly commendable, In his third outing, in the Vancouver Knights match against the Montreal Tigers his bowling figures were 3/21 off his allocated 4 overs. In his fifth match, played against the Toronto Nationals, he was again impressive with the ball, taking 2/22 in 3.5 overs, He also scored an unbeaten 12 in a 47-run match winning partnership with Chadwick Walton.

In the final match of the 2018 Global T20 Canada Tournament against the West Indies B cricket team he had figures of 2 for 26 runs including a wicket
maiden over. Vancouver Knights didn’t have an ideal start to the chase as Chadwick Walton, Chris Gayle and Ben Dunk fell cheaply to leave them at 22 for 3. But Zafar and Rassie van der Dussen compiled a crucial unbeaten 126-run partnership to get Knights back on track in the chase. Zafar played the role of an aggressor, dealing in regular boundaries to post a 32-ball fifty. He collected eight fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 48- ball innings which yielded 79 runs.

Zafar’s brilliant all round performance, with both ball and bat in the Championship Final was pivotal to the Vancouver Knights eventual emergence
as Title winners. Hoisted on the shoulders of his jubilant more globally prominent international teammates he was adjudged Man Of The Match for his brilliant all-round performance.

A fitting conclusion to the most recent chapter or Saad Bin Zafar’s continuing Cinderella story. With further domestic and international match appearances becoming readily available, opportunities will certainly exist for Saad Bin Zafar’s recently acclaimed stardom to rise even higher!

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