Canada women have their eyes on gaining a place in the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup global qualifying event when they take on USA in the ICC Americas Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier (CWCQ) in King City.
A three-match series gets underway on Tuesday (July 13) with the victors earning the right to compete in the Global Women's World Cup Qualifiers in Bangladesh next year.
Canada skipper Mona Persaud is keen to put one over on the local rivals but is well aware of their main aim for the week. She said: "The biggest prize would definitely be gaining a spot in the ICC Women's World Cup Global Qualifier. We have been waiting a really long time for this opportunity and will not give it away for anything."
Victory over the USA would be the first step on what Canada hope will be the road to India for the ICC Women's World Cup in 2012. Although she is not thinking too far ahead right now, Persaud is well aware of what success could do for the game in her country.
The Guyana-born batsman said: "Women's cricket in Canada has come a long way and making it to this level of the game will boost women's cricket as a whole in the country. One of our goals for this tournament is to capture the public's attention and give them a good show with our performances. Overall, winning this tournament will take cricket in Canada to a whole different level. It will give those younger players something to aspire towards."
Home advantage should make Canada favourites but Persaud is also of the belief that her side have the edge in other areas.
"Preparation," she asserted. "Both physically and mentally our ability to play as a team will give us an edge against the US. We are a young and agile group with quite a few experienced players. Last year when we played against them, we were the physically stronger and more prepared team. We played with heart and that's what made the difference. We've had a week's training camp with excellent coaching and physical training from our coach George Codrington and Andy Pick, who coached the Canadian men, England's U19s and the England Women's team. Our trainer for the tournament, Allison Dawson, helped to prepare us physically to excel. As well, Pubudu Dassanayake, the current Canadian men's national coach helped us during the winter."
Canada may have a few absentees – including regular captain Joanne While – but Persaud is confident the squad have sufficient strength-in-depth to cope.
"Everyone on this team contributes in one way or another," explained the 29-year-old. "It will be difficult to point out just a few individuals. I'd say look out for the entire Canadian Women's team. We're all contributing 110% at all times and we play as a team. We have some new players who have played international cricket before [with other nations] so their addition to the team is a big bonus for us. Former Sri Lankan captain, Suthershini Sivanatham and Mahwish Khan, a former Pakistani player, will help us to secure victory against the US and succeed in the event."
Tuesday's opener is followed by match two on the following day with a potential decider planned for Friday.
For more information including full scorecards from all matches in this tournament please go to: www.iccamericas.com