Canada confident home advantage will help at U19 qualifier

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 9:33 AM

Canada confident home advantage will help at U19 qualifier
Canada skipper Rustum Bhatti believes that his side's knowledge of the local conditions will help the side in its efforts to qualify for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.

He hopes that his side can reproduce the form it showed to win the ICC Americas U19 Qualifier and progress to New Zealand in 2010.

How has the team prepared for the event?

The preparations since the Americas U19 Regional Qualifiers have been a bit slow, with some players busy with senior team matches. However, after the conclusion of the Kenya series, we have made all possible efforts to prepare well for the tournament with practice games, net sessions and strategic team meetings.

What have been your best games so far?

I think in general the Americas U19 Regional Qualifier 2009 was by far the best tournament for every player in this squad. To point out a particular game, I would say it should be the game against USA, which ultimately was the decider of the tournament.

How popular is cricket with youth in your country?

Over the past decade, cricket in Canada has grown immensely and it still continues to grow. Hosting major events such as this, right after the Americas U19 Regional Qualifier tournament and the Kenya series, will continue to raise the game's profile in this country.

Do you dream of playing in the U/19 World Cup?

It is every cricketer's dream to play in a Cricket World Cup and for us at the U19 level, we cannot wait to play with the best teams in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.

Will home ground prove to be an advantage in the tournament?

Playing on home ground will certainly be an advantage since most of us play domestic cricket on these very grounds and know its conditions inside out. A brand new turf at Malton Cricket Ground may present some challenges but that will be the case for every team in the tournament. It will also be a big boost to have our supporters at the grounds cheering us on.

Do you see yours and batsman Ruvindu Gunasekara's experience with the Canada's senior men's team working in your favour?

Knowing that cricket is a mind game more than anything else, I would say our experience with the senior squad definitely matters. Both of us have already reached past the point where we were nervous about playing at a big stage and now it is just a matter of putting our skills to test out there.

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