The end of the Cricket World Cup for Canada is not the end of the senior international program for 2007 - even though various players have already given up much of January, February and March to represent the Maple Leaf.
The team is set to travel to England in May to play Ireland in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup Final for 2006. The final is currently set for Grace Road, the home of Leicestershire County Cricket Club, from May 22 to 25. Some one-day warm-up matches are expected against the England Under-19 team and another side as yet unknown.
Negotiations to play the match at Chelmsford, Essex, by the ICC fell through. Over the winter there had been some hopes the match might be played at Lords. A Canadian side lost to the Pakistanis at Lord's in a 1954 first-class match. The Canadians had drawn with Essex at Clacton in one of their other three first-class matches on that tour. They came close to Leicester with a visit to Oakham for a non-first class match against a combined Rutland and Leicester side.
The home international program sees visits from the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Dutch are due to play an Intercontinental Cup match from June 28 to July 1, followed by One-Day international matches on July 3 and 4. The UAE are due to play an Intercontinental Cup match from July 7 to 10. The UAE do not have official One-day international status, so two one-day games with them on July 13 and 14 are not official ODIs but 'other' matches.
The Intercontinental Cup competition now runs over two years with each of the eight sides playing each other once. Canada is due to travel to Kenya and then Namibia for IC matches in October. Three ODIs with Kenya and two one-day games with Namibia, who do not have official ODI status, are expected to form part of this tour.
A West Indies spokesman has publicly discussed a 20/20 tournament that may take place in Toronto over the Labour Day weekend (end of August) but this event has not been finalized. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are linked to this event as well as the West Indies and Canada. The West Indies are expected to make a tour to Canada in 2008.
It should not be forgotten that Canada must play in a qualifying tournament in 2009 in order to gain a place in the 2011 Cricket World Cup. This would also retain their place in the ICC's High Performance Program and the related ICC funding.
There is also a chance that Guernsey may visit Canada in August. Possible matches on such a tour might involve matches with Canada Under-19 and Canada A teams. If Canadian cricket is to move forward, there is a need for more developmental matches involving national junior and A teams. I also believe the Canadian senior side could do with matches against A teams from leading countries as part of a progressive developmental infrastructure.
At CWC 2007 Canada managed to score runs with not just one or two people making a contribution. This moves overall confidence and expectations forward.
Ashish Bagai, Ashif Mulla, Umar Bhatti and Kevin Sandher are players who progressed through the Under 19's to the senior national team. Bagai, Mulla and Sandher played in a combined Americas U19 World Cup side that pre-dated a current Canadian U19 team. The likes of Trevin and Gavin Bastiampillai and Durand Soraine are in the next group of players who came through the junior ranks who might begin to feature regularly in the senior national side.
But we shall have to wait and see. There are several elements needing enhancement, not just on the field, if Canadian cricket is to continue to move forward.