Ashish Bagai (Photo by Eddie Norfolk)Ashish Bagai has been named to lead Canada against Ireland in the Final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2006 Final in May. Bagai was the vice-captain in CWC (Cricket World Cup) 2007 and did lead the side in a match in Nairobi (Kenya) against Uganda before the World Cricket League (WCL) in January. Bagai had success with the bat in Canada's winter matches in South Africa and Kenya.

Bagai was named Player of the Tournament at the WCL. Bagai scored 137 runs not out against Scotland in the WCL, and a century against Ireland. His best first-class score is 76 runs against Bermuda in an IC 2005 match.

Slow-left arm bowler Kevin Sandher, from British Columbia, has been named vice-captain. Both Bagai and Sandher have progressed through Canadian cricket to the international stage. Their international debuts came as part of a combined Americas Under-19 team in the 2000 World Under-19 Championships. Sandher took 6 wickets for 68 runs in the IC 2004 match with Bermuda at Toronto's Sunnybrook Park.

Thirteen players have been named in the squad which will fly to England on May 15. Warm-up matches against the England Under-19 team preceed the 4-day match with Ireland. Grace Road, Leicester is the venue for this Final starting on May 22nd.

Ten of the thirteen, including Bagai and Sandher, were at the recent Cricket World Cup in St Lucia. Five of these players - Qaiser Ali, John Davison, Geoff Barnett, Ian Billcliff and Abdool Samad - each scored a century in IC 2006 Group matches.

Davison set a Canadian record of 165 runs against Bermuda that Ali eclipsed with 174 runs in the second innings against the Netherlands at Sinnoville in December 2006. Billcliff made 126 runs and Samad 119 runs against Bermuda, as Canada reached 588 runs all out. Barnett scored 136 runs in the second innings against Kenya. Ali had lead a first-innings recovery against Kenya ending on 91 runs not out.

Of the bowlers, Umar Bhatti took ten wickets in a match in each of the two IC 2006 home games, against Kenya and Bermuda. He took 8 wickets for 40 runs against Bermuda on his IC debut in 2005. Bhatti showed all-rounder potential with an innings of 83 not out against the Netherlands in South Africa. He has captained Canada at Under-19 level.

Ashif Mulla and Austin Codrington are the other World Cup 2007 squad players heading to England. Mulla transformed into a useful batsman for Canada during the winter, highlighted by his 58 runs against England. He, like Bagai and Sandher, was also part of the Americas Under-19 squad in 2000.

Trevin Bastiampillai, a 21-year old batsman, comes back to the side. He has played for Canada at Under-19 level and in two senior team international .These were in the World Cricket League Americas Regional championships at Maple Leaf CC in August 2006. He took a catch but did not have to bat in a 9-wicket win over Argentina or a 10 wicket win over the USA.

Ashish Patel, a pace bowler from Quebec, is set to return after a couple of years with injury problems. He did travel to a senior team net practice in January, in an attempt to prove his fitness, but the session was not attended by any of the National Selectors. Patel played two matches in the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa. He took 3 wickets for 41 runs against the host nation, including the early dismissal of star players Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis. He scored 25 runs against New Zealand.

Ashish Patel made three appearances in the 2004 Intercontinental Cup. His best first-class bowling is 3 wickets for 13 runs in Bermuda's first innings at Toronto's Sunnybrook Park in 2005. He took 1 wicket on his debut against the USA, a match where Davison took 17 wickets for Canada, and scored 25 runs not out in the loss to Scotland in the 2004 IC Final.

Also in the squad is Naresh Patel, a Gujarati-born slow-left arm bowler, was in the squads for the home Intercontinental Cup matches in 2006 but did not play. He plays his cricket in Quebec.

Ireland has just completed their CWC 2007 campaign in Grenada with a loss to Sri Lanka. But incoming coach Phil Simmons is trying to arrange for as many of his players with English county affiliations to be released to play at Leicester.

Canada lost to Scotland in the inaugural 2004 IC 2004 Final. Ireland kept the title in the British Isles with a win in the 2005 Final.

Ashish Bagai (Captain), Kevin Sandher (vice-captain), Qaiser Ali, Geoff Barnett, Trevin Bastiampillai, Umar Bhatti, Ian Billcliff, Austin Codrington, John Davison, Ashif Mulla, Ashish Patel, Naresh Patel, Abdool Samad.