The inaugural overseas tour by the Canadian women's team will feature five matches in Trinidad and Tobago. The team leaves on April 10th and is due to return on April 21st. There are two matches against the Trinidad & Tobago Under-21 team, two against a Development XI and one against Tobago. The National Cricket Centre in Couva, Trinidad, will be the main base for this tour.
Mona Persaud is to captain Canada for the first time on this trip. Speaking after a practice session at Etobicoke's Qasra Sports, she said 'It is a very young team. Not all the girls have got much experience but we are looking forward to this first Canadian team tour. It is going to be tough but we have been working hard, as you can see.' The players had been through fitness exercises and fielding drills in addition to batting and bowling in the nets.
'Hopefully we will get more exposure so we can attract people to the game.'
Sheryl Tittlemier had been working in the Greater Toronto Area for a few days and attended practices on March 29 and 30. She is based in Ottawa but was born in Selkirk, Manitoba. 'I am absolutely looking forward to the trip' but was 'not looking forward to the weather.' It has been a snowy winter in the GTA and Ottawa but the trip will bring a major contrast in temperature.
'This will be my third full season, after attending practices about four years ago.' Her family has about 25 years involvement in baseball. 'A good friend of mine, who comes from Trinidad, Greg Tony, was responsible for me getting into cricket.' (He was named after Greg Chappell.) Sheryl plays with the men's club New Edinburgh in the Ottawa Valley Cricket Council as a right-handed batter. 'I can't say enough good things about the guys at the club that I play with.'
This trip comes before the season has begun in Canada, so the heat is unlikely to be the only challenge, although the schedule was adjusted to ensure the players have a day or so to practice before the first match, which, in reality is not a lot of time. Canada beat Bermuda and Argentina to win the first ICC Americas Regional Womens' Championship in August 2007, but lost to the Trinidad & Tobago Under-17's. But it was useful experience, but experience gained 8-9 months ago by those involved in that event.
Success will need to be judged by what the players gain from this experience. Sticking to the basics with bat and ball. Playing down the line of the ball and using up all available overs, when batting, and keeping to a reasonable line and length in bowling - possibly even something as simple as aiming at the off stump. And then there are the basics of fielding and fitness in addition to overall acclimatization.
Best wishes to the Canadian players in this safari into international cricket development.