The Honourable Helena Guergis, Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) confirmed Cricket Canada's continued eligibility 'to receive Government of Canada Funding. We are proud of the association's achievements and we look forward to supporting future initiatives.'
The Minister confirmed Cricket Canada had received $77,000 in the previous year. This includes an initial $40,000 in March 2007 around the time of Cricket World Cup 2007.
Cricket Canada is in the process of completing a strategic plan which the Ministry will then review and assess funding for the year. The Minister spoke at a Media Conference at the Sports Alliance Centre, Toronto.
Zubin Surkari was announced as the new Canadian captain. It was good last year to see his return after injury. On the Victoria Day weekend (mid-May), he captained the victorious Ontario B team in the inaugural Scotiabank National T20 Cricket Championship 2008.
The rest of the Canadian squad for the ODI series with Bermuda at Maple Leaf Cricket Club, King City, Ontario, was announced as:
Qaiser Ali (vice-captain), Ashish Bagai (wicketkeeper), Umar Bhatti, Geoff Barnett, Ian Billcliff, Harvir Baidwan, Eion Katchay, Sunil Dhaniram, Henry Osinde, Sammy Afridi, Abdool Samad, Trevin Bastiampillai and Steve Welsh.
The matches are on June 28, June 29 and July 1 (Canada Day) with a scheduled start of 10 a.m.
The Canada Cup Under-19 Championship will be contested later in the year, according to Rania Llewellyn, Vice-President of Multi-Cultural Banking at Scotiabank, Cricket Canada's official Bank. Scotiabank is celebrating 10 years as the Official Bank of West Indies Cricket and was an official sponsor of Cricket World Cup 2007.
Leading Cricket Canada officials seemed delighted with the news, but other observers were left waiting to hear about major financial developments for the sport in this country.
At a St Lucia celebration dinner in the fall of 2006, former Ontario Minister Mike Colle had spoken of the need for the Federal Government to provide '20 times' the $1 million that the Ontario Government had given the Ontario Cricket Association. An amount that became famous as a result of the Ontario Auditor General's Special Review on Year End Funding at the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. An original request from the then Canadian Cricket Association for $150,000 had been upped to $1 million with the OCA as recipient.
The ex-Minister will not have plucked the $1 million and $20 million figures from out of thin air. Someone will have produced some draft or ball-park figures behind the scenes on cricket's infrastructure and support needs across the country.
But for today, it was time for smiles on the faces of Cricket Canada President Ben Sennik and CEO Atul Ahuja. It was not the day for asking about the lack of coverage on the official Cricket Canada website of the first Canadian Women's cricket tour to Trinidad and Tobago in April. Especially not with two distinguished female guests, who needed to be treated well by the Canadian cricket family.