Team Canada Prepare for ICC U-19 World Cup

U-19 Captain Rustum Bhatti drives during the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifier (c) ICC

The Ontario representatives had a good practice with some of the Senior Canadian Men’s team players.  It was my first chance to see the young guys in person and I was really impressed.

One thing about this bunch is that they are not lacking in confidence.  Even if they don’t win, there is enough talent in the group to put up a good fight.

The fitness level was good and there is some variety in the bowling with a few left arm spin bowling options.  They leave on New Years Day and play their first warm up game on the 12th.

The full squad:

Rustam Bhatti (captain), Manny Aulakh, Parth Desai, Darius D’Souza, Ruvindu Gunasekara, Hardik Kotak, Nitish Kumar, Usman Limbada, Zain Mahmood, Asif Manjra, Hiral Patel, Riyazkhan Pathan, Arsalan Qadir, Harpreet Singh, Hamza Tariq.

You can support the squad by visiting the Cricket Canada online shop.   Check out the new toques.

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U-19 Player Profile: Manny Aulakh

Full Name: Maninderjit Singh Aulakh
DOB: 17/11/91
Birthplace: Bathinda, Punjab, India
Batting Style: RHB (Middle/Lower Order Bat)
Bowling Style: Right-Arm Fast-Medium
Favourite Shot: Cover Drive
Domestic Club: Richmond Cricket Club (BC)

Manny has just returned from a 7 week training program in Sri Lanka.  He is expected to be an important part of the Canadian U-19 team next month in New Zealand during the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup.

When did you start playing Cricket?

I started playing when I was about 10 or 11 in India.  Nothing organized, just playing with a tennis ball in the street with my brother.

How did you start playing Cricket in Canada?

I came to Richmond, BC with my family in 2004.  My brother joined the Richmond Cricket Club soon after.  One day, I went to a game with him and one of the players didn’t show up, so I took his place.  I only faced 2 balls and didn’t get to bowl, but I really enjoyed the game.  That was the first time I played hard ball cricket.

After that I decided I wanted to play.  I went to all the club practices and started out playing in the lowest division (5th Division) in May 2006.

When did you start playing with the U-19 squad?

My first game was this past summer in King City vs Bahamas.  We won quite easily and I got my first wicket!  It was great.

You were recently in Sri Lanka.  Tell me about that experience.

Before I left for Sri Lanka, I met with Coach Pubudu Dassanayake, he told me what to focus on when I got there.  I was in Sri Lanka for 7 weeks.  I started with Pacific club but then I moved to Tamil Union.  Basically, I worked really hard on my fitness during net sessions, running, gym sessions, pool sessions and we even had a bowling session with Chaminda Vaas.

What did you learn while you were there?

Sri Lanka was an awesome experience for me.  I found out how hard it is to become a professional cricketer. I also learned that Cricket is more than just physical talent.  You need to develop the mental part.  You need to have a good cricket brain.

What is next for you?

Right now, I’m fully concentrating on the tour to West Indies next week.  After that we are going to New Zealand for the Under 19 World Cup.

In the ICC qualifiers during the summer, I was mainly played in the team as a bowler but recently I’ve been working on my batting as well.  I’m looking forward to it.

What do you think of your chances in the World Cup?

We have to take one game at a time. We have a very good team and I’m confident that we’ll give a tough time to team’s like Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

Bloggers Note: You’ve got to love the confidence.  What do you think?  Can Canada pull off an upset next month in New Zealand?

Let us know in the comments section below or hit us up on twitter.