| Brian Lara polishes his fielding skills at the SuperSport Park in Centurion Saturday. (Reuters)
Centurion: Canada will be looking to recover their self-respect when they take on the West Indies in their World Cup Group B match here on Sunday.
Bowled out for a world record one-day International low of 36 by Sri Lanka on Wednesday, the progress made in a dramatic opening win against Bangladesh and competitive defeat against Kenya, is threatening to be undone against the group giants.
Canada, coached by former West Indies batsman Gus Logie, are desperate to bounce back against opponents they know better than most even though they have never before played a one-day International against them.
“Six of our squad have Caribbean connections,” Canada manager Karam Gopaulsingh said. “And we know some of their players because we’ve been participating in the Busta Cup as recently as last August.
“We always knew it would be tough when we played the major sides but we are determined to compete.”
The match promises to be an emotional occasion in particular for Canada captain Joseph Harris. He played six first-class matches for Barbados in the 1988-89 season, primarily as an off-spinner, but made little impact and subsequently moved to Canada.
But Harris was doing his best to keep himself and the team on an even keel. “We have to be realistic. We’re not professional cricketers and we’re coming in from five months of winter.”
For Carl Hooper’s side the match has its own importance. A washout against Bangladesh cost them an all but guaranteed victory and threw the group wide open. They are now fourth in the table on six points with Sri Lanka, Kenya and New Zealand all ahead of them.
As only three teams from the group go through to the Super Six, the West Indies need a winning run from here on in and with run-rate possibly a deciding factor, a crushing victory would be the perfect result.
While star batsman Brian Lara helped get the West Indies off to a superb start with a majestic century in their opening victory against South Africa, the form of the openers has been poor.
West Indies (from): Carl Hooper (capt.), Ridley Jacobs, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Pedro Collins, Corey Collymore, Mervyn Dillon, Vasbert Drakes, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Wavell Hinds, Brian Lara, Jermaine Lawson, Nixon MclLean, Ricardo Powell, Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Canada: Joseph Harris (Captain), Ashish Bagai, Ian Billcliff, Desmond Chumney, Austin Codrington, John Davison, Nicholas De Groot, Nicholas Ifil, Davis Joseph, Ishwar Maraj, Ashish Patel, Abdool Samad, Fazil Sattaur, Barry Seebaran, Sanjayan Thuraisingam.
Umpires: Asoka De Silva (SL) and Darrell Hair (Aus)
Third umpire: Nadeem Ghauri (Pak)
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SL).