By Ravendra Madholall in Toronto
Axed Canadian coach Gus Logie was classified great, according to an individual who worked with him during his stint, which abruptly ended on Monday, by Canada Cricket.
The former West Indies and Trinidad and Tobago player was at the helm when the side was eliminated in the just concluded International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Dubai.
The person, who preferred to be anonymous during an exclusive interview with this writer, also felt that they have given up too early on him in spite of the poor performances at the tournament.
Canada only won two of their stipulated seven matches having sought their third World Cup T20 participation.
“He was a great coach and I think they have done with him too early; he was willing to share his skills and I think he worked hard on his players but he was not the one to be blamed if that the case by the cricket authorities in Canada,” he declared.
Canada began their trip to Dubai with four warm-up matches in Sri Lanka where they won three games while they beat one of the best associates teams Afghanistan in Dubai just before they commenced their quest for qualification.
The side was led by the experienced Ashish Bagai and they were beaten immediately by their rival USA in the opening encounter while they only beat Uganda and Italy and surprisingly lost to other mediocre teams like Hong Kong.
“The tournament was always going to be tough given the fact the ICC introduced more teams and everybody will go out with the intention of qualifying; look at USA, they started off good too and still can’t qualify and that showed the competitiveness of the tournament; he should be given a longer chance since T20 cricket is very difficult to predict and I think politics just came in here,” he further related.
Canada was placed in Group ‘A’ alongside Ireland, Namibia, Uganda, Italy, Hong Kong, UAE and the USA. When the qualifying stage began, 16 sides will split into two groups of eight, 72 matches were played over 15 days.
Ireland was the eventual champion while UAE also progressed having featured in the final while Afghanistan and Hong Kong are the third and fourth place teams respectively.
Canada who played in the 11th placed playoff was beaten by Kenya and that apparently irritated the executives to make the decision on Logie, who coached Canada before at the 50-over ICC tournament in South Africa 2003.
“He [is] a very experienced coach and what he has done for Canada’s cricket over the years was wonderful but as I said he could have contributed more to Canada with his wealth of experience and cricketing techniques; we have problems with the pitches and that may have contributed to the side’s downfall in Dubai because we are accustomed to play on artificial turf as part of the country’s preparations for big tournament like these,” He stated.
Meanwhile, just before the departure of the team, Logie also spoke to this writer expressing deep confidence of qualifying. The quotes are as follows:
“Well, we can only control what we have at the moment; because of the winter season we have been forced to use the indoor facility and I think the guys have responded well; we went through lots of physical and mental fitness sessions and it shows that we are equipped and ready to go at the ICC world cup tournament,” the 53-year-old Logie mentioned.
“The challenge [is] out there now with the among of matches you have got to play and that is why I believe in fitness both mentally and physically; the team has come together very well in recent months and we also believe that we have assembled a strong group of Canadian cricketers that will be very competitive in the World Cup T20 qualifiers,” Logie, who featured in 52 test matches for the Caribbean side spanning from 1979-1990, said.
During the interview just prior to their departure, he also took the opportunity to stay that with the 50-over Qualifier tournament is also looming and slated to be held in New Zealand early next year, they want to maximize on the occasion in Dubai to prepare for that important assignment as well.
“Obviously it is a different format but I just want the guys to focus on this T20 tournament first; of course that will be another big tournament in New Zealand but in Dubai at least the selectors will have a look at the players so we can have them prepared for the 50-over version as well,” Logie reckoned.
Meanwhile, Andy Pick is likely to replace Logie for their next international engagement on an interim basis. Pick coached the national team during 2006-2007 while he has been a High Performance Manager for ICC in this part of the world.
The team will begin preparations shortly at the Scarborough Indoor Cricket Centre before leaving to New Zealand later this month.
Efforts to contact Logie on a word of his sudden termination proved futile.