By Ravendra Madholall in Toronto
It is safe to say that Guyanese cricketers find Canada a perfect destination to play the game on an annual basis. Their dominance again in 2013 has demonstrated their commitment and willingness to be part of the action in North America.
When the last season concluded, many of them left with some handsome performances and have already expressed profound aspiration to return in 2014, thanks to an invitation from Toronto and District Cricket Association (T&DCA).
In the Elite League, and more specifically the 50-over version, there was a great sense of satisfaction as they churned out impressive performances in both the batting and bowling departments.
Over 20 cricketers from the Land of Many Waters traveled up to participate in the 2013 season and proved their capabilities with a large number of attractive scores and bowling figures.
Former West Indies one-day player Royston Crandon has been a steady player over the past four years and he showed his class for Vikings Cricket Club in the Major League, while he emerged as a leading player in the Scarborough Cricket Association competition, representing the championship team, Hawaii Artic Cricket Club.
Ryan Ramdass, a determined opener, would have also attired in the prestigious maroon colors and has come to North America to play in the Elite competition. His stint with Islanders Cricket Club in last year’s tournament was reasonably successful. He featured in Brampton/Etobicoke League in which he registered a double-century at his time off from the big league.
As much as these cricketers are pleased with their performances and their core focus in Canada to enhance their cricket skills, special appreciation must go to the administration of T&DCA. The executives there continue to play a pivotal role in the social fabric of Canada’s society and instill a deep passion in the hearts of Canadian sportsmen.
It is very rare to find a unifying force such as this, which surpasses all boundaries of age, gender and ethnicity where players from all walks of life are present.
The national team has been quite inconsistent with their international performances over the years despite featuring in several International Cricket Council 50-over World Cup tournaments, but with the talent coming from Guyana and being proactive with the game is indeed commendable.
Guyana’s opening batsman Rajendra Chandrika made his first appearance last year, wearing the Vikings’ colors.
He said he was overwhelmed to be in Toronto plying his trade and was very grateful for the opportunity to showcase his talent and more importantly play in a competitive manner.
Former Guyana Under-19 captain Eugene LaFluer was also a debutant last year and his contributions for Victoria Park Cricket Club in both Elite and Premier Divisions were absolutely remarkable. He stated that he was anxious to play for Guyana at the senior level and that was one of his primary reasons for being in Canada.
The solid left-handed batsman scored over 300 runs in both competitions, while he took over 20 wickets with his left-arm spin. His fellow Berbician and another ex-youth player, Dominic Rikhi certainly enjoyed his second stint, having scored a century (176*) for Victoria Park.
At the moment in excess of 50 Guyanese cricketers are involved in the annual T&DCA Elite and Premier Divisions, while several players have featured in the first and second division tournaments.
Travis Blyden and Elton Baker had done exceedingly well for Civics Cricket Club scoring a substantial amount of runs while they took wickets and led their team to the next divisions for the 2014 season.
Just before his departure to Guyana, the right-hander batsman and leg-spinner Blyden related that he was delighted to be back in Canada and playing professional cricket. He also mentioned that playing with the likes of former West Indies batsman Keith Semple was a great honor.
Fast bowler Trevon Garraway was outstanding in the Scarborough League bowling with speed and accuracy in the final for Haiwaii. So devastating was Garraway that he took four wickets for just six runs to help skittle out the opposition for an embarrassing 25.
Some of the other Guyanese who plied there in Canada last year were Gavin Singh, Wasim Haslim, Ejaz Mohamed, Ricardo Jadunauth, Anthony D’Andrade, Harrinarine Chattergoon, Krishna Deosaran, Herman Latcha, brothers Ian and Roy Gonsalves and Trevor Henry. Some of the Guyanese who are living and playing in Canada are Zaheer Haniff, Eon Katchay, Raakesh Goberdhan, Ian Baldeo, Hemnarine Chattergoon, Kenneth Wong, Arjune Nandu, Sunil Dhaniram, Azib Ally Haniff, Glen Robinson, Jeremy Gordon, Damodar Daesrath, Mark Montfort, and Farouk Hussain among others.