Canada may stage some cricket matches at the 2007 World Cup after its administrators held talks with the West Indies Cricket Board, which is hosting the event.
“I’ve had informal discussions and indicated an interest,” Canada Cricket Association President Geoff Edwards said in an interview. “First we must do some groundwork and see if there is any merit in making a bid. I believe there is.”
The 14 Caribbean islands that comprise the WICB, plus Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas are interested in putting on matches at the four-yearly tournament. The International Cricket Council will discuss in June whether the U.S. should also be one of the co-hosts, with matches possible in Florida or California.
“It will be a unique tournament because so many nations are competing for host status,” said Chris Dehring, managing director of the 2007 World Cup. “We are also conscious of the ICC’s mandate to spread cricket in North America so we’ll be looking at that too.”
Hosting games may help the sport develop in Canada, which has 250 organized clubs, 20,000 players and made its second World Cup appearance this year in South Africa. Although it finished sixth in the seven-nation group, the team recorded a surprise win over Bangladesh, one of the 10 elite Test nations.
The SkyDome, home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, would be the most likely venue, Edwards said. The city used to stage an annual one-day cricket series between India and Pakistan.
The WICB may favor Canada’s involvement because the stadium holds about 50,000 people, four times as many as the average Caribbean ground. More ticket sales would boost the WICB’s revenue.
Canada’s recent World Cup was mixed. The team was dismissed by Sri Lanka for 36, the lowest total in the tournament’s history. Four days earlier against the West Indies, opener John Davison hit the fastest World Cup hundred in 67 balls.
“The coverage was tremendous and there was a groundswell of support,” Edwards said. “Hosting a World Cup would probably see that interest magnified 1,000 times.
It would be the perfect way to bring cricket to the mainland of Canada and the U.S.” (Bloomberg)