June 13th, 2024

Fast bowler Jeremy Gordon banking on Canada impressing at ICC Men’s T20 World Cup

By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press on May 31, 2024.

Jeremy Gordon has taken off his banker’s hat and put on his cricket cap for Canada at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

The 37-year-old from Toronto, when not in the office as a senior support analyst at Scotiabank, bowls at 140 km/h on the cricket pitch

Gordon and fellow fast bowler Kaleem Sana will lead the Canadian bowling attack against the co-host U.S. in the opening match of the T20 World Cup on Saturday at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium some 20 kilometres west of Dallas.

“He’s definitely pretty quick,” Canadian batsman Nicholas Kirton said of Gordon.

Sana also commands attention, bowling between 135 and 140 km/h.

In addition to their pace, bowlers like Sana and Gordon look to swing the ball in and out “which both Jeremy and Sana do very well. Especially Sana,” said Kirton.

The hope is the batsman will be caught out by the movement, getting just a piece of the ball to set up a catch.

After the 18th-ranked U.S., the 23rd-ranked Canadians take on No. 11 Ireland on June 7 and No. 6 Pakistan on June 11, both at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in suburban New York, before wrapping up Pool A play against No. 1 India on June 15 at the Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla.

The top two teams from each of the four groups will then advance to the Super Eights.

Canada and the U.S. first met in New York in 1844 in what is believed to be the first-ever cricket international. Canada won the two-innings match by 23 runs that day at the St. George’s Cricket Club in Manhattan.

The North American rivals are both making their debut at the 20-team, 55-game T20 World Cup which runs through June 29 in the U.S. and West Indies.

“It is a momentous occasion for the country, players, everyone involved,” said Gordon. “To play against the likes of India and Pakistan, these are some of the guys – legends of the game – that we’ve watched play for many years.

“We strongly believe that we can compete with those guys.”

Canada’s cause has been aided by full-time contracts from Cricket Canada, allowing players to focus full time on their game and Gordon to take a leave of absence from the bank.

“It’s not even been a full year yet (with the contracts) but what we have been able to achieve by just having 10-15 guys on full-time contracts, it speaks volumes,” said Kirton.

While Canada’s final warm-up game Thursday against the Netherlands was called off due to heavy rain, Saturday’s forecast calls for a warm, cloudy night with only a 25 percent chance of participation.

The heat has already taken its toll on the Canadian team, which arrived in Texas on May 25 after a camp in St. Kitts

Pargat Singh and Ravinderpal Singh both suffered cramps in Canada’s 63-run win over Nepal in a warm-up game Tuesday. And Rayyan Pathan suffered a minor hamstring strain while batting during the match.

All three are healthy for Saturday’s game against the U.S.

“it’s going to be a very competitive game,” said Gordon. “Because as much as we know them, they also know us.”

The T20 game is action-packed with each team going for broke batting for just 20 overs. Bowlers like Gordon, restricted to four overs in total, look to balance restricting scoring with taking wickets.

Born in Guyana, Gordon moved to Canada in 2007 with his sister to join his father. He represented Guyana before making his Canada debut in 2012 against Scotland in Ayr.

Born in Barbados to a Montreal-born mother, the 26-year-old Kirton was initially selected by Canada in 2017 and now makes his home in Toronto.

Led by captain Saad Bin Zafar, the Canadian men qualified for the T20 World Cup in October, defeating Bermuda by 39 runs to win the four-team ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Americas Region Final.

Sana was named bowler of the tournament after taking 15 wickets in total. Kirton’s bat was also key, triggering a decisive 20-run final over against Bermuda.

Canada has also performed well in the one-day (50-over) game in recent months.

Canada regained its one-day international status for the first time in almost a decade by finishing in the top four in April 2023 at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier Playoff in Namibia.

The Canadian men currently top the eight-team World Cup League 2 standings at 4-0-0.

That competition features eight teams: Canada, Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Oman, Scotland, United Arab Emirates and the U.S. After 144 matches from 24-tri-series, the top four sides will move within one step of qualifying for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2027 in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on X platform, formerly known as Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2024

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