Opinion: Canada needs an inkblot approach for Cricket Development…
There are 2 cricket associates, USA and Canada, that have a problem that no other associate does at the momment. That is the problem of size. These countries are essentially, well, continents!. The problem of size obviously creates the problem of having the players available (a person living in Vancouver would need to fly for 6 hours to get to Toronto, and end up losing a total of 9 hours total because of the time difference). Andy Pick, the Canadian coach, is on record saying that he was told by CCA that getting players together regularly is out of the question, because of the cost and time associated with that.
However, one has to understand, that there is an obvious approach to fixing this issue. Forget about the whole country. In fact, forget about a whole province as well (Canadian province of Ontario is 5 times the size of Holland). Instead what they can do is to focus all their funds, all their academies, all their development, expansion etc on 1 city. In this case, that would be Toronto.
Toronto metro area has a population of about 5.7 million people. That is more than enough people to be able to build a strong, theoratically even a test stadard team. New Zealand is a country of 3.5 million people, and look where they are even despite the fact that Cricket is not the number 1 sport over there.
CCAs funds etc are good enough if they were to only take Toronto into account. They are obviously not good enough if they were to take the whole of Canada into account. So why even bother? It IS possible to get quite a decent fan following JUST from Toronto for the national team. Even if you can get 50K people to back the Canadian team, it would not only be good enough in the short run, but in fact, it would be better than most of the associates.
Having 50 K people just in one city will improve match attendance when Canada plays in Toronto, It will create a good culture of Cricket in a limited area, it will make all the top faciltiies and coaching available within a 30 minute drive (as opposed to a 6 hour flight). The best players will be in a limited area as well, and will get to play a lot of cricket with each other, hence improving them even further. The biggest thing however will be that the city governments etc will take special interest, and funds etc will be easily available. The trick ofcourse is that the current Ontario govt $1mil must be used to increase the player base in Toronto at the junior level i.e. new entrants to the game. And if the net is spread wide enough, it will include mainstream players as well.
Once the game is firmly established in Toronto, and the standard of the team is quite high as well (read: non reliance on Austrlian/Kiwi FC players), the CCA should be having enough money to expand to other areas, and even television coverage of a decent performance will spur on game play in other areas.
If after Toronto, CCA focusses only on Ontario, they will be hitting 12 million population of Canada, nearly half of Canada.