Friday turned from bad to worse for Canada’s World Cup team. First came the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) decision to restrict the number of participating teams in a World Cup to 10 from the next edition.
Then, the Canadian team claimed to be ill-treated during their practice session at the Mahinda Rajapaksha International Cricket Stadium ahead of their opener against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Since both the teams, sans their managers and skippers who hadn’t returned from Thursday’s opening ceremony in Dhaka, arrived from Colombo in the morning, the venue organisers had arranged a shared practice session for both the teams.
However, a breakdown in communication resulted in the Canadian team almost walking out of the stadium.
While the Sri Lankan squad members had put their heads down in a gruelling session from 3pm, the Canadian team was stuck in the dressing room for an hour after arriving on time for their training scheduled for 4pm. Had the Canadians been told that it was a shared nets session, they wouldn’t have waited for the Lankans to vacate the ground and the side nets.
Instead, the venue managers team woke up only when the Canadian coach Pubudu Dassanayake asked his team to move on to the team bus.
“Nobody really communicated to us (that it was a shared practice session). When we were about to leave, they said they will give us the facilities at 5.30. But nobody cared. They (the Sri Lankan team) went on till 6.15. When we went there (at 5.30pm), they were still practicing,” Dassanayake, a former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper, said.
“We were pretty upset. That was not a good treatment. I know that the home team always gets the advantage. If somebody had said that you will not be able to practice, we would have stayed at the hotel. But as a national team, when you come to the ground and are treated this way, its very disappointing.”
However, the Lankan team retorted by saying Canada could have just stepped in to the side nets and started training.
There are eight to nine strips prepared in the side nets and our team was using four of them,” the teams spokesperson said. “Instead of starting their practice, they just stood on watching our players train.”
Dassanayake, however, hinted that the ICC’s venue management team was at fault. “I don’t think the Sri Lankan team is at fault, its about the organisers. I know that we are a small country, we are minnows. But when you come to the World Cup, you must have the equal sharing opportunity,” he said.
Instead of clarifying the confusion, an ICC spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.