Representing the Ontario Cricket Academy based in Mississauga, the youngsters, apart from Guyana-born wicketkeeper Darren Ramsammy, a Sri Lankan, a Pakistani and an Indian, are all first generation Canadians.
And it is the hope of their coaches that within the next few years the cricketers can catapult their country into the international spotlight with performances that can get them into playing the game at the highest level within the next five to ten years.
It is a big dream which when realised will be against the odds but one that they believe is attainable assisted in no small part by short competitive tours afforded by organisers in Trinidad and Tobago over the past week.
Assistant coach Sunil Khandor said that he was especially pleased that the Ontario Cricket Academy could come to Trinidad and benefit from playing against teams from one of the strongest cricketing nations in the Caribbean.
He said his players relish the opportunity to play on turf wickets, an opportunity they do not readily get back home because of the climate and the lack of experienced curators. Khandor said the warm weather also allows his players to get extended spells and build long innings against an opposition that has graduated from strong development programmes. He said the future of the game in Canada is in the hands of the Under-17 players since it is through their individual and collective success that they can attract sponsorship and generate interest for the game in their respective communities in Canada.
Khandor pointed to the fact that Canadian cricket gets financial assistance from Scotiabank but admitted that much more funds are needed to provide adequate facilities and incentives to bring the game to a level which can challenge the establish countries.
A major step he believes will be a plan to professionalise the game to a certain level in Canada which will ensure the cricketers a livelihood playing the game.
But until that happens he expects several players from the Ontario Cricket Academy to land contracts to ply their trade in league and club cricket in England where they can further develop their skill.
He said the young players are all looking forward to next year when Canada hosts the Under-19 World Cricket Cup and he expects at least five players from the Ontario Cricket Academy to break into the national team.
Khandor said he was grateful for the help provided by Kumar Rampath, a West Indies Cricket Board coaching instructor which has enabled them to lay the groundwork for their ten-day tour of Trinidad.
He hopes that a senior Canadian team can visit next year for a longer competitive tour which he said will greatly benefit their effort to make a claim for international recognition.
Head coach of the Ontario Cricket Academy is Sri Lankan-born Derek Perera who is assisted by Khandor and Trinidadian Rishi Bal who is originally from Barrackpore in south Trinidad.
Bal said that they welcome the opportunity to forge links with clubs and other cricket organisations and interested persons can contact the Ontario Cricket Academy on their website at www.ontariocricket.com.
Khandor said that while in Trinidad, his players also had the opportunity to learn a lot about the history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago.
“The tour is about their allround development. We want to prepare them for life,” he said.
The youngsters participated in the Hindu festival of Phagwa, some for the first time; visited the historic Temple in the Sea at Waterloo; toured the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain and conducted a training session there; and saw the world’s tallest Hanauman Statue in Carapichaima.
Khandor said the cricketers also spent a memorable time at Barrackpore where they got a glimpse how people lived in rural Trinidad and Tobago.