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Darpan's 10

Darpan 10 with Mr. Amjad Bajwa, President of Cricket Canada

Ish Sharma Darpan, 28 May, 2024
  • Darpan 10 with Mr. Amjad Bajwa, President of Cricket Canada

01. Given your involvement in the sport, could you tell us about your journey in cricket?

I began my cricket journey playing for local clubs like PAKCAN and volunteering with BCMCL. I progressed to roles as VP and then President of Cricket BC, serving twelve years. I also spent three years as a Director at the national level. Last year, I served as VP of Cricket Canada, and in April, I was elected President of Cricket Canada.

 

02. What will be your top priority in your new role as Cricket Canada President?

As President of Cricket Canada, I will focus on development and infrastructure, enhancing grassroots initiatives in schools, colleges, and university leagues. Regarding infrastructure, we are building on existing frameworks like Toronto's GT20 tournament and exploring expansions westward. Additionally, we're collaborating with a major league starting in Brampton, ON, with plans to extend to West Vancouver in the future. 

 

03. What changes have you witnessed in the growth of cricket at both the local and national levels within the country?

In recent years, the influx of new immigrant students and families has significantly increased participation in cricket. This surge has enriched local clubs at schools and universities with talented players, promising a bright future for the sport. 

 

04. Cricket is still primarily played by immigrants. How do you hope to involve kids and youth born and raised here and garner interest in them?

We have initiated community outreach in Ontario, particularly in Toronto, where coaches introduce cricket in primary schools. The schools are equipped with course materials for teaching cricket, and this successful model is poised for expansion into BC and other provinces.

 

05. As the newly elected President of Cricket Canada, what will be your mandate for the organization?

I plan to build on the policies implemented by the previous President and enhance them further. Additionally, I will seek private sponsorships, building on existing partnerships with TD Bank, Coca-Cola, O'Neills, Nissan, and other sponsors.

         

06. Now that the cricket season is underway, what's in store for this year?

Locally, there is a lot going on in cricket, and on the national stage, we're excited for the upcoming T20 World Cup in June—Canada's first qualification. This follows our significant achievement of gaining ODI status. The teams have been announced and are actively preparing, with some athletes training in Saint Kitts in mid-May before heading to the World Cup.

 

07. What strategies does Cricket Canada plan to implement to secure corporate support for the sport of cricket itself?

We have partnered with Boundary North to secure corporate sponsorships. They successfully approached TD and are currently finalizing partnerships with Nissan and O'Neills. We're also engaging smaller companies to broaden our corporate support.

 

08. What are your expectations for the upcoming World Cup, and how is the preparation going?

We are set to face strong teams like Pakistan, India, the USA, and Ireland in the upcoming World Cup. Playing against these teams could be a historic highlight for us at the tournament.

 

09. As an associate nation, how do you intend to cultivate and expand Cricket Canada's talent pools?

We'll support local clubs and leagues to involve more players at the grassroots. Every two years, we'll raise the bar by hosting the Under-17 Canada Cup, selecting players for an Under-19 pool, which will feed into a merging team. This strategy will help us draft players for future teams.

 

10. What measures do you intend to take to tackle the lack of support for those aiming to make cricket their full-time career, especially regarding financial assistance?

Last year was historic as we offered full-time contracts for the first time in Canada, supporting 12 players, with additional part-time contracts, thanks to the Global T20 and Boundary North leagues. With corporate backing, we were able to provide these contracts. My goal is to secure more financial support from major corporations. Our main revenue sources are the International Cricket Council, corporate sponsors, and some federal government assistance.

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