Cricket Canada

May 01, 2013 12:36 ET

All-Star Cricketer Ashish Bagai to Return to National Men's Program

TORONTO, CANADA--(Marketwired - May 1, 2013) -

Editors Note: There is one photo associated with this release.

Cricket Canada is pleased to announce the signing of All-Star wicket-keeper batsman Ashish Bagai to a national team central contract.

Bagai is Canada's most capped and successful player, having played in 119 international fixtures including 3 World Cup appearances. His career figures include scoring over 3,500 international runs and 158 dismissals as wicket-keeper.

The former captain has been absent from Canada's line-up since completion of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, where he enjoyed a productive tournament featuring two half centuries, 84 vs NZ in Mumbai and 64* vs KENYA in Delhi, on his way to a 235 run campaign which also included 11 dismissals behind the stumps.

"Fortunately, the timing has worked out well as I will be graduating from the MBA program at Wharton in the middle of May and have a 9 month window before starting employment with McKinsey & Company in February 2014," said Bagai.

Cricket Canada is entering a crucial nine-month period where the Men's team will compete in two major World Cup Qualifiers; November's World T20Q in Dubai and the 2015 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand to start 2014.

"Canadian cricket means a lot to me and I am excited to play a role in helping Canada qualify for both of these events once again."

Bagai continued, "I know the recent results have not been great, but there are some promising aspects that we can build on during the upcoming summer. It's going to require a lot of commitment and character from the players and I am confident that the guys will rise to the challenge."

Cricket Canada's President Ravin Moorthy was confident that the addition of Bagai puts the team solidly on the right track.

"We've been down this road before," Moorthy said in reference to challenging on field results. "In 2008 we were in a similar position ahead of the 2009 Qualifiers in South Africa. We were able to make some moves to bolster our experience, one of which included making the case to Ashish to leave his job (at the time with UBS in London) and be part of the qualification to the 2011 Cricket World Cup."

Moorthy continued, "To again sign Ashish to a commitment that includes both World Cup qualifiers, clearly signals the organizations intention to make a serious run to qualify for upcoming major world tournaments."

Cricket Canada's summer schedule opens with its premier domestic tournament, the National Cricket League from June 23rd - July 1st before shifting toward international fixtures with the Auty Cup vs USA in late July, and ICC World Cricket League and ICUP matches with UAE and HOLLAND in August.

Ashish is expected to join the squad on May 15th after completing graduation ceremonies at Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia.

About Cricket Canada

Cricket Canada is the definitive National Sports Organization (NSO) for cricket in Canada as recognized by the Government of Canada, Sport Canada, and the International Cricket Council. Cricket Canada's mission is to govern, develop, and promote cricket for the enjoyment of all Canadians.

About Cricket

International: Cricket is one of the most rapidly growing sports in the world and participated in by over 100 countries. The International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body for the sport, has identified North America and China as its two major growth markets.

Domestic: Cricket in Canada has experienced significant growth in participation over the past years with an estimated 40,000 recreational cricketers playing the sport. Cricket is currently established in over 2,000 schools nationally and with investment from Cricket Canada, private corporations, and government funding, is expected to support a 45% annual growth.

Heritage: Canada's first Prime Minister, John A. MacDonald, declared cricket Canada's first national sport. The world's first recorded international sporting fixture took place in Montreal, Canada - a cricket match between Canada and the United States in 1844. Canada has participated in four ICC Cricket World Cups; 1979, 2003, 2007, and 2011.

The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup had a global viewership of over 2 billion people. Canada maintains a top 15 international ranking among Men's, Women's, U19, and U15 programs and is the highest ranked member of the ICC from the America's region.

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