'We're living our dream'

MIXED BAG

'We're living our dream'

Parth Desai

Cricket might be a rage in Australia but it’s just another game in Canada. The Canadian cricket team is a conglomeration of different cultures. There are a good number of Indians, West Indies, Pakistanis and of course, Canadian players. And they all speak only one language – cricket.

The young men in the team are dedicated to the sport and say they are not playing for the competition but to keep the spirit of the game alive. Metrolife interacted with a few players from the Canadian cricket team and got them talking about everything other than cricket.

Most of the players in the team were born in another country but raised in Canada. So, for them, moving from a country where cricket is almost worshipped to a place where the game is almost insignificant, was a shock but they say that it’s their passion for the game that got them hooked to the sport.

DEDICATED Khurram ChohanKhurram Chohan has played for many clubs in his home city – Lahore and he was among the very few cricketers who bagged a contract with Cricket Canada in 2009. “It’s the passion for the game that counts. That time I was playing for Pakistan and now I play for Canada, but I am still playing cricket,” he says.

 Rizwan CheemaRizwan Cheema, another player says that the team members dine out and often hang out together at parties. “Most of us are from the same town and therefore have a lot in common,” he says. Khurram adds, “We’re all like one big family. We have special nicknames for each other.”

Parth Desai, an Indian who moved to Canada a few years ago, says he began training in cricket as a young boy and was most influenced by his grandfather. Parth says he knew he always wanted to be a cricketer. “It’s not the competition, it’s the love of the sport that’s got me thus far. We might be from different backgrounds but we have only one religion – that’s cricket,” says Parth. He says he feels the pressure to perform well and looks at the World Cup as a learning experience. “Playing for Canada is special but there are a lot of Indians living in Canada so there isn’t too much difference in the culture,” he adds. 

HOPEFUL Hamza Tariq Hamza Tariq, a Pakistani on the team, used to play tap ball before he was selected to play cricket for Canada. “It’s a big stage and we feel the pressure when we’re out there, playing amidst giants in the sport,” says Hamza.

 About food, Hamza says, “The curries are similar. There are plenty of Indian restaurants but nothing matches home-cooked food.” Parth and Hamza are conscious about looking good all the time. “My hair is spiked and I make sure I dress my best wherever I go. I have a keen eye for fashion and like to shop for jeans, jackets and shirts wherever I go,” adds Hamza.

Parth adds, “I don’t really care about what I wear as long as the dress is neat. But I do I try out different styles with my hair. That’s something we all do in the team,” he says.  Playing the World Cup is a dream come true for most of them. Rizwan says, “There is no other place I would rather be right now. I am living my dream.”

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