View Full Version : Ian Billcliff - Canada's New Zealand player

January 7, 2003, 04:00 AM
Ian Billcliff - cricketing nomad finds a home in Canada
Jamie Troughton - 10 December 2002

Ian Billcliff has been something of a cricketing nomad in the last decade, but the last place he thought his journeys would take him was the World Cup in South Africa. But thanks to a set of parents with a similar wandering tendency, Billcliff will be buckling up his pads and wandering out to face Shane Bond and the rest of the Black Caps bowling attack in early March.

Holding up the other end will be blokes with names like Joe Harris, Asish Bagai Austin Codrington and Davis Joseph – and if that doesn't give it away, they're all members of the Canadian cricket squad.

Billcliff – a former Otago, Wellington and Auckland middle-order batsman – qualifies through having been born in the little town of Williams Lake, just outside of Vancouver, when his parents were on a five-year teaching OE in the 1970's.

The 30-year-old has already played almost 20 one-dayers for Canada in the past year, and his recent form in Auckland club cricket for Cornwall helped win him a place in the final squad announced this week.

"To go to the World Cup is a great opportunity, and a great experience." Billcliff said. "A lot of the guys I've spoken to back here think the same, and wish they were in the same position."

Billcliff recently returned from London with his wife Debbie – he'd been there since his last season with Auckland in 1999, and it was after playing in the Surrey League that the prospects of a belated international cricket call-up eventuated.

Looking to play a season in Canada, Billcliff got hold of ICC Development Manager – former Suburbs-New Lynn player Andrew Eade – who in turn contacted the Canadian cricket president. After discovering Billcliff's place of birth, things quickly progressed, and six weeks later Billcliff was winging his way to Toronto to take part in the ICC Trophy.

"It was pretty hectic– it all seemed to happen so fast. We were in the middle of winter in England, and I hadn't played any sort of cricket for about a year.

"I had a broken thumb when I arrived in Canada so they weren't very happy with that, but I got a couple of 80's in the tournament and have been in the team ever since."

The hosts finished third in the ICC Trophy, and in beating Scotland in the last game managed to qualify for their first World Cup.

It was as much a surprise to the locals as it was to the international cricketing fraternity. "You tend to find with the Canadians that they're completely surprised they've actually got a cricket team, and even more surprised they've qualified for the World Cup." "We've got a hell of a lot of natural ability, and when the guys are on song, they could do well against anyone. But because we don't play consistently at a high standard, we really lack the consistency."

One of Canada's top players is Australian off-spinner John Davison, who's been starring for South Australia in the Pura Cup domestic competition. But as the majority of his teammates are expatriate West Indians, Sri Lankans and Indians now living in Toronto, Billcliff struggles to see himself as a Canadian.

"It is very difficult in a way, but you probably wouldn't find a more multicultural team in the world. The guys are great, they're all amateur, and they all play because they genuinely love the game. It's quite refreshing."

Billcliff's cricketing adventures have been wide and varied – he was fielding at point when Mark Richardson made his infamous "Zoe" sledge to star West Indian Brian Lara, at Carisbrook in 1995.

He got to face the left-handed wizard again this year when Canada took part in the West Indian Red Stripe domestic tournament – Billcliff wisely decided against reminding Trinidad's Lara of their previous encounter.

"I thought better of it," Billcliff laughed. "I was in a bit of a minority down there – I think myself and John Davison were the first white guys to play in the tournament, so I was keeping things very much to myself!"

Billcliff is determined to enjoy himself at the World Cup, especially in the last pool match, against the Black Caps at Willowmoore Park, Benoni on March 3.

"We've got nothing to lose. We'll go out there and enjoy our cricket, and the fact that it's New Zealand won't really make much of a difference to me. "What we're looking to get out of the World Cup will be completely different to a lot of other teams. We've got Bangladesh and Kenya in our pool which we'll obviously target to win, but then a good performance against any one of the four big teams could be worth just as much if not more than a win against the lower teams."

© Jamie Troughton

Source: http://www-usa5.cricket.org/link_to_database/ARCHIVE/CRICKET_NEWS/2002/DEC/105050_GENERIC_10DEC2002.html

January 7, 2003, 01:47 PM
then then shey take that last para and post it on the board. can someone mail this in to local papers in dhaka, maybe it can serve as some motivation. canada now thinks we are a "lower team"??

January 7, 2003, 04:26 PM
rafiq, don't worry - these are all bulllshit! Bangladesh also said that they will win against Canada and Kenya. Also they will be looking for a win against West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand. Basically, SA is the only "superior team" than us - according to aliul.


January 7, 2003, 06:18 PM
Wow, I want what Aliul is on. Must be a pretty good feeling for him. I want that.

Hmmmm, how come ICC is allowing this BHARATE players to spoil cricket like this ? They should make a rule that atleast 7/8 of the players have to be locals, not these wondering nomads. We want pure blood in Cricket, darn it.

January 8, 2003, 11:24 AM
ICC has a clear rule. Anyone who is citizen can play. All these players are Canadians wheather by born or immigration.

The ICC rule that is in effect is, no player can play International cricket for more than one country in his career. None of these players played international cricket for any other country.

Just coz they play in Australia or NZ, we cant stop them.

Too bad, none of the BD players play abroad, not even in India.

January 8, 2003, 06:09 PM
if a couple of BD players do well in the world cup, they may get some offers? who knows?

January 8, 2003, 06:10 PM
didn't he play in the english minor leagues?

January 8, 2003, 06:38 PM
Aminul did

January 9, 2003, 08:06 AM
I remember something about Bangladesh and the MCC. Joey Dawes played in that match. Next time i run into Joe i'll ask him.

[Edited on 9-1-2003 by Habibul_fan]

January 10, 2003, 04:34 AM
BHARATE - because 8 (I believe) of the players were BORN in the WI and pretty much had some time or the other played in the leagues there.

Look at Bilcliff, he is pretty much a New Zealander. Just because he was born in Canada and spend the first few years in Canada, he gets to play for Canada.

Both Nannu and Bulbul played in England.
Bulbul also played in Australia.

[Edited on 10-1-2003 by tehsin]

January 10, 2003, 12:24 PM
that;s true of many different sports and countries now that the world is a much smaller place. look at the last soccer world cup. a nigerian played for germany, there were yugoslavs and africans on the swedidh team i think. in track and field, tennis, etc that happens all the time. soccer players in the english league who grew up british often choose to play for a country they have some link with - eg south africa, australia if i think of a couple of players whose names aren't coming to mind - because they will never make it into the british teams. up and coming countries benefit from this. eventually, standards are raised and more home grown players are produced and these foreign imports are no longer first choice. us soccer in the last 25 years is the best example that comes to mind.

January 11, 2003, 05:26 PM
Grrrrr, the TEST status stops here (with Bangladesh). Who needs to improve the standards when we have enough to around (being greedy knowing fully well that like hockey - new teams will pick up the game and improve two-folds while we slide behind). :)