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Manoosingh living his cricket dream

U19 World Cup 'as big as it gets' for local star

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Some very important games are taking place overseas next month.

Winnipeg's Trevor Manoosingh is getting ready to pack up next week to live his dream come true, not to the Olympics but to the International Cricket Council's Under-19 Cricket World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Manoosingh was selected to Team Canada earlier this month after Canada qualified for the 16-country World Cup last summer.

"This is as big as it gets for us," Manoosingh said Thursday. "It's been my goal to get to a World Cup. I've been at this for eight years and now that I'm here, it's surreal. It's like a dream come true."

Last summer, just north of Toronto, Canada, the U.S. and Bermuda gathered to decide the region's final spot for the 2014 U19 World Cup.

Weather issues condensed the matter to pressure-packed one-on-one meetings with each and in the winner-take-all affair, the home side prevailed.

Manoosingh had also been on the U19 team that failed to qualify for the 2012 World Cup in the summer of 2011.

"We really needed to get this one in order to get our funding back," he said. "It was a magnificent feeling. I was in Ireland for the last global qualifier (in 2011) and we were one spot away from the top six.

"That was devastating, so to get the chance to come back and represent my country one more time and help us to a spot in the World Cup was everything I've hoped for the last couple of years."

Even though Canada earned its berth last summer, the training incentive remained because the official selection of the team didn't take place until just a couple of weeks ago.

His training has also included the mental side. Most consider cricket a highly civil, gentleman's sport. Competitiveness wouldn't surprise many but some tactics might.

"It's very key, especially when you're playing the full-member nations," he said. "They love to talk, they chirp sometimes and they want to get in your head.

"You want to show them but you have to be mentally strong while you try to build an inning. There's trash talk here and there, and it's all about momentum."

The University of Manitoba student -- he's taking a semester off to devote his time to training for the World Cup -- turned 20 last October but still qualifies to play in this World Cup. That's because the associate nations who are next in line to join the 10 heavy-hitter, full-member nations of the ICC are essentially allowed a four-month push on birthdays as a development favour to those budding competitor countries.

Canada is one of those.

The team will be led by captain Nitish Kumar and Nikhil Dutta, who are presently at the World Cup in New Zealand with Canada's senior team.

In addition to those two experienced leaders, why is Manoosingh enthusiastic about this U19 Team Canada?

"The simplest way to put it is we're a brotherhood," he said. "We look out for each other and support each other through the worst of situations. We have gone through some rough patches over the last couple of years. We know how it feels to have that pressure. On top of the level of talent we have, everybody looks to help each other, which is what I love."

Manoosingh heads to Toronto at the end of next week for a couple of days of training with his Team Canada mates before heading to the U.A.E. on Feb. 1 for the final preparations.

"I have two goals for the World Cup. First is to get to the World Cup side (the championship side of the draw after pool play, for the top two teams) because it's something we've never done before," Manoosingh said. "If we don't, then I feel we can win that plate (the title on the consolation side)."

Canada will have two warm-up matches in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, the first against New Zealand on Feb. 9 and then against Papua New Guinea on Feb. 11.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2014 C5

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