Bagai steps down as Canada's cricket captain

Cricket Canada confirmed late Sunday night that Ashish Bagai is stepping down as national squad captain but he still plans to make himself available for selection as batsman and wicketkeeper.

Canada's senior men's cricket team is looking for a new captain after Ashish Bagai announced he is stepping down from the position.

Cricket Canada announced Bagai's decision in a release Sunday night, but said he would still make himself available for selection to the squad.

"It has been an honour to captain my country in the sport I love and I thank everyone in this organization who helped and supported me throughout my term including administrators, coaches, managers and most of all, the players," Bagai said in a letter to Cricket Canada's board.

"I undertook each task over the last two years with the primary objective of moving not just the team but also the entire organization forward. I have always had a passion for Canadian cricket and did what I thought would benefit the team and organization in my opinion."

Bagai was born in New Delhi, India, and moved to Canada with his family when he was 11.

He left a career as a banker at Union Bank of Switzerland in London to take over Canada's captaincy in 2009.

The 29-year-old Bagai is Canada's all-time leader in one-day scoring and his presence behind the stumps and in the middle order helped Canada qualify for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

Bagai was diagnosed with patella femoral syndrome in 2009.

Also known as runner's knee, a muscle imbalance pulls the kneecap, so it hits the femur.

He said the bone-to-bone contact causes him extreme pain, but he avoided surgery so he could play in the 2011 World Cup.

"Cricket Canada thanks Ashish for his outstanding contribution to Canadian cricket at a time when circumstances were difficult and challenging," Cricket Canada president Ranjit Saini said in a statement. "I wish him well for a bright and prosperous future and look forward to his continued contribution as a player and strong supporter of Canadian cricket."