Canada's John Davison waves to the crowd after playing in his final match before retirement in their World Cup cricket match against Australia in Bangalore on Wednesday. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)
When the end came, it wasn't pretty - just pretty predictable. Canada's fourth campaign at the Cricket World Cup was no more successful than the previous three. It concluded with a one-sided loss to Australia and featured just a single victory to demonstrate their collective effort.
Unloved and largely unnoticed by the majority of the Canadian public and its media, Canada's players will return home to embrace a fleeting summer in which to work on their game. Anonymity is assured on a continent which has chosen to disregard the sport.
Ignorance is bliss. It is also foolhardy and small minded. I am not naive enough to expect, or even hope, that cricket is on the verge of making a breakthrough in North America. For most, it does not move the needle anymore than a game which can last five days makes any sense.
Let's not beat about the bush. Canada's national cricket team is a poor relation to the global heavyweights. It has not and cannot compete with Australia, India, South Africa or any of the other nations which produce high profile professional cricketers.
Canada produces winter athletes - hockey players, skiers, curlers and skaters. It also produces proud new Canadians with different skills, agendas and passions.
We all understand hockey is king. We understand why. The NHL is heavily populated with Canadians and, thanks to Sidney Crosby and others, Canada is the Olympic Champion. Canada is good at hockey and we all love a winner.
We respect the sport because it is part of the fabric of a country which has given us a new home and a new way of life. Pond hockey and backyard rinks are second nature to many. Interestingly, we don't all obsess over the Leafs, the Habs or the Canucks.
Right now, Canada's cricketers deserve some respect. Not because they're winners but because they are proud Canadians doing their best to keep up with the sporting Jones's. Against virtually impossible odds, they are willing to give it a go.
Some of them succeeded. In amongst the debris of defeat, a few rose to the challenge. Canadian captain Ashish Bagai and Jimmy Hansra were regular contributors with the bat, while teenager Hiral Patel defied the Australians for an hour with a quickfire half century.
Sadly cricket is a team sport. Batsmen must score consistently and offer support while bowlers must deliver line and length in an economic fashion. The Canadians didn't produce enough runs or bowl tightly enough to give themselves a chance.
Even in cricketing circles, Canada is not welcome. The International Cricket Council, which runs the game, doesn't want the minnows at their next World Cup. It wants games between competitive teams which sell tickets and fill couches to satisfy demanding sponsors.
This is no way for the ICC to conduct its business. Of course it needs to make money but at what cost? Slamming the door on cricket's emerging nations does nothing for the development of a game which, for too long, has been viewed with apathy in huge areas of the world.
So why should Canada bother about cricket? If its leaders are prepared to turn a blind eye in pursuit of profit, there is nowhere for Canada to go. Contrary to popular belief, there is ability and a passion for the game in this country. Tragically, the ICC's ruling means there is nothing to aim for.
At least not at the elite level. Canada is evidently not ready to play on that stage and it may never be. Being shut out of the World Cup, however, can only delay development. Canada will not improve while it is denied the chance to learn from the best.
Yet here is a sport which, once attempted, has a huge upside. Cricket is played to a code of conduct where the umpire's decision is final and universally respected. Video technology has been embraced to assist the official, not to find fault or undermine his authority.
It is a game which involves one and all. Every member of every team has a specific role be it batting, bowling or fielding. Scoring a hundred or taking five wickets will bring personal adulation, but it is always done for the benefit of the team.
Cricketers are, by and large, graceful in victory and dignified in defeat. Of course they play to win and are competitive by nature. But when day is done, the barbeque is for all to share. All sounds pretty Canadian to me.
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