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Last Updated:  Saturday, 1 February, 2003, 10:49 GMT

Canada's Aussie influence
By Nick Hoult
BBC Sport Online

Thanks to an eagle-eyed official at the Canadian Cricket Board, spinner John Davison will be playing in the World Cup against former classmates from the Australian Academy.

His contemporaries from Australia's cricket finishing school include Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath.

Davison takes a catch
Davison plays for South Australia

But it is the job of putting north American cricket on the map that he will be engaged in during the tournament.

He was born in British Colombia while his Australian parents were teaching in Canada, but they moved back to Sydney when he was just five weeks old.

The 32-year-old did not return until an official at the Canadian Cricket Board noticed he had been born in the country while flicking through player profiles on the internet.

Thanks to that stroke of fortune Davison has now spent the last three winters playing for the Toronto Cricket and Curling Club.

"I would not say I feel Canadian in any way, it's just an opportunity to play cricket," he said.

"It's a great opportunity for me and I think the South Australian boys are a bit jealous.

I don't look at it as being Australian or Canadian - I just see it as being a member of a team
John Davison

"I'm hoping that I can perform well and it would be great if a few of the other guys could show the world how well Canadians can play. I'm sure some will really feel the pressure.

"There are a handful that are good players and athletes. There are also a few who have just played club cricket and the crowds and the occasion will get to them.

"Hopefully they will surprise a few people and you can't say how they are going to go until you see them under pressure."

Davison attended the Australian Academy in 1993 and every single member of that year's intake has gone on to play first-class cricket.

Ponting and McGrath are the most illustrious graduates but Jimmy Maher and Murray Goodwin have also reached international status.

Former West Indies batsman Gus Logie has recently been installed as Canada's coach and for Davison it is an opportunity to boost a sport in his adopted country which lags far behind ice hockey and American football.

"Cricket in Canada is largely supported by the migrant populations," Davison said.

John Davison factfile
Born: 9.5.70, Campbell River, Vancouver Island
First-class debut: 1995-96
First-class record: 67 wickets in 37 games, best bowling 5-61
Record for Canada: 15 wickets in 10 games, 145 runs

"The standard is not too bad in Toronto with a few ex-Test players from the West Indies still playing. I've come across some really talented club cricketers but there is no real infrastructure in terms of organisation of the game.

"As far as the ICC are concerned I'm sure it would be great if a north American team was making strides as its such a big market to tap. If we can be competitive in the World Cup then you never know how fast far we could push the game.

"If we can be competitive in all the games and maybe beat the likes of Kenya and Bangaladesh, that would be a successful tournament for us."

Davison is the only first-class state cricketer in Australia to represent a different country at international level but if the baggy green call came Canada would be looking for a new off-spinner.

"I checked out straight away if it would stop me playing for Australia," he said.

"If they were a full ICC member or a one-day international side then it might be a problem but at the moment I'm fine."





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