Canada’s U19 World Cup opening bowler Stephan Rajasingham inspired by Chaminda Vaas

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Stephan Rajasingham calls on the Mayor of Markham Frank Scarpetti, with Coach Gerrard Rajendram (far right) and City Councilor Logan Kanapathi.

Stephan Rajasingham calls on the Mayor of Markham Frank Scarpetti, with Coach Gerrard Rajendram (far right) and City Councilor Logan Kanapathi.

Stephan lights the oil lamp as a founding student during Markham Cricket Academy awards night in 2010.

Stephan lights the oil lamp as a founding student during Markham Cricket Academy awards night in 2010.

Canada’s U19 World Cup opening bowler was captivated by Sri Lankan spearhead Chaminda Vaas’ record-breaking performance in 2003. Stephan Rajasingam was 10 years old and woke up in the early morn-ing hours to watch 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup live from South Africa with his father Anton. Sri Lankan pace bowler Vaas grabbed a record haul of 23 wickets including a hat-trick off the firstthree balls of a match in the tournament.“Chaminda Vaas was a left-armer like me, I wanted to bowl pace ever since I watched him on television playing at the 2003 World Cup,” Rajasingam told lankareporter in Toronto. Apart from Vaas, he described his batting hero Kumar Sangakkara as “technically flawless.”

NEW GENERATION

Rajasingam represents a new generation of Canadian cricketers, born in a country better known for ice hockey and sub zero temperatures, yet yearn to play cricket at the high-est level.When he opens the bowling for Canada at the ICC U19 World Cup in Dubai next month, he will fulfill a dream of an entire com-munity that pushed him along the way. Rajasingam’s father, Anton, was encouraged by his son’s interest in cricket and enrolled him with Coach Gerrard Rajendram’s Markham Cricket Academy in 2006.

Stephan among the first students at academy.

Stephan among the first students at academy.

“When I started at Markham Cricket Academy there were only five students, we have over 60 now,” said Rajasingham who is an Accounting student at York University.

CRICKET COACH

“He (Rajendram) is not only a cricket coach to his students; he offers advice on many aspects of life especially our studies. Coach was happier than my Dad. He was tell-ing everyone about my selection for the Under 19 World Cup. He was so happy, that he took me shopping for cricket equipment.” Rajendram, a former Batticloa District coach from Sri Lanka, presented the young bowler with a special bat made with grade 1 English willow on behalf of the academy. The bat is so rare that only 25 are manufactured each year and where only one makes its way to North America.

BOWLING INSPIRATION….Chaminda Vaas celebrates a hat-trick off the first three balls of match against Bangladesh in the 2003 ICC World Cup.

BOWLING INSPIRATION….Chaminda Vaas celebrates a hat-trick off the first three balls of match against Bangladesh in the 2003 ICC World Cup.

Earlier this week, the young bowler called on Markham mayor Frank Scarpetti, and Councillor Logan Kanapathi, a special gesture from the city of Markham, which took keen interest in developing cricket infrastructure for children.

BATTING HERO….Kumar Sangakkara ‘technically flawless’.

BATTING HERO….Kumar Sangakkara ‘technically flawless’.

With the lack of proper facilities for young cricketers, odds are usually stacked against Canadian teams when playing against major cricketing nations.

Yet Rajasingham was confident in his squad, saying many of his team-mates have had strong international exposure. Team Canada departs for Dubai on February 6.

Canada Squad for ICC U19 World Cup  – Nitish Kumar (captain), Sudeepta Aurka, Gurkaran Dhillon, Nikhil Dutta, Farhan Malik,  Amanpal Gillar, Stephan Joseph, Aniket Joshi, Armaan Kapoor, Abraash Khan, Trevor Manoosingh, Stephan Rajasingam, Yug Rao, Talha Shaik, Keenen Tinto.