20 August 201023:41

Bhatti excited about Sri Lanka challenge

Bhatti admitted that it is important for Canada and other three Associate sides, Ireland, Kenya and the Netherlands to perform well

Bhatti excited about Sri Lanka challenge - Cricket News

Umar Bhatti of Canada.

Canada star Umar Bhatti has revealed that he can't wait to experience the excitement of playing in an ICC Cricket World Cup in South East Asia.

Bhatti's side will begin its campaign in Hambantota six months today, on 20 February 2011, against hosts Sri Lanka and the 26-year-old is looking forward to the challenge.

"It is a big honour to play against a team like Sri Lanka, which is clearly one of the best teams in the world, in the opening game," he said.

"We are all really excited and hopefully there will be a big crowd there supporting both the sides. A World Cup in South Asia is huge.

"The whole experience of playing against the Test playing nations will be a great one."

Bhatti admitted that it is important for Canada, along with the other three Associate sides, Ireland, Kenya and the Netherlands, to perform well on behalf of the Pepsi ICC Development Programme.

"There is also pressure on us to do well and showcase what Associate cricket can offer to a wider audience around the world," said Bhatti who was part of the Canada squad during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies.

"The ICC has invested so much money in Associate cricket so there is a pressure to do well, but we have to take in our stride. There has been enough time to prepare and we know what we are going to come against. If we use the next six months wisely then I am sure the Associate teams can compete against the Full Members.

"We need to control what we can in terms of our fitness and fielding. If we take care of what we can control then we will have a chance of doing well."

Bhatti is also aware the potential positive benefits for his team if Canada can progress to the quarter-finals of the competition or even beat a Full Member country.

"The turnaround for Canada was the 2003 World Cup victory against Bangladesh as since then cricket has really taken off in Canada. If we do well next year it will do a world of good to the popularity of cricket in Canada," he said.

Canada faces Ireland in three ODI matches in early September as part of its preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup.