Written by Veronica Noronha
Mihir Patel is a name to bookmark under “rising stars” on the Canadian Cricket scene and yes, there is a Canadian Cricket scene that we all need to know more about.
Patel has been representing Canada on home turf and overseas for two years now and has big plans to one day play professionally. We met Patel in December 2019 as he was getting ready for his next big international tournament – the U19 World Cup, taking place in South Africa, January 2020. Specifically selected for the U19 Team Canada to face some of the world-finest Cricket players in the same age category, we asked him how it feels to represent his country. He says, “it is an honour to be selected to play on Team Canada.” According to Patel, “for provincial teams, we have to try-out and if we make it, that’s great but to be selected for Team Canada, is very special.” He goes on to say, “it was a dream come true and I am grateful to my parents, coaches and everyone who helped me through this amazing opportunity.” While he feels ready and is excited about the tournament, his biggest worry is not having enough practice time on a regulation field. Patel trains for up to 20 hours per week and during the winter months the time is spent on indoor Cricket lanes at Actionzone in Scarborough, ON. While this method helps him improve his overall conditioning, he firmly believes that there is nothing better than training on a regulation field to mirror the live tournament environment.
In the summer of 2019, Patel and his teammates won their way to the U19 World Cup by defeating Team USA in the final round robin match at the Americas Qualification Tournament, held in Toronto. This is a remarkable accomplishment given that the other competing teams were from Argentina, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands and their athletes have year-round access to outdoor regulation Cricket fields, for training purposes, when many of our Canadian athletes do not.
The lack of regulation fields in the City of Markham is why Patel and his coach, former Team Canada Cricket champion, Sanjay Thuraisingam, are advocating to grow the sport across Canada, starting at the local level. Aligned with Cricket Canada’s mission, they are committed to increasing awareness in order to attract more funding for athlete development, including a regulation Cricket field in Markham, certified by the ICC (International Cricket Council), for training and tournaments. They are also continuing to look at how other cities across the GTA, such as Brampton and Mississauga, have been successful in building and maintaining certified Cricket fields. Their hope is to literally level the playing fields for City of Markham athletes.
Whether it is on the cricket field or not, Patel’s future is bright. He is finishing his final year of high-school before deciding whether to take a gap year and tryout for Cricket clubs overseas to improve his game or to go directly into post-secondary education. For the long term, Patel hopes to continue to represent our country as a Cricket athlete. He says, “I hope to serve it well and make it proud.” From where we sit, so far so good, Mihir. Keep it up.