Test Cricket is played in England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. There is one glaring omission. Canada is the largest country (by area) in the Commonwealth, but has never played Test Cricket.
It is rumoured that after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in September 1759, which led to the securing of Canada for the Empire, the victorious English played an impromptu game of cricket against their French opponents. In 1844 the first ever cricket international was played, between Canada and the United States, a full 30 years before the first Ashes contest.
An English team under George Parr toured Canada in 1859 and a second tour took place in 1872, under the leadership of WG Grace. Grace predicted that cricket would thrive in Canada and at about this time Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. McDonald, declared cricket to be the country's national sport. So what went wrong?
Immigration from Eastern Europe increased in the early 20th century, which would have done little to encourage the growth of cricket in Canada. The Internationals against the US were abandoned after 1912 and although England and Australia continued to tour, cricket in Canada was clearly in decline. However, the second half of the century saw a resurgence in Canadian Cricket; the Internationals against the US were re-established in 1963 and Cricket Associations were set up in Nova Scotia in 1976 and New Brunswick in 1980. Canada have competed in two World Cups in 1979 and 2003 and they will be there again in 2007.
Canada are a force to be reckoned with in the second tier of international cricket, but their victory against Bangladesh in the 2003 World Cup is their only victory against a Test playing nation in a meaningful contest. Unfortunately this was followed by a narrow defeat to Kenya and a 9 wicket humiliation against Sri Lanka where Canada’s lamentable 36 all out, along with one-sided defeats against New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies, proved that the Canadian team were not yet ready for Test status. Team Canada can revise this view at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.