Last year, a historic cricket tournament was launched called the Global T20 Canada, which became the first professional cricket league to be hosted in North America. The purpose was to promote cricket in the region and it was very well served, as a very successful season ended with Vancouver Knights emerging as champions. After the season, Read Scoops spoke to members of the winning team including Srimantha Wijeyeratne and the Man of the Match of the final, Saad bin Zafar.
Some big talents emerged from the GT20 Canada 2018 tournament, including Rassie van der Dussen who performed consistently and is today an important part of the South Africa national side. The West Indies B team was one of 6 participants in the league and Fabian Allen was one of the star performers there, today also a part of the Windies senior team.
If you remember right, we spoke to some of the cricketers participating in GT20 Canada 2018 and asked them their views on the league. This year, BRAMPTON WOLVES will replace the Windies B Team in the GT20 Canada competition and we decided to catch up with a few players from this new franchise to understand the set up of the team. We also got some insights as to what we can expect from this team in its debut season. Keep reading for all of these exclusive chats…
What do we say about Lendl Simmons? Probably the most under-rated cricketer I know. A run-machine. West Indies, Brisbane Heat, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, Karachi Kings, Mumbai Indians, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, St Lucia Stars, Trinidad & Tobago, Winnipeg Hawks. Name them and he’s performed for all these franchises in different leagues across the world. He seemed to love the pitches in Canada too, ended as the top run scorer in the GT20 Canada 2018. Surely, he’s going to be among the top names in 2019 as well…
“It was a nice experience playing in Canada last year, now there is a new venue and I’m on a new team. Last season, I won MVP and scored the most runs (321 runs in 8 innings), so there will be high expectations of me. This year, I’m happy to be a part of Brampton Wolves. We have pretty good international players with Daren Sammy, Shakib al Hasan, Colin Munro, Andre Fletcher, Wahab Riaz and of course, Shahid Afridi,” Simmons said to Read Scoops about the upcoming season in Brampton, Canada.
This southpaw is a middle-order batsman who has struck some fantastic form in recent months. The Scottish international recently smashed an unreal 25-ball ton for Gloucestershire 2nd XI in April this year, which included a blast of 6 sixes in an over! He followed it with a fifty against Sri Lanka and a couple of fifties in 4 games against Ireland A last month. Striking at 150+ in T20 internationals and 160+ in all T20s, it doesn’t take a genius to tell you what brand of cricket this bloke likes to play. I’m waiting to watch him in action and am very eager to see him go ‘crash, boom, bang’ in Canada.
“Brampton Wolves is an exciting franchise with some exceptional players that should showcase an aggressive brand of cricket. The Wolves have recruited well and will look to make a big statement in this years GT20. I’m really looking forward to coming to Canada for this T20 competition. It’s a great opportunity to showcase my skills against the very best in the world. Looking across the teams, it’s going to be a very difficult tournament to win with all the superstar names across all teams. T20 cricket is a great way to engage the public. It’s all ‘go from ball one’ and an exciting brand of cricket. It is very important to continually grow the game in different countries to keep cricket alive and healthy, and T20 is a great way of doing this.”
One player you are looking forward to playing with?
“Obviously Daren Sammy is a legend and a great bloke so it will be great to be on his team this time. Colin (Munro) I met down at Hampshire and played a few games with him there and loved the way he went about his business. With the likes of Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz and Shakib al Hasan, it’s tough to choose just one. But being a left handed batter that tries to hit a few bombs, I cant wait to go at bowlers with Munro and have some fun.”
The off-spinning all-rounder is among the best in the world, having a number of records to his name. This includes becoming only the third cricketer in the world to score a century and bag a 5-for in the same ODI, after greats of the game like Viv Richards and Paul Collingwood. The former UAE captain has been a part of a number of leagues around the world and we even had an in-depth conversation with him last year that you can read here. He’ll be looking to bring all his experience into play and stamp his authority here in his debut season at the Global T20 Canada…
“Of course, we (UAE cricketers) are excited to go and play in the GT20 Canada. It’s always a great opportunity when associate players are selected in any professional league as we don’t get too many chances through the year. To be honest, It’s of no use if we’re elected but don’t get the chance to play. In the T10 league too, we got 5-10 balls to play each time and there wasn’t any scope of proving ourselves. The Canada league has made a rule to ensure a certain number of associate players play in each game, so that might solve this issue, with associate players getting to play with major cricketing heroes with Shakib al Hasan, Colin Munro, Wahab Riaz and others.”
“You saw how well Shakib played in the recent ICC 2019 World Cup so I’m eagerly waiting to play alongside him, as he’s the number 1 all-rounder in the world and I’m also within the top 20 on this list. I can get a lot of ideas from him with respect to batting and bowling both, especially since he’s performing in both departments these days. Another player I’m eager to play with is Colin Munro who didn’t have a great World Cup, but he’s among the best hitters in the world. If Brampton Wolves sends me as an opener with Munro, it’ll be brilliant for me, but that’s just a thought for now. Let’s see how the league goes!”
With 25 ODIs and 38 T20Is under his belt, this man from the Caribbean is among the hardest hitters of the leather ball and once he gets going, there’s no stopping him at all. He has impressed across the world including in the CPL, BPL, PSL and the recent T10 league in UAE. The wicket-keeper batsman will be a handy choice at the top and we’re expecting him to come out to open the innings with Colin Munro for the Wolves.
“This is my second year at the Global T20 league. The atmosphere last year was perfect, and I’m hoping this year could be even bigger. 2018 wasn’t bad for a start and the team owners and sponsors are doing their bit to make 2019 better. We’re hoping for a good tournament and for the league to take off in coming years. I’m very excited to be a part of this new Brampton Wolves franchise. We will be well led by Daren Sammy who has two World T20 titles under his belt. We have good quality players and a balanced squad, and it all boils down to how well we execute on the field. But I’m very confident and believe that this team can showcase something good for the fans and make it to the top in 2019.”
“I’ve always had a very good relationship with Daren Sammy and I’m always happy to play under an excellent leader like him. Lendl Simmons is also in the squad and I’ve played with these guys before. But I’m a fun-loving person and I think I’ll get along with everyone in the Brampton camp. Personally, I’d like to get a few important runs under my belt and help the team win some games. Hope to get a couple of good days and smash plenty of big sixes, regardless of who comes up to bowl. Windies has a few tours coming up after the GT20 and the CPL, so I’m looking forward to scoring as many runs as possible and hopefully getting a chance to representing the national team once again.”
Only 18 years at the time of this competition, Faisal Jamkhandi turned out to be the joint highest wicket-taker at the 2018 U-19 World Cup, along with India’s Anukul Roy and Afghanistan’s Qais Ahmad, with 14 wickets in just 6 games for Canada U-19s. This included a brilliant spell of bowling that landed him a 5-for against Bangladesh U-19s. Roy already landed himself an IPL contract while Ahmad also scored it big, with BBL, PSL and CPL contracts. How long before we see the rise of this young boy, Jamkhandi?
“It feels amazing to be part of a league like this. Growing up in Canada, the conversation has always been about where you would go to make a career in cricket. There’s no doubt that there’s tons of talent in Canada, we just never really had such a large platform to showcase our skills. I think it’ll help cricket in Canada overall just by giving cricketers in Canada a goal to work towards. Obviously playing for the country is something everyone strives to do but there generally isn’t that much money in it and it can be hard to justify pursuing it as a career. It’ll also give players like myself a chance to be around the best in the world and test our skills against them, which is just an incredible experience.”
Talking about the new franchise and who he is looking forward to playing with, Jamkhandi added, “I think it’s pretty exciting that they decided to add the Brampton franchise, considering the tournament is going to be in Brampton this year I think we’ll probably have a good audience too. The person I’m looking forward to sharing the dressing room with the most would be Wahab Riaz. I’ve never met him before but we’ve all seen him bowl real pace so I’d love to just see how he gets along with his training and maybe pick his brain a bit when I can.”
Born in Peshawar, Pakistan, Abraash Khan grew up in Mississauga, Canada and after trying out all sports like basketball, soccer and tennis, he decided to stick with cricket. Barely a teenager at the time, Khan played in the 2014 U-19 World Cup and later went on to captain the team himself in the 2016 World Cup. Doing a little bit of batting and bowling, Abraash is the perfect replica of his idol, former Pakistan captain, Imran Khan. He shone on debut for the senior team and even picked up the MOM award in that game! Abraash was a part of the Edmonton Royals in GT20 2018 and we can’t wait to see what he brings to the tournament in 2019…
“It feels great that cricket in Canada is starting to make strides and is starting to attract the best players in the world. Without a doubt it will help us Canadians improve our cricketing standards. We will he rubbing shoulders and competing against the best in the world. It’s also a good goal to look towards for youngsters coming up the ranks…It gives them something to strive towards.” We also asked about one opponent bowler he’d like to go after and Abraash said, “I would love to hit Sunil Narine for 6. His class, especially at the T20 level is immense so the challenge is a big one, but I would be really happy with the effort if I manage to get one over the ropes against him.”
Comments on the new Brampton Wolves franchise:
“I had a great experience with the Edmonton Royals and I’m looking forward to my time with the Wolves this year. Audiences can expect tons of sixes and wicket celebrations because this team is filled with the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to international cricketers.”
Born in Faisalabad, Pakistan, Zahoor Khan has been an integral part of the UAE bowling attack ever since he made his international debut in 2017. If you check out his last 10 international games, you will be mighty impressed to see that Zahoor hasn’t gone wicketless in a single game including a total tally of 18 wickets and a best of 4/29 against Oman. What that means is that he is coming into this major tournament with plenty of wickets under his belt, to go with bucket-loads of confidence as well.
“I’m extremely excited for this tournament. It’s every player’s dream to play among the superstars of world cricket and according to me, the Global T20 Canada is among the top T20 leagues in the world. There’s IPL, BBL, PSL and then is the GT20 Canada. Every team has around 7-8 star players and all of us associate players and youngsters especially will have a lot to learn from them. Apart from learning, your confidence soars when you play with such players. Your mindset also changes when you’re around them. I’ve played the T10 league too, but I believe there’s lot more of learning that can come out of the GT20 league. It’s a brilliant initiative for Canada Cricket, and will help in the growth of their players too.”
Talking about one player he is extremely eager to play alongside, Zahoor said, “I’ve been watching Shahid Afridi play cricket since I was a kid. Thanks to Allah, I’m selected in the same team as Shahid bhai. I’ve played against him before in the T10 league but it’s always been my dream to play on the same team as him, as he’s a legend of the game. Insha’Allah I’ll be able to play alongside him this year in the 2019 GT20 Canada.”
A Canadian prodigy, this guy. Nicknamed ‘Tendulkar’ by his peers, Kumar made his debut for Canada at the tender young age of 15 years, a time when most people don’t yet know how to fold their own bedsheets. He has progressed well over the years and even represented St Lucia Zouks in the CPL last year. Now 25 years old, Kumar is in some rich form at the moment, having scored a couple of fifties in the ICC WCL Division Two in April this year. He played the Global T20 in 2018 for Toronto Nationals, scoring 102 runs in 6 games and we’re expecting a much better outing for this youngster in 2019.
Talking about the league and its importance for Canada Cricket, Kumar said, “It’s always nice to play with the top cricketers of the world. Good competition at the T20 level has really taken over and the more T20 you can play with such players, the better for any country. Similarly for Canada Cricket too. We get a huge opportunity to test our skills out against the best players, so I’m really looking forward to it. Season 2 of GT20 Canada has a better location which should see more people getting out to the games. For us batsmen, last year was pretty tough to get going and fire like you should in T20 cricket, but I’m hoping the wickets are more conducive for batsmen this year.”
Kumar also commented on his personal preparations for GT20 Canada 2019, saying, “Preparation is the most important for me going into any series. It’s a little tough because we’re mid-season playing 50-over cricket at the moment but it’s more about getting into the nets, hitting balls and changing my mindset to adapt to T20 cricket. Fitness levels are good too. It won’t be too different to last year but I’m hitting it out in the nets every week and with slightly more conducive wickets, I can hopefully achieve more consistency this year.”
“I’ve played with Daren Sammy in the CPL and I’m looking forward to playing with him again, but mostly looking to learn from Shakib al Hasan who just had an amazing 2019 World Cup in England. It’s going to be good playing with him and just watching the way he goes about his business. If I have to choose one bowler I’d like to hit for six in this tournament, it would be Trent Boult. I like his bowling and he has been awesome in the World Cup as well, so it’ll be great if I could hit him for one six!”
On behalf of the entire team at Read Scoops, I’d like to thank each and every one of the above cricketers who took the time out to have these exclusive chats with us in the build up to the 2019 Global T20 Canada. There’s going to be some electrifying cricket on display and we wish the Brampton Wolves the best of luck for the tournament which takes place between 25 July – 11 August 2019.
– Dwayne Fernandes, Read Scoops