On your marks. Get set. GO.
The stage is set for the launch of the first ever professional T20 cricket league to be hosted in North America. Trust me, everybody is excited. The international players are getting set to entertain the crowds, most of whom will be new to the sport of cricket, while the huge majority of associate member players in the league will be wanting to use this as a platform to get noticed by the rest of the world following this historic tournament.
The 6 participating teams:
- Toronto Nationals
- Montreal Tigers
- Edmonton Royals
- Vancouver Knights
- Winnipeg Hawks
- Cricket West Indies B Team
The organizers decided that one third of the participation of the league needs to be from ICC associate member nations, which meant that 32 of the 96 players hail from these countries who don’t get much exposure to the sport (21 Canadian + 11 other associate players). In addition to this, the West Indies Cricket Board has sent its B team to play with the 5 Canadian franchise teams and this league does its part to elevate the prospects of the lesser known cricketers playing on the global stage.
The idea of the Global T20 Canada seems to be a very fascinating one and Read Scoops caught up with some of the cricketers playing in the league, to get their views on the same. We asked each one what it feels like to be a part of this historic T20 league and what they’re looking forward to the most from it:
“I think this is a great opportunity for me and I feel really happy. I am really delighted and excited to see some new fans there. ️”
2) Lendl Simmons – Simmons is another globetrotting T20 specialist, with experience of playing for several franchises all over the world. Nephew of the former West Indies all-rounder Phil, Lendl is an attacking opening batsman that has always adjusted well to different pitches; he is a great addition to any franchise.
“It is a great pleasure to be part of this historic event and I’m elated to see a more vested interest in cricket in North America. I hope that I perform well and my team is victorious in the end.”
3) Wayne Parnell – He first burst onto the scene way back in 2008 when he led South Africa to the U-19 World Cup final in 2008, against Virat Kohli’s Indian team. He later became the youngest player to be handed a national contract for South Africa, but 10 years later, he hasn’t played as much of cricket for his country as we would’ve expected. Watch out for this aggressive and talented all-rounder in Canada.
“I’m super excited to be heading to the 6 and being part of this historic tournament. I’m looking forward to entertaining the fans of cricket in Canada.”
4) Fabian Allen – This Jamaican cricketer is one heck of an entertainer! He scored his maiden first-class century, making 169* for Jamaica and he grabbed the attention of people around the world at the Caribbean Premier League last year! The 23-year old will be in action with bat, ball and in the field as well, playing for the West Indies B Team. When I say he’s good in the field, I mean it. Take a look:
“It’s a great feeling to be a part of the global T20 in Canada, up against some great players like Steven Smith, Chris Gayle, and many more. My plan is to express myself so people can see who Fabian Allen is. It’s always a great feeling to play at high levels, where I can learn from the best to improve my skills. I’m looking forward to making my family and my fans proud.”
5) Kesrick Williams – Here’s another West Indian player, as these guys loooveeee the T20 format. Williams is a fun loving guy, who is almost certainly going to break out into a new celebration when he picks up wickets in Canada. New to the international scene, this deceiving medium-pace bowler is one to watch out for in the months to come. He finished as the third best bowler (17 wickets) in CPL 2016 and the fourth best (15 wickets) in CPL 2017.
“It’s always a great feeling to be a part of any cricket league in the world. The Global T20 Canada is good for Canada and it will hopefully inject life into the sport of cricket in this country. It’s a plus for Canadian cricketers, playing alongside professional cricketers like Smith and Warner. They will all be looking to impress as it could lead to getting contracts in bigger leagues like the CPL, BPL, IPL and the Big Bash.”
“For me, it’s a great feeling to be a part of the league. I’m just looking to going out there and performing for my franchise. I’ve never played in Canada; don’t know much about conditions there or ground sizes, but I’m excited to play there and do well for my team.”
6) Ahmed Raza – Towering over all his opponents, Ahmed Raza bats right handed in the middle order and bowls slow left-handed. He’s another all-rounder to watch out for in the upcoming Global T20 Canada. Having even captained UAE in the past, Raza was an important part of the squad that played in the recent ICC World Cup qualifiers. He’s excited to be a part of the GT20 Canada, and we’re certainly excited to watch him perform there!
“It feels great to be a part of the inaugural Canadian T20 league… I’m sure it’s going to be a very well organised event which will be a good experience for all players involved. It’s going to do wonders for Canadian cricket. Look at the countries who have their own leagues – they benefit the current squad as well as the youngsters who will be rubbing shoulders with the modern greats.”
“From a personal perspective, I’m looking forward to doing well for my franchise Edmonton Royals and playing with some seriously good cricketers. There is so much to learn in such leagues and I’m sure I’ll come out as an improved player. Personally, it opens doors for any player involved in such high profile leagues to showcase their talent. I thank Edmonton Royals for bidding and allowing me to be a part of this historic league. I’m sure it’s the first of many to come.”
7) Nikhil Dutta – He’s originally from India, born in Kuwait, but plays international cricket for Canada. Dutta made his ODI debut for Canada at the tender age of just 18 and won a Caribbean Premier League contract at the age of just 20. He’s another player who can be handy with bat and ball both. He got picked for the Toronto Nationals for a $25,000 salary and we’re all excited to see this mystery spinner in action. Take a look at him knocking down the great Kevin Pietersen:
“I am very proud to have such a great tournament happening in Canada. This tournament will help grow cricket in Canada further and make us players improve by playing alongside the great cricketers that are coming here.”
8) Ruvindu Gunasekara – Another Canadian cricketer. Another cricketer who will be mighty delighted with this Canadian T20 league. Another man who will be looking to impress and get a contract to bigger leagues. This Sri Lankan batsman debuted for Canada at the age of just 16 and also played the 2011 World Cup for Canada, which was partly in Sri Lanka. Haha. Now, he plays his cricket in Sri Lanka and aims to represent his country of birth one day.
“I feel honoured to be part of the Vancouver Knights franchise in the inaugural season of the Global T20 Canada. After having a great season in Sri Lanka and being the Best Batsman in the domestic T20 in March, I’m hoping to transfer my form with the bat and ball into my performances in this tournament in Toronto. Looking forward to a great tournament!”
9) Rohan Mustafa – Mustafa is the captain of the United Arab Emirates cricket team and is probably their most talented player as well. He bats left handed, bowls right arm off-spin and has been playing for UAE right from the U-19 stage, after having migrated there from Pakistan as a child. He holds the unique record of becoming only the third person to score an century and take a 5-wicket haul in the same match, when he did so against Papua New Guinea last year.
“I think, for us associate nation cricketers, playing alongside the best cricketers of the world brings a great opportunity – to learn from them. To be honest, it’s a big step for the Canada cricket team too, as they will have a lot to learn from there.”
10) Nitish Kumar – This boy is widely known as the second youngest cricketer ever to make an international debut, when he played against Afghanistan in February 2010, at the unbelievable age of just 15. When he represented Canada in the ICC 2011 World Cup, he also became the youngest ever to play in the cricket World Cup. He represents the St Lucia Zouks in the CPL and will be looking to use the GT20 Canada as a stepping stone to bigger worldwide leagues.
“I am very honoured to be drafted by the Toronto Nationals in the inaugural Global T20. It’s an exciting opportunity to grow the game within Canada and increase the following of cricket. For the players, it will be great to test our skills with the best in the world and learn a lot. I believe I can offer a lot to the franchise and showcase my talent. I am really looking forward to the opportunity.”
Read Scoops will be covering the inaugural Global T20 Canada and you can keep watching this space for major updates on the tournament taking place at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club in Ontario, Canada. Quick run-through of the squads: