A historic tournament called the Global T20 Canada kicked off last year, making it the first professional T20 league to be played in North America. There were some big names in global cricket participating in the league, while it also marked the return to cricket of the likes of Steve Smith and David Warner, which helped increase viewership of the tournament as a whole.
Eventually, it was Vancouver Knights beating West Indies B team in the final of the GT20 Canada 2018 final and the success of the inaugural season meant we’re coming back for sure. This time, it’s going to be bigger and better, played between 25 July – 11 August 2019. This time, the Windies B team has been replaced by a new franchise called Brampton Wolves and Read Scoops caught up with a few players to know more about that team, which you can read here.
Toronto Nationals was another massive name in the league set-up and there were a lot of expectations from the franchise. However, they ended at the bottom of the 2018 points table even though they began the season with a victory. They will hope for a better outing when they return for GT20 Canada 2019 especially after signing on big names like Yuvraj Singh and Baz McCullum. We spoke to a few members of their squad to get some more insights into the preparations. Keep reading for more…
Calum MacLeod has played more than 10 years of international cricket for Scotland, growing and only getting better as a cricketer over time. In just 59 ODIs for the national side, MacLeod has notched up 8 hundreds and they’ve all been big innings, none bigger than 175 he smashed against Canada in an ICC World Cup Qualifier game in 2014. His recent form has also been threatening, hitting 100 against Afghanistan right before the ICC 2019 World Cup began. Having received the ICC 2018 Award for Associate Cricketer of the Year, you know that MacLeod is going to be one exciting player to watch out for this year at GT20 2019!
Talking about his recent experience in another big league and how these events help cricket as a whole, MacLeod, “Playing in the Afghanistan Premier League was an amazing experience to learn and play with some of the best T20 players in the game. The more tournaments world wide that we get Scottish players playing in, the more will the profile of cricket in Scotland grow. The exciting Euro T20 Slam will also play a massive part in raising the profile and standard of Scottish cricket.”
“I’m very excited to be playing in Canada. It’s a new country for me to travel to and experience some new cultures and conditions. Playing with and against some of these players is going to have a huge impact on the Canadian players and the future players. I’m hugely excited to be playing in the same team as McCullum and Yuvraj. Getting to see how these players go about their business in training and games, asking questions and generally trying to learn as much as I can will hopefully help to keep improving my game. I think going into tournaments like this it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself and trust that the game you have is good enough to cause problems against whoever we play.”
One bowler in the league you would like to hit for six?
“If (and it’s a big IF) Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer get to bowl, I would love to smash him for 6!”
You will know this smiling assassin mostly from the Big Bash League, where he has played his last 3 seasons for Sydney Thunder. In all, he has 31 wickets in 42 games in the Big Bash League which a career-best of 3/26. The off-spinning all-rounder’s talent has been noticed which led him to winning contracts with various T20 franchises like Guyana Amazon Warriors, Lahore Qalandars, and Multan Sultans in the top leagues across the world. He’s one of the few Aussie boys down in Canada for the GT20 2019 and we’re looking forward to his clever off-breaks this season… Here’s what Green had to say about the tournament and playing for Toronto Nationals:
Green further expounded on his idea of the team and mentioned a few players he’s eager to play alongside:
Indian-born UAE opening batsman Chirag Suri is one of the biggest talents to play for the country. Just 24 years of age at the moment, Suri has already achieved a lot including becoming the first UAE cricketer to be signed to the Indian Premier League (IPL) when his services were requested by the Gujarat Lions a couple of years back. Suri scored a fifty earlier this year against USA and also had an unbeaten century against Surrey prior to that so he’s coming into this tournament with some big scores under his belt. He usually opens the batting with Rohan Mustafa for UAE but here, we may very well see them against each other, with Mustafa playing for Brampton Wolves.
Talking about his selection to the league, Suri said, “Of course it’s a great feeling to be signed by Toronto Nationals playing among some of the best in the world; especially looking forward to being around Yuvraj Singh and learning from him. It’s like a dream to be on the same team as him, so I can’t wait.”
“Honestly, UAE Cricket and associate cricket in general is going to benefit a lot from such leagues, as it’s a great opportunity for everyone involved. Not too many opportunities as good as this come around for us, where we get to mix with the best at the higher level. IPL is a league of its own but I feel GT20 is an amazing platform for upcoming talented cricketers from all over the world. It’s similar players and huge pressure games, but the fact that more international players can be involved gives us associate cricketers a better chance to get game experience. Personally, I just want to go out there, score runs, hit sixes and win games for my team.”
Now residing in Canada, Jeremy Gordon is one of those many local players who will get a chance to be among the top names, learning everyday while at it. The pacer made his debut for Guyana in 2007 and picked 4 wickets in that FC game, but later shifted to Canada in search of better opportunities. He was also part of the winning squad in the GT20 Canada 2018, so he’s coming into this season with a whole lot more experience and confidence. He played just the single game last year and will be looking for more game time to show off his skills in this tournament!
“I played for Vancouver Knights last year, but I didn’t have a great showing in that season. Preparing for GT20 Canada 2019, I’ve hired a personal coach and I’ve done a lot of work pre-season to improve my bowling, control and other aspects of my game. My expectations are to just express myself, showcase my talent and of course, try to win games and possibly the tournament for my team.”
Talking about the legendary lot of players in the Nationals squad, Gordon said, “There are a lot of big names like Yuvraj Singh, Brendon McCullum, Trent Boult, and Kieron Pollard. I’m looking to play with and learn from all of these guys and in the process, become a better player. I will pick their brains for different things this season. Every wicket will be a prized wicket for me, and I’m looking forward to a good season overall.”
“A couple of years ago, I didn’t honestly think that having a league like this in Canada would be possible. The fact that it’s here now is much appreciated as it’s a way for us local players to showcase our talent and learn by rubbing shoulders and sharing the dressing room with some of the legends of world T20 cricket. It will help us to be better players, better individuals and will also inspire us to be more like them in terms of doing well and playing in more leagues around the world.”
Here’s another Guyanese cricketer who is now showcasing his talents in the Canadian circuit. Mark Rondell Montfort is an entrepreneur and wealth generator off the field, but he’ll prove to be pretty hot to handle with the ball when he steps onto the field in Brampton. Montfort is making his debut at the Global T20 Canada league and he’s pretty excited about it.
“I would like to thank the organizers Cricket Canada and everyone else involved in putting up such a prestigious tournament. It’s going to be great for helping young and aspiring cricketers in Canada. Also a big thank you to the owners of Toronto Nationals for selecting me in their squad. We’re a well balanced squad with a number of international stars and I’m excited to be around these stars and learn and gain experience from them. The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Brendon McCullum, Trent Boult have done it time and again on different forums and being around them is going to be a pleasure.”
“I’m waiting to go out there, play my game and compete against these biggest names like Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Andre Russell, Kane Williamson, JP Duminy and the list goes on. This is going to be a great experience for me personally as well as local Canadian cricketers. Again, I’d like to thank the organizers for giving me the opportunity to take my game to the next level.”
Here’s what he had to say:
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 Toronto Nationals the best of luck for the tournament which takes place between 25 July – 11 August 2019.
– Dwayne Fernandes, Read Scoops