A new cricket league is hoping to shine a new light on the sport and boost its popularity in Toronto.
The Global T20 Cricket league is a faster version of the game and is television friendly. The league will comprise of 22 matches culminating in playoffs and the championship match.
T20 or 20/20 is a format of the game that is condensed. It’s played in just 3 hours instead of days on end.
The league will have a total of 6 teams and will feature both local and international talent.
Marquee players that you may not know, but that are synonymous with the game across the globe, will be drafted to play for five different teams representing Canadian cities.
Those star cricket players include Chris Gayle, Steven Smith, Shahid Afridi, Lasith Malinga and Sunil Narine.
The teams in the league will be the Toronto Nationals, the Vancouver Knights, Montreal Tigers, Edmonton Royals and the Winnipeg Hawks
There will also be a sixth team, the Cricket West Indies B Team, consisting entirely of players from the Caribbean.
“Global T20 Canada marks the first time a nation with associate member status is launching a league – a major step forward in cricket’s global development,” says Ranjit Saini, President, Cricket Canada. “Canadian cricket fans will have a great opportunity to see up close many of the world’s greatest players, and I’d like to thank International Cricket Council, CWI and the international cricket community for their guidance and support in growing cricket in Canada.”
The last time Canada made it to the Cricket World Cup was in 2011.
For players on the current national team, they are looking forward to this opportunity to learn from the best and showcase their talent.
“To get some of the best to come over to Toronto and play cricket and rub shoulders with a few Canadian players is good for us,” says Nitish Kumar, Captain of the Canadian National Cricket Team. “I think it will be good for the development of the players on the Canadian team and in the short term we have a T20 qualifier, so leading up to that, this tournament will be great.”
It’s not just the national team relishing the chance to play in this league – over 1,500 players from Canada and around the world had registered for selection.
The draft will be completed this week and organizers are ready to fill up to 7,000 seats for the matches the Maple Leaf Cricket Grounds in King City where all the games, including the finals will be played.
The tournament runs from June 28 to July 15