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Global T20 Canada Has Ambitions to be ‘Bigger & Better’ in Second Year

Devadyuti Das | Updated: April 22, 2019, 12:50 PM IST
Global T20 Canada Has Ambitions to be ‘Bigger & Better’ in Second Year

Andre Russell poses with the trophy. (GT20 League)

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A T20 tournament that features the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Steve Smith, David Warner, Sunil Narine and Shahid Afridi is an enticing prospect anywhere in the world. And if players of that stature were to turn up in a region where an enthusiastic fan base, thirsting to see such stars in the flesh exists, then it is bound to have success.

The Global T20 Canada last year accomplished exactly that. A tournament conceptualised and eventually hosted in less than a months’ time did manage to draw some of the best of T20 players from all over the globe.

The inaugural edition was hosted at a small ground belonging to Maple Leaf CC in King City in Toronto. Ideally, organisers would have liked to host the event at the more centrally located Toronto Cricket Skating & Curling Club (TCSCC), the venue of the famous Sahara Cups between India and Pakistan in late 1990s. However, Cricket Canada’s poor relationship with TCSCC meant the league had to move to a ground with capacity of only 7,000.

Andre Russell-GT20

In spite of these hurdles, the event was embraced enthusiastically and now the second edition is all set to take place in July this year, after the culmination of the World Cup.

Last year, in the final between Vancouver Knights and West Indies ‘B’, it was the home team which lifted the trophy with a seven-wicket win. In spite of the final featuring top international stars like Gayle, Russell, Tim Southee, Sheldon Cotterell, Nicholas Pooran and Fawad Ahmed, a Canadian all-rounder — Saad Bin Zafar — emerged as the man-of-the-match for the final, scoring a 48-ball 79 and picking up 2/26 with the ball.

“The aim of starting this league was to tap into the Asian market in Canada, who are crazy about the game of cricket. The focus was on the development of the Canadian boys although it was not mandatory to have a minimum number of Canadian players. The focus was on ‘Global’ and not ‘Canada’, although it’s great that Canada national team captain Nitish Kumar and Bin Zafar got to play in every game of the tournament, which shows the talent they possess,” Gurmeet Singh, President of Bombay Sports Pvt Ltd and owner of Global T20 Canada, told CricketNext.

West Indies and former Mumbai Indians opener Lendl Simmons was the leading run-scorer last season with 321 runs in eight games while Rassie van der Dussen was the second highest run-scorer with 255 runs. Dussen has since broken into the South African ODI team. Sherfane Rutherford, who scored 230 runs for West Indies ‘B’ has gone on to earn an IPL contract with the Delhi Capitals this season. West Indies speedster Sheldon Cottrell was the leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps while Australian leggie Fawad Ahmed and Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga had 14 and 13 wickets respectively.

After the success of last year, the owners want the tournament to be bigger in the new season, shifting to a more central location with the help of the Canadian government.

“The revenue model of the league is very similar to other T20 leagues around the world. Major revenue is from the central pool which includes sponsorship rights and general value of the league which is increasing every season. We have a central pool revenue in the range of $900,000 to $950,000 currently,” Singh said.

Pollard-GT20

The owners of Global T20 league have now set their sights beyond North America with the launch of Euro T20 Slam featuring six city-based franchises from Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands. The tournament between August 30 to September 22 will feature 33 games in total.

“Entering Netherlands and Scotland helps us promote the game of cricket quicker. Ireland is already a Test nation now but it’s good to have franchise cricket there for the first time. We have already signed on five or six international players who are also part of the Global T20 Canada. We are talking to a lot of cricketers from English County cricket to form the pool of players. We should have a final list of players soon,” Singh informed.
First Published: April 22, 2019, 12:23 PM IST
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