by Athul Domichen
Toronto/Mississauga: The first season of the Global T20 Canada cricket tournament was launched officially amidst much fervour and cheer in a grand event held at Celebration Square, Mississauga on Tuesday.
Organized by Mercuri Canada Ltd., the series is being held under the governance of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Cricket Canada, and Cricket West Indies. With 6 participating teams consisting of 96 international and domestic players, the tournament aims at reviving the game of cricket in Canada.
Cricket has a long history in Canada dating back to the 1800s and was declared the national sport of Canada by Sir John A Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of the nation.
It was in early 20th Century that hockey gained prominence and eventually replaced cricket as the national sport.
‘Cricket comes home,’ declares the tagline of the tournament and the organizers look forward to attracting Canadians back to the sport. “This is a game-changing event for Canada,” said Mr. Ranjit Saini, President of Cricket Canada, while speaking at the launch event. The contesting teams of Global T20 Canada are the Toronto Nationals, Montreal Tigers, Vancouver Knights, Edmonton Royals, Winnipeg Hawks, and the West Indies B team.
The player lineup features international cricketing giants such as Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Darren Sammy, Steve Smith, David Warner, Lasith Malinga, Tim Southee, Kieron Pollard, and Sohail Tanvir along with the best of Canadian cricketing talent. The tournament also sparks interest across the world by being the first outing for the former Australian Captain Steve Smith and Vice-captain David Warner since the ball tampering scandal and their eventual year-long ban by Cricket Australia in March.
“They made a mistake and have paid the price. Now it is the time for us to show forgiveness and help them move on,” said Darren Sammy, Captain of Toronto Nationals in a joint press conference with Chris Gayle, Captain of Vancouver Knights, held before the inaugural match between both the teams.
All matches are being held at Maple Leaf Cricket Club, King City, Toronto, from June 28 to July 15, 2018.