By Orville Hall
Former Sri Lanka all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya will lead a who’s who of International players as they descend on the Central Broward Regional Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to participate in Cricket Council USA’s Seventh Annual T20 US Open tournament which takes place from December 3 to 6.
The tournament has attracted several World-class players over the years, and this year is no exception, and with an unprecedented 32 teams looking to dethrone last year’s winner, US Tigers, the competition is shaping up to be an exciting weekend of cricket in the Sunshine State. Apart from Jayasuriya, other stars coming in for the weekend of cricket include: 25 year-old Pakistani all-rounder, Saad Nasim, who played 3- T20 matches and 3 One Day Internationals with a top-score of 77 not out, and medium-pacer Aizaz Cheema, who played 7 tests and 14 ODI’s. South Africa will be represented by 31 year-old all-rounder Roelof Van Der Merwe, who played 13 ODI’s and picked up 17 wickets along the way.
Two Afghanistan players will be coming in for the T20 tournament; 23 year old Noor Ul Haq Malikzai, who is a former Afghanistan U-19 captain, and 28 year old all-rounder Samiullah Shenwari, who played 55 ODI’s, getting 1334 runs with a topscore of 96, while picking up 43 wickets.
Former West Indies leg-spinner, Samuel Badree, who played 22 ODI’s and picked up 31 wickets will suit up for the T20, along with Canada’s 24 year old opening batsman, Ruvindu Gunasekera, who played 19 ODI’s and 8 T20 games. Gunasekera represented Sri Lanka A before immigrating to Toronto. Trinidad and Tobago will be represented by opening batsman, Shazam Babwah, who played 12 first-class matches with one century, opening batsman, Nicholas Sookdeosingh, who played 3 matches for Trinidad, Justin Guillen, who represented the West Indies a team, and Adrian Ali, who represented Trinidad and Tobago at both the Under 19 and Under 23 levels.
Along with these overseas players, will be a contingent of USA National players, including former USA captain, Steve Massiah and current USA captain, Mohammad Ghous, along with former Guyana Under-19 batsman and USA national player, Alex Amsterdam. The top prize in this year’s competition is $50,000 for the winner. The runner-up gets $10,000, Semi-Finalists will receive $6,000 each, the Quarter Finalists will take home $4,000 each, there will be 4 additional prizes worth $500 each for individual performances, and a $10,000 donation will be given to the US Cricket Academy’s Development Program to help support youth cricket.
Chairman and CEO of the T 20 US Open, Maq Qureshi, said “we are all very excited about the upcoming tournament. We have a fantastic group of individuals who has worked tirelessly to make this happen, and we are eagerly looking forward to hosting the 32 teams which will be here in Sunny Florida for this great tournament”.