TORONTO, Canada – Toronto Nationals selected off spinner Nikhil Dutta in the first Global T20 Canada Players Draft conducted Sunday, marking a landmark moment for the sport of cricket in Canada.
Dutta, a member of Canada’s men’s national team, was selected in the seventh round for a $25,000 salary, confirming the 23-year old’s reputation as Canada’s top player. He leads a group of 21 Canadian players drafted by the league’s five Canadian franchise teams – Toronto Nationals, Vancouver Knights, Edmonton Royals, Montreal Tigers and Winnipeg Hawks.
The 21 Canadians, along with 11 other players from Associate Member nations, give Associate Member nations one-third of the total player pool (32 of 96), a higher proportion than the world’s other top professional Twenty20 leagues. United States, United Arab Emirates, Nepal, Bermuda and Hong Kong account for the 11 players, with notable selections including Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal, 6th round), Babar Hayat (UAE, 7th round) and Ali Khan (USA, 9th round).
The proportion signifies Global T20 Canada’s focus on cricket development as players from Associate Member nations will have an opportunity to play at the highest level alongside the sport’s top stars and minds. Each team was required to have four Canadians on its roster and select two players from Associate Member nations.
Dutta, who was born in Kuwait, has a solid international Twenty20 resume with stints in Pakistan Premier League for Barisal Bulls and St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in Caribbean Premier League. He joins West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy, a two-time ICC World T20 champion, who will helm the Toronto Nationals.
Sammy, along with international stars Chris Gayle (Vancouver Knights/West Indies), Lasith Malinga (Montreal Tigers/Sri Lanka), Shahid Afridi (Edmonton Royals/Pakistan) and Dwayne Bravo (Winnipeg Hawks/West Indies) will lead the five franchises. Tournament organizer Mercuri Canada Ltd. also invited international marquee players David Miller (Winnipeg Hawks/South Africa), Chris Lynn (Edmonton Royals/Australia), Sunil Narine (Montreal Tigers/West Indies) and Andre Russell (Vancouver Knights/West Indies). Australian Steve Smith, making his return to pro cricket will play for Toronto.
Overall, 80 players were chosen over 16 rounds by the five Canadian franchise teams. They hail from 19 different countries and were selected from a pool of over 1,500 cricketers that registered from 40-plus countries around the world.
Five of cricket’s luminaries – Phil Simmons (Toronto Nationals), Donovan Miller (Vancouver Knights), Mohammad Akram (Edmonton Royals), Tom Moody (Montreal Tigers) and Waqar Younis (Winnipeg Hawks), will coach the teams. Each team selected 16 players with four roster spots designated for Canadians, keeping with Global T20 Canada’s mandate to advance the development of cricket in Canada.
Final team listings:
Darren Sammy [marquee player], Steven Smith [marquee player], Kieron Pollard, Kamran Akmal, Hussain Talat, Ruman Rias, Nikhil Dutta, Johnson Charles, Kesrick Williams, Naveed Ahmed, Nazakat Khan, Farhan Malik, Nitesh Kumar, Usama Mir, Rohan Mustafa, Muhammad Umair Ghani
Dwayne Bravo [marquee player], David Miller [marquee player], David Warner, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Rayad Emrit, Ben McDermott, Ali Khan, Hamza Tariq, Junaid Siddique, Tion Webster, Rizwan Cheema, Hiral Patel, Mark Deyal, Kyle Phillip
Lasith Malinga [marquee player], Sunil Narine [marquee player], Thisara Perera, Mohammad Hafeez, Denesh Ramdin, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sikandar Raza, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, George Worker, Najibullah Zadran, Cecil Pervez, Mohammad Ibrahim Khaleel, Dilon Heyliger, Nicholas Kirton, Rayyankhan Pathan
Chris Gayle [marquee player], Andre Russell [marquee player], Evin Lewis, Tim Southee, Chadwick Walton, Fawad Ahmed, Babar Hayat, Sheldon Cottrell, Saad Bin Zafar, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Srimantha Wijeratne, Kamau Leverock, Steven Jacobs, Hiral Patel, Rassie Van Der Dussen, Jeremy Gordon
Shahid Afridi [marquee player], Chris Lynn [marquee player], Luke Ronchi, Mohammed Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Christiaan Jonker, Wayne Parnell, Asif Ali, Hasan Khan, Agha Salman, Shaiman Anwar, Anmar Khalid, Satsimranjit Dhindsa, Ahmed Raza, Simon Pervez, Abraash Khan
The tournament’s sixth squad – Cricket West Indies Representative Team – will exclusively consist of Caribbean players selected by Cricket West Indies, the region’s governing body of cricket.
Global T20 Canada (www.GT20.ca), the first pro Twenty20 cricket league in North America, will stage its inaugural edition from June 28 to July 15, 2018.