Lendl Simmons will represent Winnipeg Hawks. WICB Media Photo/Randy Brooks

By Ravi Madholall in Toronto
Six Franchise teams are ready to rumble from Thursday at the Maple Leaf cricket ground, King City in the inaugural Canada Global T20 and the 18-day tournament promised to be thrilling cognizant of the fact that a galaxy of star-studded T20 players will be on show exhibiting their skills.

Additionally, several cricketers have expressed deep confidence and optimism of creating a good impression in the preliminary round, then the elimination stage and ultimately at the final punch.

With a first prize of US$500, 000 up for grabs, reputable marquee players will be looking to lead from the front and ensure their side can be inspired to lift the title in North America.

The tournament is expected to generate lots of interest as well owing to the innovative version of the sunshine sports as Canada fans will physically see some of the most famed T20 athletes.

Players of the caliber like West Indians Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Keiron Pollard, Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga, Australians Steve Smith and David Warner, South African David Miller, Pakistani Shahid Afridi and New Zealander Tim Southee among others to display their gifted talents.

“I think this [is] a great opportunity for me and I feel really happy. I am really delighted and excited to see some new fans here,” the hard-hitting Pollard, who will be representing Toronto Nationals, stated.

Wayne Parnell

Wayne Parnell of South Africa will be part of the tournament. Photo by WICB Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks Latouche Photography

Players are expected to have already arrived in Toronto and outdoor practice sessions began as well at the match and other designated venues.

The competing teams are: Toronto Nationals, Vancouver Knights, Edmonton Royals, Montreal Tigers, Winnipeg Hawks and Cricket West Indies B team.

On Thursday just after the opening ceremony, Toronto Nationals will oppose Vancouver Knights at 16:00hrs while the following day at the same time, Montreal Tigers will do battle with Winnipeg Hawks. On Saturday, two matches are slated for the day with the first encounter between Toronto Nationals and Edmonton Royals commencing at 11:00hrs.

“It is a great pleasure to be part of this historic event and I’m elated to see a more vested interest in cricket in North America. I hope that I perform well and my team is victorious in the end.” Winnipeg Hawks’ batsman Lendl Simmons mentioned.

Left-arm quickie Wayne Parnell is also buzzing with excitement to be part of the action. Parnell is a South African cricketer.

“I’m super excited to be heading to the 6-team historic tournament. I’m looking forward to entertaining the fans of cricket in Canada.” Parnell revealed.

Notably, a large number of cricketers who are playing for Canada on the international scene will be attiring for different sides as well including pugnacious right-handed batsman and former skipper Rizwan Cheema (Winnipeg Hawks) while another aggressive left-hander Ruvindu Gunasekera, who is selected in the Vancouver Knights team is delighted to be part of Canada’s cricket history on this occasion.

“I feel honored to be part of the Vancouver Knights franchise in the inaugural season of the Global T20 Canada. After having a great season in Sri Lanka and being the Best Batsman in the domestic T20 in March, I’m hoping to transfer my form with the bat and ball into my performances in this tournament in Toronto. Looking forward to a great tournament!” Gunasekera, the 26-year-old cricketer, who appeared in 19 ODIs for Canada, declared.