By Colin Benjamin
TORONTO, Canada – Global T20 Canada presents the perfect stepping stone for Canada to regain its one-day international status and a ideal preparation for the 2020 T20 World Cup qualifiers, according to Canada’s Captain Nitish Kumar and wicket-keeper Hamza Tariq.
Among the 21 Canadian players participating in the competition, the duo along with spin bowler Nikhil Dutta are the trio who have experienced high level professional cricket overseas.
All three were drafted and played in the Caribbean Premier League in recent years, while Kumar had stints in English county and league cricket, playing for the Loughborough University team.
“It’s a great opportunity for cricketers in this country especially for the guys coming up. If you look at our cricket we didn’t qualify for the World Cup qualifiers and lost our one-day international status in 2014 – so for the younger generation this a potential turning point where if they do well, a career out of this sport beckons”, said Tariq of the Winnipeg Hawks.
“And because of this league it will be much easier for a Canadian player to make a name for themselves and potentially play in other leagues like myself, Nitish and Nikil have done.”
“I believe it is important to develop the league, as it’s a great platform for local players to play alongside some of the best players in the world”, said Captain Kumar of the Toronto Nationals.
“It allows them to play and learn with the best and be involved in high intensity games which they might not be a part of as frequently in the league structure.
From September 16th – 23rd, the ICC Americas regional qualifier for the World T20 2020 kicks off in the United States where Canada with face the hosts alongside Panama and Belize in their first step to try and be present at the global cricket event in 2020.
“As an associate nation funding has been a big problem for us, so with this tournament so close to the regional qualifiers, to have basically the top 20 Canadian players participating, its great practice and confidence builder playing alongside such big names”, said Tariq.
“I believe it is good in that a lot of the players will be able to train and play in a high intensity environment and learn a lot. Playing against such competition has no substitute so in that sense it is very crucial”, said Kumar
With eight days to go before tournament begins on June 28th, Tariq noted in the past month he has encouraged his fellow Canadian players to embrace and not be intimidated by the upcoming opportunity to share a dressing room with the elite players.
Kumar and Tariq and also encouraging fans to come out and support.
“I’ve told players just to enjoy the experience and try to soak up as much knowledge from the players. While for me individually I want to really leave and impact on the tournament, I believe I have played at level during my time in England against first class teams where I have scored 100s and 50s. So, I feel comfortable in the environment I will be put in”, said Kumar.
“This is something when we players get a chance to be on such teams it can be a bit intimidating, but that wouldn’t be the correct approach even though it’s natural”, explained Tariq.
“So I’ve encouraged all the guys to take it as an exciting opportunity and have self-belief that you have been selected and can perform at this stage.
“Its an exciting opportunity not just for us players but the entire Canada cricket fraternity to come out and support in numbers. They will get exposed to local and stars from all over the world and this has the potential to be the start of something special, so definitely want fans to be part of this journey with us.”
Manager, Media and Communications
Global T20 Canada
M: +1 416.450.7215