Twenty20 extravaganza now comes to Canada

April 30th, 2008 - 10:12 am ICT by admin  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, April 30 (IANS) The Twenty20 cricket extravaganza comes to Canada this month with a bang. Fresh from sponsorship by Scotiabank, Cricket Canada Tuesday unveiled the nation’s first premier cricket tournament, to be known as the Scotiabank National T20 Cricket Championship. It will to be held at King City near Toronto May 17 and 18.

Eight teams from the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia will vie for the Scotiabank National Cricket Trophy.

Cricket Canada, which is the regulating body of cricket in Canada, said the eight teams will play 24 games over the two-day, entertainment filled extravaganza, including bhangra and band performances.

The championship will feature Canadian national players such as Umar Bhatti, Henry Osinde, Geoff Barnett, Sunil Dhaniram, and Sanjay Thuraisingam.

Cricket Canada CEO Atul Ahuja, who has vowed to make cricket the nation’s top sport, told IANS: “In the light of what is happening in the IPL in India at the moment, what we are undertaking in Canada is a major step to restore this sport to its former glory which it enjoyed till ice hockey replaced it.”

Ahuja, who attended the IPL opening in India recently, said the owners of league teams have promised to send their teams to Canada.

“All of them - Indian cricket board chief Sharad Pawar, Shah Rukh Khan, Vijay Mallaya, Rajiv Shukla and others promised to send Twenty20 teams to Canada in the summer to help us groom players. We have a huge talent from the South Asian and Caribbean communities in Canada,” he said.

Languishing at the lowest 15th rank, Canada has been listed as “a priority nation” by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for promotion of the sport in this North American country, which played the world’s first Test match against the US on Sept 25-27 in 1844 at St George’s Club in New York.

Established in 1892, Cricket Canada, formerly the Canadian Cricket Association, is also one of the oldest cricket regulatory bodies in the world.

Apart from Scotiabank, Canada’s largest bank - the Royal Bank of Canada - has also launched its Wicket Cricket Programme to promote the sport by distributing bats, balls, gloves, pads and DVDs to South Asian school students.

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