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Canada’s Global T20 league returns with prize catch in Pakistan’s Afridi



Canada’s Global T20 league returns with prize catch in Pakistan’s Afridi

He is one of the world’s best fast bowlers.

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The recent World Twenty20 Cup final took parts of the United States by storm and the governing body of the game was thrilled with the response. Although the game is unlikely to leave an indelible mark in the most lucrative sporting market in the world it has made a small dent. And the game is here to stay.

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One of the reasons for the optimism is that there are an estimated 30 million fans in the country, largely from expatriate communities and, of course, there is a healthy fan base in Canada as well. Thousands of Canadians crossed the border to cheer their favourite teams in the World Cup and also made the trek to the Caribbean for the latter part of the competition.

Now that the World Cup is done and dusted local fans in Canada and the U.S. are gearing up for another international treat in the next few weeks. The Global T20 League returns for its fourth season at Brampton’s CAA Stadium from July 25 to Aug. 11 while the six-team Major League Cricket with a sprinkling of some of the world’s finest players has started its second year. One can confidently say the MLC has gone from strength to strength as it has attracted 19 high-profile Australian players including Test captain Pat Cummins and batting maestros Travis Head and Steve Smith. The American organizers are banking on the United States’ shock World Cup victory over Pakistan to generate even more interest among the Americans who are fed a steady diet of football, baseball and basketball.

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The fact that many internationals have turned their back on The Hundred, an established tournament in England, has its parent body crying the blues. One of the first England stars to bolt for the U.S. last year was Jason Roy and now several others have crossed the Atlantic. No wonder as dollars are flowing like the Mississippi and the players are cashing in big time. Top players in the MLC are being inked for a massive $175,000 U.S. for a month-long season. Cummins inked a four-year deal with San Francisco Unicorns that is reportedly worth a $500,000 a season.

He is already the second highest earner in the IPL where he was showered with a massive $2.4 million haul earlier this year behind fellow-Aussie and fast bowler Mitchell Starc.

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Canada, of course, has made its mark on the international scene in the 50-over World Cup that’s until poor administration nullified all the early progress that was made. But the squad has now rebounded and proof of that was the country qualifying for the Twenty20 competition for the very first time. Among the star players inked for the Global T20 include Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, fast bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Amir and star batsman-wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan. Also back is David Warner, considered one of Australia’s greatest batsmen in all three formats of the game, who bowed out of his final World Cup with a whimper instead of making waves.

One of the key acquisitions by the Global T20 organization was Afridi who had originally signed to play for Welsh Fire in The Hundred. Afridi was one of the highest paid players last year at $129,000 (U.S.) and the team expressed its disappointment at losing the services of one of the world’s best fast bowlers. Global T20 organizers wouldn’t divulge how much they broke the bank to get the left-hander to play in Canada, but it had to be substantial. Afridi will suit up for Toronto Nationals while Azam, Rizwan and Amir will represent Vancouver Knights. Canada’s World Cup skipper Saad Bin Zafar along with Nikhil Dutta and Nicholas Kirton will also represent Toronto while the other Canadian internationals will see action with the other five franchises. The 37-year-old Warner will lead Brampton Wolves and two other Aussies on his squad are Andrew Tye and Beau Webster.

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“He is probably our greatest-ever three-format player,” said Australia coach Andrew McDonald recently. Canadian fans are lucky to see this great Aussie in action in the twilight of his career. “It has been amazing to grow this league,” said Karan Singh, director of the Canadian league. “The international reception has been amazing, but what makes it special is the love and support that we get from the city of Brampton and our local fans. This is truly the home of cricket in North America.”


England’s greatest fast bowler James Anderson will be playing his final Test match against the West Indies starting at Lord’s on Wednesday. The 41-year-old made his international debut at the age of 20 in 2002 and in 187 Tests Anderson has 700 wickets to his name. He is only the third bowler to have crossed that milestone behind greats Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and the late Australian Shane Warne who had 708. . . . News reports out of India say that former opening batsman Gautham Gambhir will step in as the country’s head coach following Rahul Dravid’s resignation.

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