Canadian cricket players view Global T20 league as experience-builder

The Canadian Press

KING CITY, Ont. — Canadian cricketers are viewing the Global T20 league as an opportunity to improve their play at a high level.

If they can see some game action, that is. 

While teams are required to have at least four Canadians on their rosters, there is no obligation to play any of them.

Canada falls under the ICC associates category along with 92 other nations. Each team in the Global T20 is required to play one associate cricketer, meaning a Canadian might not get into a game if their team chooses to use an associate from another country instead.

"I must admit I was surprised when I was told we only had to play one associate player," Montreal Tigers coach Tom Moody, who won two Cricket World Cups with Australia, said earlier this week.

"In a tournament like this it would have been nice to play two or three, and maybe that will be looked at going forward because it is all about the growth of the cricketers in this region. You're going to do more growing on the field than you're going to do off the field."

Regardless of playing time, some up-and-coming Canadian players — like 19 year-old Abraash Khan — see playing in the tournament as a big step in their development.

"This is a huge experience for Canadians," Khan said. "We don't get to play against this talent level. The highest level we have is club cricket. This gives us a chance to mingle with pros and feel like pros."

Twenty-six-year-old Rayyankhan Pathan, who is on the fringes of the Canadian national team, has also lapped up the experience.

"I'm asking a lot of questions. I'm not shy about it because it's a great opportunity for me to learn," he said. "At this level players are not expected to ask basic technical questions, but I'm asking them. Tom Moody is the coach of the team why would I not ask him? And he's never annoyed when I ask a question."

The Global T20 Canada cricket league heads into playoff-mode on Thursday with a double-header. The Vancouver Knights take on the Cricket Windies B team in the morning match-up and the Edmonton Royals play the Winnipeg Hawks in the afternoon game.

Toronto's team, featuring Australian Steve Smith, finished in last place and failed to make the playoffs.

Toronto's captain Nitish Kumar was more pragmatic about what the tournament means for the growth of Canadian cricket, especially heading into the ICC Americas qualifying tournament in September with a berth in the ICC World T20 qualifier on the line.

"If you bring enough big names to the city for entertaining cricket, you get more people involved and you raise participation rates, which only helps us," Kumar said.

"As an associate cricketer you wait a long time for competitive games to come around. So this is great to have a concentrated period of competitive cricket, which you can never get enough of. This is a great opportunity because as captain I can see players in action in a competitive environment and the players get some training and pressure games, which we don't have before (the ICC) tournaments we play."

Faraz Sarwat, The Canadian Press

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