One of the most exciting T20 leagues in the world and the only T20 cricketing league thus far in North America, the Global T20 Canada tournament has been a big attraction for the fans who want to see cricket reaching new horizons.
The first two editions of the Global T20 Canada captured the imagination of the fans not only in the United States of America and Canada, along with the neighboring countries, but it also showed the entire world, that the game of cricket can be popular if the proper format is being presented to a newer audience.
Top tier players from the world like Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Yuvraj Singh, Steve Smith, David Warner, Dwayne Bravo, Shoaib Malik amongst others participated in the first edition of the tournament, while local Canada and USA talents were featured richly as well.
Players like Ali Khan, Satsimranjit Dhindsa, Akash Gill, Ruvindu Gunasekera, and others got their first taste of playing cricket with top-level international cricketers and a chance to learn from them and grow their own game as well.
One of the better success stories has been Rassie van der Dussen, whose performances in the Global T20 Canada tournament, helped him cement his place in the South African cricket team. He has played in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the tournament for Vancouver Knights, making 463 runs in 14 matches with three half-centuries to his name.
Thanks to his performance in the South African domestic circuit and the Global T20 Canada, Van der Dussen was named to the South African T20I team in September 2018. And made his ODI debut in 2019.
He was also part of the ICC World Cup 2019 in England and made 310 runs in 9 matches with 3 half-centuries. He continued his association with Vancouver Knights in the 2019 edition of Global T20 Canada and he made 205 runs in 5 matches with a strike-rate of 164, hitting 12 sixes and 14 fours.
Global T20 Canada has not only helped international players cement spots in their national teams but has helped unearth local talent and presented them with the opportunity to showcase their skills and garner attention from the strong T20 league system in the world.
Two such local players, who had international cricket experience, but became household names due to their performances in the Global T20 Canada and other T20 leagues, are Saad Bin Zafar from Canada and United States of America pacer Ali Khan.
Saad Bin Zafar has appeared for Canada in 11 T20I matches, while Ali Khan has played 1 ODI for the USA. However, both have been major attractions for the local crowd during their time in the Global T20 Canada.
Zafar had played an important role in Vancouver Knights winning the Global T20 Canada crown in 2018, making a fifty, and picking 2 wickets, which earned him the Player of the Match award as well. Since that performance and many others in the following edition in 2019, Bin Zafar has branched out in the T20 league scene, earning a contract with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots for CPL 2018.
He has since then appeared for Falcon Knights in the Qatar T10 league and was picked by St Lucia Zouks for CPL 2020. All this was because he got a platform from Global T20 Canada to perform with international stars and make a name for himself.
A similar story is of Ali Khan, a genuinely fast pacer, who gained attention with his amazing ability to bowl toe-crushing yorkers for Winnipeg Hawks in the 2018 edition of the tournament, where he picked 10 wickets in 8 matches. He then switched to Vancouver Knights for the 2019 edition and picked 7 wickets in 7 matches.
This performance in the Global T20 Canada and his natural pace garner Ali Khan a lot of attention and since then, he has been a regular part of the Pakistan Super League, the Caribbean Premier League, and even got a contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise in the Indian Premier League as well.
This shows that that Global T20 Canada is not just about introducing cricket to the North American audience who are less knowledgeable about this great sport, but they are also striving to produce a genuine cricketing superstar from Canada.
This goal of Global T20 Canada is clear as they make it a point of giving maximum exposure to local Canadian talent and get them to rub shoulders with the best T20 players from across the globe. There have been hints of a couple of players like Saad Bin Zafar making a name for themselves in other T20 leagues as well.
The search for the first global Canadian cricketing superstar will continue as the Global T20 Canada readies for their 3rd edition of the tournament which begins on June 24, 2021.