Nikhil Dutta Tops List of Canadians Selected in Inaugural Global T20 Canada Players Draft
21 Canadian players among strong contingent from associate member nations drafted by cricket luminaries for new pro league
TORONTO, Canada – Toronto Nationals selected off spinner Nikhil Dutta in the first Global T20 Canada Players Draft conducted Sunday, marking a landmark moment for the sport of cricket in Canada.
Dutta, a member of Canada’s men’s national team, was selected in the seventh round for a $25,000 salary, confirming the 23-year old’s reputation as Canada’s top player. He leads a group of 21 Canadian players drafted by the league’s five Canadian franchise teams – Toronto Nationals, Vancouver Knights, Edmonton Royals, Montreal Tigers and Winnipeg Hawks.
“I feel honoured to be drafted in Global T20 Canada and excited to be playing with all the coveted players from international cricket,” said Dutta, a Toronto native. “This tournament will provide great exposure for Canadian cricket and give opportunities for up and coming players to play with the big players, and gain valuable experience.”
The 21 Canadians, along with 11 other players from Associate Member nations, give Associate Member nations one-third of the total player pool (32 of 96), a higher proportion than the world’s other top professional Twenty20 leagues. United States, United Arab Emirates, Nepal, Bermuda and Hong Kong account for the 11 players, with notable selections including Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal, 6th round), Babar Hayat (UAE, 7th round) and Ali Khan (USA., 9th round).
The proportion signifies Global T20 Canada’s focus on cricket development as players from Associate Member nations will have an opportunity to play at the highest level alongside the sport’s top stars and minds. Each team was required to have four Canadians on its roster and select two players from Associate Member nations.
“This is an exciting time for Canadian cricket, and cricket development around the world with many players participating from Associate Member nations,” said Jason Harper, Tournament Director. “Normally players from these countries don’t get a chance to play at this level with the types of marquee players we have, so the game is going global, and this is where Global T20 Canada stands out.”
Dutta, who was born in Kuwait, has a solid international Twenty20 resume with stints in Pakistan Premier League for Barisal Bulls and St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in Caribbean Premier League. He joins West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy, a two-time ICC World T20 champion, who will helm the Toronto Nationals.
Sammy, along with international stars Chris Gayle (Vancouver Knights/West Indies), Lasith Malinga (Montreal Tigers/Sri Lanka), Shahid Afridi (Edmonton Royals/Pakistan) and Dwayne Bravo (Winnipeg Hawks/West Indies) will lead the five franchises. Tournament organizer Mercuri Canada Ltd. also invited international marquee players David Miller (Winnipeg Hawks/South Africa), Chris Lynn (Edmonton Royals/Australia), Sunil Narine (Montreal Tigers/West Indies) and Andre Russell (Vancouver Knights/West Indies). Australian Steve Smith, making his return to pro cricket will play for Toronto.
Overall, 80 players were chosen over 16 rounds by the five Canadian franchise teams. They hail from 19 different countries and were selected from a pool of over 1,500 cricketers that registered from 40-plus countries around the world.
Five of cricket’s luminaries – Phil Simmons (Toronto Nationals), Donovan Miller (Vancouver Knights), Mohammad Akram (Edmonton Royals), Tom Moody (Montreal Tigers) and Waqar Younis, (Winnipeg Hawks), will coach the teams. Each team selected 16 players with four roster spots designated for Canadians, keeping with Global T20 Canada’s mandate to advance the development of cricket in Canada.
“Global T20 is an unprecedented opportunity for Canada’s best players to develop under the mentorship of some of the sport’s great minds,” said Ranjit Saini, President, Cricket Canada. “Canadian cricket and sports fans will get an opportunity to see our cricketers play alongside the world’s best, and that should have a significant impact on the performance of Canada’s men’s national team in future international competitions.”
The tournament’s sixth squad – Cricket West Indies Representative Team – will exclusively consist of Caribbean players selected by Cricket West Indies, the region’s governing body of cricket.
Global T20 Canada (www.GT20.ca), the first pro Twenty20 cricket league in North America, will stage its inaugural edition from June 28 to July 15, 2018.
Lists of Canadians and players from Associate Member nations are below and complete team rosters are available at www.gt20.ca/teams/