Dubai: Four top UAE cricketers will play in a professional Twenty20 league in Canada alongside world’s best Twenty20 cricketers.
UAE captain Rohan Mustafa, hard hitter Shaiman Anwar, left-arm spinner Ahmad Raza and pacer Mohammad Naveed have been invited to play in the Global T20 Canada.
The league will be played in Toronto between June 28 and July 15 and will feature Steven Smith and David Warner, despite their one-year ban for ball tampering.
Six teams that will vie for the title are Toronto Nationals, Vancouver Knights, Edmonton Royals, Montreal Tigers, Winnipeg Hawks and a Cricket West Indies-sponsored sixth team.
Speaking to Gulf News, Mustafa said: “It feels great that UAE players are being picked for a league played by renowned cricketers. We all will try and give our best for our teams to prove ourselves. It will be great to be with the top players and learn something from them.”
Mustafa is named in the Toronto Nationals team which has Darren Sammy, Steve Smith and Kieron Pollard.
“I am looking forward to play with Sammy, a World Cup winning captain and a top player like Smith. I feel that it will be a great exposure.”
Anwar, who had hit a century in the 2015 ICC World Cup and deserved to be picked by professional leagues for his ability to play breezy knocks, said: “I am looking forward to play alongside great players and feel honoured to be considered to play in the a professional tournament.”
The league is owned by Mercuri Canada Limited, an offshoot of Mercuri Talent Management run by Sriram Bakthisaran, an Indian entrepreneur. As per the agreement with Cricket Canada, Mercuri will pay Cricket Canada an annual fee of $500,000 for the first year with an increment of $100,000 each year for the next five years.
Other stars that will play in the team include Shahid Afridi, Lasith Malinga, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, David Miller and Dwayne Bravo.
The league will comprise 22 matches, culminating in play-offs and the championship match on July 15. All the matches will be held at Maple Leaf Cricket Club, situated north of Toronto which can accommodate 7000 spectators.
Top international cricketers-turned-coaches have been roped in by the various teams. Former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis will be the coach of the Winnipeg Hawks, Tom Moody will coach Montreal Tigers and Phil Simmons will be the Toronto Nationals coach. Former Pakistan pacer Mohammad Akram will coach Edmonton Royals.