By RON FANFAIR
The organizers of a proposed one-day Twenty/20 cricket tournament have contacted West Indies cricket captain Chris Gayle and former skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan about participating in an August 29 event at Centennial Stadium in Kitchener.
“They have said they are available and we are working through Gayle to see if we can get Dwayne Bravo to be part of our event,” said former Cricket Canada chief executive officer, Atul Ahuja, who holds a similar role with the new Cricket Champions League which is the event’s organizer. “The aim is to get the three Caribbean players to be on each of the three presenting teams that will be taking part in the tournament.”
The senior West Indian players are not included in the squad to prepare for the Champions Trophy tournament in South Africa in September even though the leading players have ended their strike.
The three participating teams in the proposed tournament are the Toronto Invincibles, the Ottawa Royals and a side representing Hamilton.
Ahuja said his organization, which has affiliate status with the Ontario Cricket Association and associate membership with the Quebec Cricket Federation, is working with the Toronto & District Cricket Association to ensure that the best players in the Greater Toronto Area are available for the tournament.
“We are looking for the top players to take part and even if they are unavailable, there are still enough talented players out there who will welcome the opportunity to be part of this set-up,” said Ahuja. It’s going to be a good thing for them since they will be playing alongside talented West Indian players.”
Ahuja said the three teams will play each other once with the top sides competing in a final during the 12-hour tournament slated to start at 8 a.m. at the 3200-seat football/soccer stadium.
“We like the location because it has easy highway access and we are going to install an Astroturf wicket,” said Ahuja. “The cricket field dimensions should be about 65′ x 44′ and that should provide for good and thrilling cricket. I do not foresee a cricket-only stadium being built in the near future so we have to make use of the facilities that we have and continue to try to grow the sport in this country. I promise that we are going to have a day of fun, frolic and festivity.”
Ahuja said prize money will at be stake depending on the sponsorship accrued and all of the players will be remunerated.
He also added that part of the game proceeds will go to the Save the Children Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Last Post Fund.
The Cricket Champions League recently launched an Under-19 Twenty/20 tournament at Centennial Park in Etobicoke. Two games are played between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.
The tournament, which started on July 9, ends on September 25.
The eight participating teams are Durham, York, the Ontario Cricket Association Heroes, the Ontario Cricket Association Icons, the Greater Toronto Area Challengers, Albion, Canadian Professional Cricket and Commonwealth.