By Colin Benjamin
The inaugural Global has kicked off while the sporting world is transfixed on 2018 FIFA World Cup action.
Germany not progressing beyond the opening round surprised many as they became the fourth defending champion in the past five World Cups following France (2002), Italy (2010) and Spain (2014) to be eliminated at the group stage.
This sporting dynamic highlighted the old adage that despite a team or player’s reputation on paper, one still has to perform on the day in sports contests to be successful.
In Global T20 Canada, the aim of the league is to give Canadian players a chance to be influenced by and learn from some of best players in world cricket.
The Toronto Nationals duo of Canada captain Nitish Kumar and spin bowler Nikhil Dutta who was first Canadian selected in draft have brought the league’s vision into reality in the first few matches.
As the two most high profile Canadian players, expectation was high on them to perform and so for they have.
During the exciting high scoring opening match between Toronto Nationals and Vancouver Knights where bowlers on both sides were smashed everywhere, Dutta was the bowler to have a good day with figures of 4-0-26-2.
Australian superstar batsman singled him out in a post-match interview comparing his bowling style and potential to Sunil Narine who is arguably been premier T20 spinner in the business.
“He has got some terrific skills. Usually spin bowlers are bit easier to face indoors when we are practicing and I couldn’t get a hold of him, I managed to some of other spinners, but not him”, said Smith.
“I think he has some great variations, he is one of the Canadian players that I want to help improve. He is very similar to Sunil Narine in the way he bowls and he has a very bright future.”
Notable praise for the Dutta from Smith who arguably the premier batsman in World cricket.
Before the tournament Kumar told gt20.ca he was fairly confident that his cricket competitive cricket experience in English League cricket and the Caribbean Premier League T20 competition, would hold him in good stead for Global T20 Canada.
“I’ve told players just to enjoy the experience and try to soak up as much knowledge from the players”, said Kumar.
“While for me individually I want to really leave an impact on the tournament, I believe I’ve played at a level during my time in England against first-class teams where I have scored 100s and 50s. So, I feel comfortable in the environment I will be put in.”
In his first opportunity to bat during the Nationals’ loss to Edmonton Royals, Kumar top scored and made his impact while his famous international teammates including Smith, Kieron Pollard and Daren Sammy didn’t repeat performances of the opening game win.
“Considering the situation the innings was quite good. (The) team was under pressure, but of course if I could trade a win over my innings I would take it”, said Kumar when asked if he rated the innings as his best batting performance considering the high profile nature of Global T20 Canada.
“I’m born and bred in Toronto, so being part of a league based out of Toronto is pretty exciting for myself and great opportunity to take in what the top players do. Hopefully I can continue for remainder of tournament.”