Plans are now fully underway for the June 25, 2018 launching of the Mercuri funded Cricket Canada hosted Global T20 League’s Inaugural Season. Caribbean Graphic caught up with Roy Singh, President of the proposed Canadian Premier League, CPLT20, for his views on Global T20 Canada.
What is your opinion on the overall structure of the new Global T20 League that is scheduled to start in Toronto on June 25?
I support it fully actually, it’s great for cricket in Canada. I’d like to be optimistic for its success but I am somewhat concerned that the King City location they have selected to host the matches is far more geared towards recreational cricket and not ideally suited for hosting a world-class international tournament. What we need most in Canada is international cricket, not just the sport being played as recreational activity.
In a nutshell, I understand that Cricket Canada is moving along with it but I am not sure that the way it’s being set up is going to lead to it being overly successful.
What are your thoughts on the teams that have been established and on the marquee players that were identified at the official Launch?
My own vision through the Canadian Premier League was to promote Canadian players and develop our talent. From what I’ve seen and heard so far there’s not going to be that much Canadian player involvement in this year’s Global T20. That for me is a negative as the purpose of the League should be to build morale and excitement among young Canadian players.
I don’t fully support the way it has been set up but it is what it is.
What are your reservations about Global T20’s use of King City as the venue for this year’s matches?
King City does not have the broadcasting infrastructure required to allow global television coverage of the League’s matches in a positive and productive manner. The fact of the matter is that it’s a product that’s been developed. People will want to see cricket that’s exciting. Especially those here within Canada as we are after all, a hockey country. T20 cricket is exciting but it needs to be broadcast in a manner, which can fully capture its excitement. Televising a product that is unexciting, being played at a venue that is unattractive, will not do anything to attract Canadian audiences and build interest in cricket!
Don’t you think that Mercuri and Cricket Canada can in the weeks ahead put the necessary infra structure at King City that will ensure that the Tournament can and will be broadcast at the highest standards?
I very much doubt that it will happen. Anyone can put up a bunch of temporary seats, but the question still remains as to who’s going to control the gates and what people are going to actually see in terms of the entire entertainment package.
I am not trying to be negative towards the League’s organizers but realistically I can’t see it happening within the short period of time that’s left remaining.
What would have been your suggestion for an alternative product and how would your Canadian Premier League been differently structured.
We need to have an infra structure that will create a positive impression. We can’t have viewers seeing images of people sitting on the grass, drinking beer and there being lots of empty space. We need to see people seated in properly constructed stands, jumping in joy with excitement about what they are seeing. There also has to be appropriate images of the tournament’s sponsors so that viewers can have an accurate impression of which companies are supporting the League and cricket in general.
It would have been better if there had been more time to package and develop the product properly. It seems though that what they are now trying to do is to rush everything so as to just get something up and going this year. That approach can often backfire and I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen. I hope not but in such a short period of time it’s dangerous to try to set up such a big tournament in Canada.
Your own Canadian Premier League has been in its planning stages for a number of years but has not yet materialized. Are there specific reasons as to why it has not as yet become a reality!
I’ve had some issues with Cricket Canada, which have now been resolved. We are now basically trying to get the required infra structure and appropriate venues secured so as to set the stage for such a major tournament. Obtaining the required sanction has been a delay and so too has the infra structure. Those are the two main reasons why CPLT20 has not as yet become a reality.
Those obstacles should be overcome within the next year or two, which would then allow us to launch a League that would be loved and admired by all cricketing fans and especially those within Canada.
So you can actually foresee two T20 Leagues within Canada in the near future?
If anyone wants to have a separate League that’s fine, but I am totally open to joining forces to create one bona fide Canadian League. If that doesn’t happen I will go on my own, which I’ve always been prepared to do. I won’t cast any negative views on anyone who wants to stage something now, but I will eventually launch a League that will be the perfect blend of Canadian and international content.
I wish Mercuri all the best for this tournament, but I do have my reservations which I sincerely hope won’t bear true! We’ll wait and see how everything works out but I do wish them only the very best.