The second season of the Global T20 Canada League came to an end on Sunday as the Winnipeg Hawks defeated defending champions Vancouver Knights in a thrilling encounter which went down to the super-over. Batting first, Hawks scored 192 in their allotted twenty overs. In response, the Knights lost early wickets but managed to take the game into the final over, due to Andre Russell's power-hitting.
The Global T20 Canada League is a great initiative which allows the sport to flourish in Canada. The league has helped aspiring youngsters from Canada. The presence of star players like Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Shahid Afridi has also helped to attract massive crowds.
Sportskeeda caught up with one such young player, Umair Ghani. He talked about his journey and how the Global T20 Canada League helped him.
While speaking about the tournament, Umair said, "I was nervous at the beginning but as the tournament progressed and as we received support, the shackles broke and the players became more free. The advice given by the senior players are priceless and is second to none. To be able to listen to your seniors and implement their advice on the field is a huge victory for an individual who wants to improve his game".
Umair thanked his god and his family for the support and talked about the crucial opportunity. "I would have never imagined, even in my wildest dream that a player who was only given one game to play last year would be a part of all the games this year. Whether I was put in the position to score the winning run off the last ball or took crucial catches throughout the tournament, I always gave my 100 per cent effort on the field".
"The feeling of winning cannot be described in words, the adrenaline rushing through your body at the moment puts you to the peak of everything. You feel unstoppable. Winning the tournament was a huge achievement for the team and especially for me. Before the super over, our captain had full faith in Kaleem Sana and he repaid that faith by keeping the runs to a minimal against the likes of Andre Russell and Shoaib Malik", said the 31-year-old.
The Hawks bowler emphasized on the importance of fielding, "I wasn't selected for a previous cricket tour based on my fielding performance. From there, being awarded the Fielder of the Tournament in a tournament like GT20 from a committee which had Wasim Akram, Mahela Jayawardene and Brian Lara means a lot to me. It shows that all my hard work has paid off".
The Winnipeg Hawks was led by Rayad Emrit and had some big names like Chris Lynn, Dwayne Bravo and JP Duminy. "The team environment was friendly and supportive of each other. The desire to win was evident among all the team and staff members, the passion of the game and the drive to be successful was visible. On days when we lost, we still kept each other motivated and that helped us to be successful", said Ghani.
The local lad thanked the crowd for their support. "In general the competition was bigger this year. The ground facility was put together incredibly and maintained well throughout the tournament and you cannot forget the crowd. The crowd this year was bigger and louder with tons of support for the local boys like me. I definitely enjoyed this season more as I found it to be more organized, more competitive and of course because we won the title".
The 31-year-old also praised Cricket Canada. He believes that cricket in the country is going in the right direction and with the arrival of the Global T20 Canada League more youngsters would be inclined towards the sport. In a previous interview with Sportskeeda, Vancouver Knights' all-rounder Saad Bin Zafar also spoke of his appreciation for Cricket Canada for their support and facilities.
"Each year the level of cricket in Canada is getting bigger and better. The local leagues with the help of the municipalities are providing cricketers with better facilities. Good grounds and good competition of cricket is bringing more and more talent in Canada. Canada hosting the GT20 has given youngsters inspiration and they hope to play cricket at the highest level amongst the best players in the world", Umair concluded.