TORONTO: Former Pakistan all-rounder and T20 skipper Shahid Afridi launched a cricket club in his name here this week which will compete in the local Toronto & District League, starting from May 19. The league m atches will be played on cricket grounds across the GTA and King City.
“During my meetings with Mayor John Tory and Premier Kathleen Wynne on my last visit to Canada, they discussed the need to support the development of cricket in Canada and I promised to do something,” said Afridi.
“It’s important to promote sports among the youth. I am very happy to announce that we have launched Shahid Afridi Cricket Club to compete in TDCA and have signed former Canadian cricket team captain Rizwan Cheema as captain and mentor, and Ameem Haq as the General Manager,” he added.
The captain of SACC, Rizwan Cheema said: “I feel proud to be a part of the club and honoured to be chosen to lead the side. We have signed a number of cricketers who have played for the Canada’s national team and Under-19 team, which puts the expectations very high from the get-go for SACC. I am confident that we will put our best foot forward.”
Cheema, ex-captain of Canada’s national team, is a level-2 certified coach and has played 41 international matches including the ICC World Cup.
Afridi further said: “Cheema is an explosive batsman known for his hard-hitting batting and medium pace bowling, he is my kind of player and the pride of modern Canadian cricket”.
Canada’s speed-star Cecil Pervez said, “It is a great feeling to represent the club of a living legend like Shahid Afridi and I’m looking forward to a great season. We have a good mixture of youth and experience and we are going to raise the bar for the players with hard work and focus.”
Canada national team’s fast bowler Satsimranjit Dhindsa said, “I am excited to be part of the club and to play along side players who have achieved so much at the highest level. For Canadian cricket to flourish, we need this transfer of knowledge and skill and I hope we achieve this.”
Over 100 teams will be competing for championship in different categories and conferences. GTA has an estimated 20,000 registered cricketers competing in various leagues, of which the TDCA is the biggest cricket league in Canada and North America.
Shahid Afridi Cricket Club offered contracts to the following cricketers namely Rizwan Cheema, Satsimranjit Dhindsa, Cecil Pervez, Ammar Khalid, Asad Zaidi, Maahil Arshad, Simon Pervez, Muzammil Ali, Ali Irfan, Mudassir Ali, Yax Patel”. Afridi himself also currently in talks to play the Global T20 Canada League which is slated to be played later this year in June.