Cricket Canada's inaugural T20 league to begin in June
Global T20 Canada, the new six-team franchise league organized by Cricket Canada and Mercuri Group based out of Chennai, will take place between June 28 and July 15.
Each team will play six games in the league phase: an initial round-robin followed by a single-match second round in which the teams will play one other opponent. The top four teams after the league phase advance to the playoffs beginning on July 12.
Similar to the IPL, the top two teams will play in the first playoff, with the winner going into the tournament final while the loser gets a second chance by playing the winner of the first elimination playoff between the third and fourth-placed teams. The final will take place on July 15 at 2pm local time, the same day as the FIFA World Cup Final in Moscow.
Though Cricket Canada president Ranjit Saini told ESPNcricinfo in February that the tournament would be spread across three venues in the greater Toronto area, the schedule unveiled this week lists all games to be held at Maple Leaf Cricket Club, 25 miles north of downtown Toronto in King City.
Saini had indicated that there may be difficulty getting permits for access to certain venues such as the centrally-located Toronto Cricket, Skating & Curling Club, which hosted the Sahara Cup ODI series between India and Pakistan in the late 1990s.
While no permanent infrastructure exists at Maple Leaf CC beyond a small clubhouse, the venue has installed temporary seating in the past to accommodate fans for a quadrangular series in 2008 between Canada, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. The Global T20 Canada website lists the seating capacity for the tournament matches at Maple Leaf CC as 7,000, meaning temporary bleachers are expected to be brought in once more for the tournament.
Though the entire tournament will take place at Maple Leaf CC, Global T20 Canada's franchise names represent five cities across Canada as well as one team called "Caribbean All-Stars". The other five teams are the Toronto Nationals, Montreal Tigers, Ottawa Royals, Vancouver Knights and Winnipeg Hawks.
The tournament is scheduled to have a player draft on May 26 to fill out team rosters. However, no information has been provided by Cricket Canada or tournament organizers regarding any foreign players in the draft pool or regarding fixed salaries tied to a player's draft slot akin to the Caribbean Premier League. Saini had told ESPNcricinfo in February that only a minimum of four Canada players would be required in each 15-man squad, with no mandate that any Canada players be in a starting XI.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna