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Top names in cricket swing through Brampton for GT20 Canada tournament

The second annual GT20 Canada cricket tournament is back in the GTA this year, with top global talent playing alongside Canadian players.

'Iconic names in the global cricket space' will be playing in the tournament at CAA sports centre

The GT20 Canada Cricket Tournament is taking place in Brampton's CAA Sports Centre this year. (Chris Langenzarde/CBC)

Cricket fans in the GTA can see some of the biggest names in the sport in person over the next couple of weeks.

The second annual Global T20 Canada tournament is taking place in Brampton for the next two-and-a-half weeks. The event showcases top cricketers from around the world, playing alongside Canadian talent.

The tournament launched last year in King City with six teams named after Canadian cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg. 

This year, Brampton is included to appeal to its cricket fan base. Over the course of the tournament, the city will host players from over 40 countries playing more than 22 matches.

"I think the demographics [of Brampton] speak to the game. Many people in Brampton have migrated to Canada, but they've interacted with the game of cricket outside of Canada, so there's a natural market here," said Jason Harper, tournament director for GT20 Canada.

Jason Harper, the tournament director, says 'some of the most iconic names in the global cricket space are representing Canadian cities' in this year's tournament. (Chris Langenzarde/CBC)

Some of the international stars playing in Brampton include Yuvraj Singh, Shahid Afridi and Chris Gayle.

The tournament kicked off Thursday to nearly 4,000 fans at the cricket ground in the CAA Sports Centre in Brampton, and will run until August 11.

Global T20 Canada is Canada's first major T20 cricket tournament, making its official debut on the international stage last year to a worldwide television audience of more than 50 million, according to Harper.

England beat New Zealand in dramatic fashion to claim the cricket World Cup title this year. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

"Our league has potentially the biggest concentration of global cricket stars squeezed into a tight two-and-a-half weeks," said Harper.

The goal, Harper says, is to expand the sport into the various cities being represented across Canada.

"These players are representing cities where cricket is not necessarily played, and that's how we want to get it into the mainstream," he said.

Harper says 'cricket is the number two sport in the world' outside North America. (Chris Langenzarde/CBC)

"Over time, the growth of this league will lead to the development of local players, and hopefully more players playing at the highest level in Canada."