A collection of Toronto’s top cricket talent announced: cue corpo-political schmoozefest

A collection of Toronto’s top cricket talent announced: cue corpo-political schmoozefest

Late-night cricket at Moss Park (Image: Dan Dickinson)

Amid all the Bollywood hoopla leading up to Saturday’s International Indian Film Academy Awards, another celebration of another widely popular South Asian staple—the strange and wonderful game of cricket—almost went unnoticed. In a ceremony held at city hall on Friday, Adam Vaughan and Doug Ford teamed up to announce the final roster for the CIMA Mayor’s Team, a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and Rob Ford–backed collection of Toronto’s best teenage cricket talent. The team will be travelling to England to participate in the fourth annual Cricket Across the Pond event, where the squad will compete against the world’s best. But, of course, not before a good ol’-fashioned photo op on Saturday, where the gang—Fords et al.—took to the pitch for the Mayor’s Cup cricket tournament, an annual event since 2005.

The Globe and Mail has the story:

Cricket is the fastest growing game in Toronto and although the Mayor is more of a football guy he, Mr. Vaughan and Doug Ford [participated] in the Mayor’s Cup tournament Saturday along with the young men.

“The funniest thing is going to be watching you and Rob chase each other around with a bat,” said Mr. Ford with a grin for his fellow councillor, a known adversary of the mayor.

The one-two combo of the CIMA and the mayor’s office has actually been quite successful in developing cricket in the city, earning the International Cricket Council’s 2006 global award for achievements in cricket promotion (who knew?). Of course, the Mayor’s Team is hardly the only recent effort to expand the game in Toronto and hardly the only effort to get in on some of that sweet corporate and political branding action. The folks at Royal Bank of Canada have donated fields and equipment to schools across Canada, not to mention delighted a group of youngsters when they flew a pair of world-class cricket talents in for a meet-and-greet at a local, cricket-crazed public school.

Cricket is massively popular around the globe—the only sporting events that bring in bigger television audiences are the Summer Olympics and the World Cup—so developing the sport in a diverse city like Toronto is a no-brainer. Frankly, the Fords and RBC’s self-interested motivations are irrelevant. The message is clear: the city is making a strong push in support of cricket—and the votes and dollars that follow it.

CIMA Mayor’s cricket team introduced at city hall [Globe and Mail]