The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) have announced a new elite international T20 league which will be held in the UAE in December and January.
In partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC), the UAE-owned tournament, whose name will be unveiled in June, will be played in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. Five franchises will be vying for the inaugural title across 22 matches over 24 days.
The 16-man squads of each franchise will feature six international star players, two emerging cricketers from full member countries, three from Associate nations, two juniors and three UAE cricketers.
England & Wales, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, New Zealand and the West Indies have already shown their support with more full members expected to lend their assistance.
The event will be one of the ECB’s biggest on their busy calendar and Zayed Abbas, ECB board member and official spokesperson, is convinced it will only develop the game in the UAE.
“We are confident that this new event will play a big role in growing the game, inspiring, promoting and developing the sport in order to add to the already world-leading UAE cricketing and sporting landscape,” he said.
ECB CEO David East, added: “Our firm aim is for this event to take the sport to all corners of the UAE and to develop cricket at a grassroots level initially in – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. This will not be just another T20 tournament, it will be a true international festival of sport and the hottest cricket ticket in the UAE.”
For Dr Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the T20 League board of directors and ECB board member, he insists the new competition will create a unique platform for the development of the best young cricketers around the globe.
“Our intention is to build a new event that is here to stay, and one that occupies a niche position in the international cricket calendar. We are not looking to compete with other T20 leagues, we are looking to develop an international festival of cricket that exists first and foremost for the benefit of the players, and with a very specific goal of helping to develop new talent from around the world and grow the game in keeping with global best practices,” he said.
“Our players will be at the heart of the action, entertaining and playing the game to the limit, looking to make a name for themselves and a mark on the world of T20. The diversity of players that will compete in this new event will represent the great diversity of the UAE – players of all nationalities love playing and staying in the UAE, with a lifestyle beyond compare. This is a chance for them to come to a winter sports super hub and play seven-star cricket in a competition that will be world-class in its design, organisation, management, quality, sound practices, compliance with rules and regulations, profile, innovation and fan experience,” he added.
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