A new UAE T20 League promises to be a unique development platform for regional and international players alike.
The elite new league is being organised in partnership with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The league is set to take place in the UAE in December 2018 and will finish in January 2019.
‘Our whole focus of what we are trying to do here is to attract talent from all around the world to take part in this competition to help develop young cricketers from Associate Member nations who may have not had the opportunity to play at the highest level in the past,’ said David East, CEO of the ECB.
This new festival of cricket will provide opportunities for cricketers from both ICC Full Member and Associate Member countries as well as juniors, to develop their skills alongside the very best in the world. The five franchises will comprise a squad of 16, featuring six international star players, two emerging players from ICC Full Member countries, three players from ICC Associate Member nations, two Junior Players and three UAE cricketers. No other T20 competition has been established with these developmental goals at their core, and no other event will showcase such a wide array of international talent.
‘This competition will introduce the sport to new audiences in the UAE. We want to stage a festival of cricket that is designed to bring the game to all corners of the country and to support grassroots and local cricket,’ said Zayed Abbas, ECB Board Member.
Cricket is already the second most followed sport in the UAE, with an ever-growing following among the population. The high volume of world-class cricket having been played in the UAE over the past five years, has been really important in growing the sport’s popularity in the country.
Dr. Nasim Ashraf, Chairman of the T20 League Board of Directors, former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and ECB Board Member, said: ‘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 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.’
The Pakistan Cricket Board has since announced that it will not allow any of its contracted players to participate in UAE-based T20 leagues, as they intend to stage their own T20 league, as have the Afghanistan Cricket Board. The UAE and Afghanistan league will not, therefore, include any contracted players from Pakistan.
‘The Governing Council expressed its concerns over a newly-announced T20 league taking place in the UAE. It was decided that the PCB will not allow any contracted players to take part in any T20 league taking place in the UAE other than Pakistan Super League (PSL),’ said a PCB statement.