UAE's cricket board announces plan to organise IPL-style T20 league

Abu Dhabi - Like all other successful global league models, the T20 league in the UAE will be franchise based which will attract major international cricketers

By James Jose

Published: Tue 9 Feb 2021, 8:16 PM

Last updated: Tue 9 Feb 2021, 8:28 PM

In what could be a shot in the arm for cricket here, the UAE will have its very own T20 League soon, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) revealed on Tuesday.

The ECB announced plans of holding the League and are looking at a window at the end of this year or the start of next year. The League has been sanctioned by ECB chairman Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Tolerance and Coexistence. Sheikh Nahyan is an avid cricket follower and played a huge role in bringing and hosting the IPL in the UAE last year.

“The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is pleased to announce that UAE’s own exclusive T20 League has been sanctioned by ECB chairman Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan to Dubai Sports City and will soon be held in the UAE. The dates being considered are December 2021 and January 2022,” the ECB said in a statement.

The ECB said that the UAE’s league will follow the same blueprint of successful franchise leagues around the world like the Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League (PSL), Australian Big Bash (BBL), Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and many others. The modalities of the league are still being worked out, the ECB said.

And there won’t be any shortage of international stars with the UAE well positioned geographically, and not to mention its credentials in successfully hosting the IPL and the PSL.

The scenario of the pandemic still lurking in the background shouldn’t pose a threat too, with the UAE proving to be the gold standard in creating a bio-secure bubble during the IPL as well as the Abu Dhabi T10 League.

The proposed league will also provide another stage for UAE cricketers to parade their wares. UAE players stood out during the just-concluded Abu Dhabi T10 League, with some exceptional performances.

“We see this League as another premier addition to our growing tournament calendar,” ECB vice chairman Khalid Al Zarooni, who is also a board member of the Asian Cricket Council, said.

“Emirates Cricket, and the UAE, has a proven history of identifying and embracing initiatives that underpin the success of the game, as well as encourage and develop home-grown talent,” he added.

Dr. Tayeb Kamali, who is an ECB Board Member and the chairman of the selection committee, opined that the League will be a great opportunity for the country’s players.

“We are delighted with the launch of our own T20 League, one we believe will enhance the growth and popularity of cricket being played in the UAE. We also envisage that UAE-based players will continue to flourish through such opportunities as they continue to make their mark on the international stage,” Kamali said.

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