ILT20: UAE's Vriitya Aravind, Muhammad Waseem excited to play for MI Emirates

The inaugural edition of the league will be hosted across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah with six teams battling for the trophy

UAE's wicketkeeper-batter Vriitya Aravind. — Supplied photo
UAE's wicketkeeper-batter Vriitya Aravind. — Supplied photo

By Team KT

Published: Sat 7 Jan 2023, 8:30 PM

Last updated: Sat 7 Jan 2023, 8:41 PM

A number of players in the UAE have had dreams of playing with the best cricketers in the world.

Those dreams will turn into a glorious reality when the DP World International League T20, the UAE's home-grown franchise league, starts on January 13.

The inaugural edition will be hosted across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah with six teams battling for the trophy.

Opening batter Muhammad Waseem, who has scored 743 runs in 20 T20Is, can't wait to play for the MI Emirates in the star-studded tournament.

"I am feeling very happy and I feel lucky to be a part of such a big franchise. I will try my best to prove myself during the tournament," Waseem said.

The 28-year-old Waseem, who only started playing the game seriously nine years ago in Pakistan, the country of his birth, is now relishing the chance to play alongside T20 legend Kieron Pollard.

"This is a huge moment for us which I can't put in words. I will try to play my best and showcase the talent that UAE has. I can't wait to meet Kieron Pollard and play alongside him. I played with him in Abu Dhabi T10 as well," he said.

Meanwhile, the UAE wicketkeeper-batter Vriitya Aravind, who has scored 536 runs and effected 12 catches and three stumpings in 25 T20Is, said that he always wanted to play for the MI franchise.

"It's an honour and a privilege to represent one of the most successful cricket franchises in the world. I saw Sachin Tendulkar play for MI (in the IPL) and I wanted to represent the franchise at some point in my life and therefore I feel lucky to get a chance to be a part of the MI Emirates at an early age," Aravind said.

"I am looking forward to playing with Nicholas Pooran since we have similar roles as a top-order batter and wicketkeeper. I think I will keep pestering him with questions."

Aravind also spoke about the moment which inspired him to be a cricketer.

"I was born in India and everyone wants to play cricket there. And I was in the country when India won the 2011 ICC World Cup. That is my first memory of watching an entire World Cup and I also celebrated on the streets when India won it. I made up my mind on that day that I want to be a cricketer and play in the World Cup," he recalled.

The MI Emirates will take on Sharjah Warriors in their first match of the DP World ILT20 at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, January 14.

The inaugural DP World ILT20 promises to be a high-octane competition with some of the biggest superstars on the planet set to make their way to the UAE to kick-off the league.

The league will be played in a 34-match format across the UAE’s world-class cricket facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Franchise teams, comprising over 100 International and 24 UAE-based players, include Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (Knight Riders Group), Desert Vipers (Lancer Capital), Dubai Capitals (GMR), Gulf Giants (Adani Sportsline), MI Emirates (Reliance Industries) and Sharjah Warriors (Capri Global).

Cricket fans across the world can catch the live telecast of this exciting cricket league on ZEE’s linear channels and digital platform.


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