D10 tournament signals return of cricket to UAE
Mubashir Usmani (centre), General Secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board; Vivek Chandra, Director and Head of Business, ITW, Middle East and Africa; Richard Saldhana, Head of Sales and Broadcasting, ITW Middle East, at the Emirates D10 Press conference in Dubai on Sunday. (Photo by Rituraj Borkakoty)
Dubai - Usmani said all the strict health protocols will be in place for the tournament
The UAE is all set to see the return of cricket to the country with the Emirates Cricket Board announcing a new domestic T10 tournament.
The inaugural Emirates 'D10' tournament (July 24-August 7) will be staged in Dubai in partnership with ITW, it was announced on Sunday.
The 34-match competition will see six teams, including two 'Emirates Blues' teams formed by the country's cricket board, vying for the top honours.
With the UAE becoming one of the world's leading counties in bringing sports back to life amid the Covid-10 pandemic, Mubashir Usmani, General Secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board, said the D10 tournament would provide the UAE players the ideal platform to play competitive cricket again.
"This is the first time a domestic tournament has been created by the Emirates Cricket Board, which is the governing body for cricket in the UAE. We are looking to extend it to different formats. This is a start. This will encourage the young and talented players in the UAE and also give a sense of recognition and a pathway where they can feel integrated into the system," Usmani told Khaleej Times on Sunday.
Usmani said all the strict health protocols will be in place for the tournament.
"We will be following all safety protocols, as stipulated by the health authorities, and as all matches will be played behind closed doors, we encourage all cricket-loving fans to take advantage of the matches being streamed live," Usmani said.
All the matches, according to Usmani, will be played in the evening due to the adverse weather conditions.
"We have picked T10 because it's a short format and it provides entertainment. It's a long term plan as we have a partnership with ITW for three years," Usmani added.
Meanwhile, Khalid Al Zarooni, Vice Chairman of Emirates Cricket Board, says strengthening the depth of the game in the country is their top priority.
"We are very pleased to announce this important milestone in the development of our sport. It has always been a vision of the (Emirates Cricket) Board to develop and add an annual top-tier domestic tournament to the UAE calendar." he said.
"Emirates Cricket is aware of the talent that is being developed at various grounds and through various games being played across the UAE, and, we are cognisant of tapping into these teams with the goal of strengthening the depth and sustainability of UAE national teams across age-groups, women's and men's sides well into the future," he added.