10 Feb

The United Arab Emirates cricket board (ECB) plans to launch a six-team T20 cricket league in December this year, to be played through to January 2021. 

The league will be made up of franchise teams, using the model employed by other T20 leagues around the world, and the board said it will attract “major international cricketers”. 

Cricket news website Cricbuzz reported that ECB general secretary Mubashir Usmani said Indian Premier League teams, Indian businessmen and Bollywood stars had expressed interest in investing in the franchises. Usmani said the salaries on offer for cricketers would “match with the best of the leagues in the world, if not IPL standards”. 

Cricbuzz also reported that the ECB was close to launching a T20 league several years ago, that was to feature spin-off teams from four IPL franchises – Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders, and one other. 

The ECB said the league has the backing of influential UAE government ministers, and the board’s own chairman, Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan. 

ECB vice-chairman Khalid Al Zarooni said: “We see this league as another premier addition to our growing tournament calendar. 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.” 

ECB board member and selection committee chairman Dr Tayeb Kamali, said the new league will “enhance the growth and popularity of cricket being played in the UAE”, and would give the opportunity for local players to flourish on an international stage. 

The UAE currently hosts the Abu Dhabi T10 cricket tournament, which just completed its fourth season, and last year hosted the Indian Premier League, which decamped from India due to the Covid-19 situation. The country also hosted Pakistan’s ‘home’ international matches in recent years, which were moved from Pakistan due to security concerns. It is also currently hosting Afghanistan’s international matches.   

John Stephenson 


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