DUBAI: The Emirates Cricket Board has decided to launch their own new elite international Twenty20 cricket league.

The tournament that will be held under the auspices of the International Cricket Council (ICC), will be unveiled formally later this month in the UAE.

The name of tournament will be announced later this month and will make its debut in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah with five new franchise teams vying for the inaugural title. In all, 22 matches will be played over 24 days in December-January.

The five franchises will comprise a squad of 16 featuring six current 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.ECB is of the view that 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.

“Our firm aim is for this event to take the sport to all corners of the UAE and to develop cricket at a grassroots level initially in — Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. This will not be just another T20 tournament, it will be a true international festival of sport and the hottest cricket ticket in the UAE,” said David East, chief executive of the ECB.

The event has already received the support of six cricket boards of ICC full member nations — England & Wales, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, New Zealand and the West Indies — and organisers are looking forward to receiving the support of the ICC associate member countries.

“We are confident that this new event will play a big role in growing the game, inspiring, promoting and developing the sport in order to add to the already world-leading UAE cricketing and sporting landscape,” said Zayed Abbas, ECB Board member and official spokesperson.

Dr Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the T20 League board of directors, former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and ECB Board member, says that the new competition has been conceived to be a unique platform for the development of the best young cricket talent from around the world.

“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 not looking to compete with other T20 leagues, 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 and grow the game in keeping with global best practices,” said Dr Nasim.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2018

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