Dubai: Defending champions Kerala Kings will have to battle against the two new arrivals in their group during the second season of the Heera Group T10 League to be held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in November.
Following the draw for the event held at the Capital Club in the presence of team owners and Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) member Zayed Abbas, Kerala Kings have been placed in Group A and they will have to overcome the challenges from the unfamiliar debutants Karachians and Rajputs and last year’s participants Pakhtoon.
In Group B are Punjab Legends, who finished runners-up in the first edition, with Bengal Tigers, Maratha Arabians and Northern Warriors.
Speaking to Gulf News, Kerala Kings team owner Shafi UL Mulk, on behalf of his team’s other owners, said: “We are thrilled to be seeded one in Group A due to being the champions. The fact that we have been clubbed with the two new franchises Karachians and Rajputs is exciting. These two teams have picked great icons and match-winners in the recent mini draft and hence it will be an intense challenge for us.”
Following the success of the first edition, the tournament has expanded from a six-team event to an eight-team league, which will be held from November 23 to December 2 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. “I feel that the second edition will be fiercer as all teams have a balanced combination. Kerala, led by England captain Eoin Morgan, have stalwarts like Kieron Pollard, Sohail Tanveer and Paul Stirling, who can help us retain the trophy,” added Shafi.
Though Pakhtoons finished runners-up, Bengal Tigers are expected to present a strong squad. “We will carve out a good team with our excellent support staff. All matches will be keenly fought,” said Anis Sajan, the mentor of Bengal team. Maratha Arabians’ owner Parvez Khan, who is happy with the draw, said: “We have picked the spin sensation Rashid Khan and a bunch of match-winners and hence we will see some exciting performances.”
Commenting on the draw, Shaji UL Mulk, the chairman of the T10 league, said: “This year’s T10 Cricket League will help expand and popularise the game of cricket further. We see this as a growing movement and I urge all to join this and help take the game further ahead.”
The Team Draw will now be followed by a Player’s Draw set to be held soon. This will see the world’s top cricketers being selected by the eight teams from a pool of world’s outstanding players.
Group A: Kerala Kings, Karachians, Pakhtoon, Rajputs.
Group B: Punjabi Legends, Bengal Tigers, Maratha Arabians, Northern Warriors.