The battlelines for the fifth edition of Abu Dhabi T10 were drawn on Thursday evening with all sides setting their house in order at a glittering Players’ Draft Pick at the Yas Island in the UAE capital.
Team Abu Dhabi, the home team, threw up a pleasant surprise when they named Liam Livingstone - the hardhitting England batsman and allrounder - as their Icon Player. The other Icon players for the November 19-December 4 tournament are former South African captain Faf du Plessis (Bangla Tigers), West Indies allrounder Andre Russell (Deccan Gladiators), stylish Caribbean batsman Nicholas Pooran (Maratha Arabians), England opener Jason Roy (Delhi Bulls) and England’s white ball specialist Chris Jordan (Northern Warriors). Teams had a marquee pool of 447 players to choose from in the Pick.
Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman of T10 Sports Management, said on the occasion: “It’s been very satisfying to see the growth of the league over the years. I’m very happy with the way the Abu Dhabi T10 Players Draft was conducted. The success of any event depends on partnerships and the teams working on the event. The combination of our team, the Abu Dhabi government and Abu Dhabi Cricket is unbeatable. I am sure that this season will be even better than last season.”
Defending champions Northern Warriors have acquired a fantastic combination of players which include Moeen Ali, Rovman Powell, Imran Tahir, Upul Tharanga, Rayad Emrit, Reece Topley, Samit Patel, Kenar Lewis, Mithun Abhimanyu, Kaunain Abbas, Umair Ali, Rameez Shahzad, Josh Little, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Blessing Muzarabani and Ross Whiteley.
Bangla Tigers have been bolstered by Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Amir, James Faulkner, Benny Howell, Johnson Charles, Hazratullah Zazai, William George Jacks, Andre Fletcher, Qais Ahmad, Isuru Udana, Sabir Rao, Hassan Khalid, Matheesha Pathirana, William Smeed, Adam Lyth and Mohammad Saifuddin.
Deccan Gladiators’ team includes Evin Lewis, Tom Banton, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, David Wiese, Tymal Mills, Wanindu Hasaranga, Najibullah Zadran, Odean Smith, Rumman Raees, Ravi Bopara, Zahoor Khan, Sultan Ahmed, Izharulhaq Naveed, Nav Parbeja, Ryan Rickelton and Anwar Ali.
Maratha Arabians have been boosted by Yusuf Pathan, the retired Indian allrounder who was a member of their 2007 World T20-winning team, Fabian Allen, Dushmantha Chameera, Wahab Riaz, Azam Khan, Maheesh Theekshana, Darren Bravo, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Migael Pretorius, Mark Deyal, Muhammad Waseem, Junaid Siddique, Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Chamika Karunaratne and Tion Webster.
Team Abu Dhabi have retained Chris Gayle, Marchant de Lange, Colin Ingram, Phil Salt, Paul Stirling, Obed McCoy, Danny Briggs, Jamie Overton, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fidel Edwards, Rohan Mustafa, Muhammad Farazuddin, Ahmad Daniyal Latif and Christopher Benjamin.
Delhi Bulls, meanwhile, have packed their side with England’s white ball captain and 2019 World Cup winner Eoin Morgan, Dwayne Bravo, Ravi Rampaul, Adil Rashid, Sherfane Rutherford, Rilee Roscoe Rossouw, Dominic Drakes, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Romario Shepherd, Sohaib Maqsood, Shiraz Ahmed, Hafeez-ur-Rehman, Nyeem Young, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Akeal Hosein and Devon Thomas.
It’s been very satisfying to see the growth of the league over the years. I’m very happy with the way the Abu Dhabi T10 Players Draft was conducted. The success of any event depends on partnerships and the teams working on the event. The combination of our team, the Abu Dhabi government and Abu Dhabi Cricket is unbeatable.
Paul Farbrace, the newly appointed Team Abu Dhabi coach, is looking forward to working with both Livingstone and Gayle that will form one of the most destructive top-orders in world cricket.
“Chris Gayle is box office,” said Farbrace. “When he walks into bat, people make sure they are there as he could do something so special, so stunning, in any game.
“We’ve got someone who not only do we know will win us a couple of games, but he will inspire the team to win games, too, because there will be players in our team who have looked up to him for many years as a batting idol and they will want to impress him.
“Liam Livingstone is the new name on everyone’s lips, he’s the one that everyone in England is talking about as the bloke that can play a fundamental part in the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and I’m excited that he’s in our team. He is destructive, he’s desperate to succeed, and we’re really lucky that the name that’s on everyone’s lips is in our team.”
Most recently, Farbrace helped Warwickshire lift a County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy double this summer as the county side’s Director of Cricket.