Kolkata: ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle, ‘Boom Boom’ Shahid Afridi and ‘Dre Russ’ Andre Russell - these are some of the eight icon players for respective teams revealed by Abu Dhabi T10 League for their fourth edition early next year. Eight franchise teams will take guard at at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in the UAE capital for the fourth edition of the tournament - and second season in Abu Dhabi - from January 28 to February 6, 2021.
“The shorter the format, the more exciting the game becomes, I can’t wait to play at the Zayed Cricket Stadium again, watch out Abu Dhabi - a Gayle storm is coming!” said Gayle, the icon player for Team Abu Dhabi and arguably the biggest brand ambassador of franchise cricket over more than a decade now. With over 1,000 T20 sixes under his belt, the West Indian is raring to produce the fireworks again and the last edition of Indian Premier League in the UAE showed that the 41-year-old is in decent touch.
Andre Russell, who had a relatively quiet season in the last IPL, will be a part of the Northern Warriors as their icon player this season.
The Qalandars, meanwhile, boasts of Shahid Afridi, former Pakistan skipper and an eternal favourite at the venues of the UAE in their ranks. He held the record for the fastest century in the ODI format for more than 17 years. “I look forward to coming back to the Abu Dhabi T10 and playing in one most stunning stadiums in the world” said Afridi.
Dwayne Bravo, former Captain of the West Indies white ball team and Delhi Bulls have seized the opportunity and signed the West Indian all-rounder as their icon player.
Sunil Narine, the mystery spinner who had been as asset for IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders over the years, will be a vital inclusion for Deccan Gladiators. Defending champions Maratha Arabians have decided to back experience for this season as they have signed the World T20-winning player Shoaib Malik as their icon player and will lead the side.
Isuru Udana, the crafty Sri Lankan seamer, is set to showcase his slower ball variations as the icon player for the Bangla Tigers. Thisara Perera, another Sri Lankan and an exponent of this format, will provide allround services as the icon player of the Pune Devils. Perera is known for his destructive batting in the death overs and often performs the role of a finisher for his team.
The draft pick for the players will be held on Wednesday and the organisers are quite gung-ho at the possibility of a certain percentage of fans being allowed into the stadium.
Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports eight, said in a statement: “Although we have hosted numerous local and international cricket events in the past, our commitment to host the second season of Abu Dhabi T10 enhances our gold star portfolio of world-class destination sporting events. It builds upon and expands our profile for bringing together the top athletes in world sport and offering elite competition and unparalleled entertainment value.”
The tournament will be broadcast on Sony in India and Pakistan, Abu Dhabi Sports in the Middle East and North Africa countries, Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and SuperSport in South Africa.
• Chris Gayle (Team Abu Dhabi)
• Shahid Afridi (Qalandars)
• Dwayne Bravo (Delhi Bulls)
• Andre Russell (Northern Warriors)
• Sunil Narine (Deccan Gladiators)
• Shoaib Malik (Maratha Arabians)
• Thisara Perera (Pune Devils)
• Isuru Udana (Bangla Tigers)