Dubai: The T10 League, which caught the fancy of the UAE cricket fans within two years, will now be held in Abu Dhabi for five years after joining hands with Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism and Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADC), in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has signed a five-year agreement with the organisers of the T10 Cricket League on Monday.
Speaking to Gulf News, Shaji ul Mulk, who visualised the concept and is the chairman of the T10 League, said: “T10 has grown to reach the capital and will become stronger with more global reach. Abu Dhabi will be the new home of T10 cricket for the next five years starting from this season’s edition. The tournament will now be known as Abu Dhabi T10 League.”
The shortest format of the game will now be played only at Zayed Cricket Stadium.
After signing the deal, Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “T10 is fast, punchy, exciting cricket, making it perfect viewing for those of us living in the UAE. The decision to host T10 in Abu Dhabi is a fitting demonstration of our strategic investments in sporting infrastructure, such as training facilities and match stadia which we’ve been making over recent years. T10 will bring the latest edge to a city known for its sporting credentials, from Formula 1, to the AFC Asian Cup and the Special Olympics World Games, to both cricket and to the wider forms of sport available in Abu Dhabi.”
Saif Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary of DCT even said that T10 will lure visitors to the city. “This announcement is fantastic news for Abu Dhabi. Our city is a major global hub with a huge variety of attractions that cater to people of all ages and backgrounds, and T10’s tournament’s presence in the city for the next five years represents an exciting opportunity to attract even more visitors from around the globe, especially those from India who represent one of DCT Abu Dhabi’s key markets.”
Shaji then went on to reveal that this year the third edition of the T10 league will be held from October 23 to November 3. “The third season of T10 cricket will allow over 100,000 fans the chance to see some of the biggest names in cricket battle it out on the pitch over 90 fast minutes of action.”
Leading cricketers like Shane Watson lauded the decision to be held in Abu Dhabi. “The move of the league to Abu Dhabi is a great idea — the pitches in Abu Dhabi are beautifully maintained, and as I’ve mentioned before, the conditions are the closest to those in Australia. I can’t wait for T10 and November can’t come quickly enough.”
South African cricketer Colin Ingram, who plays for Pakhtoon, said: “It’s been great to be part of the league to this part, and I can’t wait to be back playing again in the new home of T10 Cricket at Zayed Cricket Stadium.”
West Indian Andre Fletcher said: “Playing in Abu Dhabi is going to be really exciting, especially as this is one of the top sporting destinations in the Middle East, so I can’t wait to see fans who are both local and international coming to Zayed Cricket Stadium and getting involved with all the action.”