Kerala Kings beat Punjabi Legends in the finals of the T10 League at the Sharjah Stadium last December to clinch the top prize. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A galaxy of the masters of the shorter format of the game will be in the fray as the second edition of the T10 League kicks off in Sharjah from Wednesday. The event will be bigger this time, from a four-day event to a 12-day contest and an increase of eight teams from a six-team event.

Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and the Chairman of Emirates Cricket Board, will officially inaugurate the tournament at 4pm at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

29

Number of matches to be played over 12 days

The enormity of the league can be gauged from the fact that 128 international cricketers from India, Pakistan, England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka are here to play for the eight franchises — Kerala Knights, Punjabi Legends, Bengal Tigers, Maratha Arabians, Pakhtoons, Rajputs and two newcomers in Sindhis and Northern Warriors. Twenty-nine matches will be played with the final scheduled for December 2 on the UAE National Day.

Speaking to Gulf News, Shaji ul Mulk, chairman of the T10 League and who conceptualised this format, said: “It is a league which was born in UAE and became the talk of the cricketing world and hence as a fitting tribute to the ‘Spirit of the UAE Union,’ we have decided to stage the final of the second edition on UAE’s National Day. The huge response from fans in the first edition made us expand the league by including two more teams. We thank the Emirates Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council for their kind support and continuous vigilance on promoting fair play. It is something that the T10 League considers as of paramount importance.”

128

Cricketers to be in action in the league

The T10 has roped in Col. Arvinder Singh, Chief Operating Officer of the T10 League, who was the former CEO of Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League to ensure that the event is staged professionally. “Our league will be wholesome entertainment, which will not interfere with cricket. Cricket will be serious and it is being held as per ICC guidelines. It is all about staging the league in a professional manner. Cricket will not be compromised at all costs,” said Singh.

Meanwhile, a court case filed in Pakistan attempted to stump the event in the eleventh hour as the names of two teams: Kerala Kings and Karachians were termed as phonetically deceptive and resembling that of Pakistan Super League’s Karachi Kings. The T10 organisers changed the names of Kerala Kings to Kerala Knights and Karachians to Sindhis, respectively. “We got the High Court stay vacated in time to ensure that the promotions and broadcasting of T10 is not affected in Pakistan. Considering the fan following in Pakistan for the event, we agreed to change the names of both teams. We are doing this only for this edition without prejudice as the court says but we have a stand and we will continue to argue to get the names back and we are confident about it. It’s just due to the shortage of time and sensitivity that we have dropped the names, but we will get it back,” said Shaji.

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Sixes were hit in the first edition

Sharjah Stadium will use three of its pitches for the matches. “Normally, two pitches are used in Sharjah but two pitches for 29 games over 12 days, is not conducive to good cricket. So we asked them for a third pitch. Though there was a little issue for TV having to cover third pitch from a camera perspective. We have taken care of that by making some structural changes and alterations to ensure the pitch gets covered,” revealed Singh.

Image Credit: Gulf News