Dubai: Come February next year, the imposing Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai will host a five-day extravaganza of ‘cage cricket.’ A clutch of marquee stars like Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh, Shahid Afridi, Kevin Pietersen and Andre Russell will be in the fray for this unique series of one-to-one contests called the Ultimate Kricket Challenge.
Launching the event by posing like a boxing match-up, both the ‘Universe Boss’ Gayle and the recently retired Yuvraj Singh said they were looking forward to a new version of their game – which has seen a series of innovations with the format with the UAE-based T10 League emerging as the shortest form so far. The tentative dates for the event are from February 18-23.
“I can’t wait to have a practice run,” said Gayle, easily the most sought after batsman in white ball cricket of this generation. “It’s a new and exciting format and it’s growth depends on how we start the first edition,” said Yuvraj, the only batsman to hit six sixes in an over in a World Cup when he took England’s Stuart Broad to the cleaners in the inaugural World T20 in 2007.
The event – almost a cricketing clone of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), will see match-ups between two cricketers for a contest of 30 balls per player. If a player gets dismissed for a total of five times, his innings is considered to be over while each match will be determined by more number of runs scored.
The match balls, which were on display at the press conference, will be lighter than normal balls at 130oz. Each day, the matches will continue for two hours and will have a sizeable presence of Bollywood quotient as well with stars and dance numbers.