South Africa’s cricket hero AB De Villiers, who once played a marathon unbeaten knock of 278 runs at the Abu Dhabi Zayed Cricket Stadium against Pakistan in the second Test of the November 2010 series, has been made the Global Ambassador of the Emirates Cricket Board’s UAE T20X, their first T20 international T20 league to be held from December 19 to January 11 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Announcing the new role of De Villiers, Zayed Abbas, Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) board member and official spokesperson said: “Our intention is to build a new league that is here to stay, with innovation and fan engagement at its heart. To do this, we need to work with the very best, and this is certainly the case with AB de Villiers, who has an unparalleled track record when it comes to entertaining fans. His knowledge and expertise will be invaluable as we aim to leave a lasting legacy for the game. Cricket legends such as AB will also help this league promote the UAE as an international cricket hub, a producer of world-class cricket players and a major destination for prestigious cricketing events.”

De Villiers, who stunned the world by retiring from international cricket despite his stupendous form and holds the world record for the fastest half-century (16 balls), century (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls) in ODIs, and is one of the few batsmen to top both Test and 50-over rankings at the same time, said: “UAE T20x is a really exciting addition to the cricketing calendar, and its ambition to give more young, emerging cricketers, from around the world, the chance to play this format alongside some of the world’s best, is what really appealed to me. I’m delighted to be taking on this role as a T20x ambassador, particularly as it will be focused on helping to grow the game that I love in the UAE and around the world.”

UAE T20X has been boosted by players from seven Test nations such as England, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa agreeing to play in the 22-match format to be played over 24 days.