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Kieron Pollard, a pillar of five-time Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians, will be their main man for MI Emirates in UAE International Twenty20 League. team team. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News archives

Dubai: Former West Indian skipper and the trusted warrior of Mumbai Indians will be once again leading the team’s charge after being named in the MI Emirates squad for the UAE International League T20 to be held in January next year.

MI Emirates, to be based in Abu Dhabi, became the first of the six-team franchise to announce the squad that has a mix of current and past Mumbai Indians players that include Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Trent Boult, who both return to the Blue and Gold outfit, while Nicholas Pooran has been the new addition to the #OneFamily.

Akash M Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Jio, in a statement said: “I am delighted with our dynamic group of 14 players that will be part of our #Onefamily and represent ‘MI Emirates’. We are glad to have one of our key pillars, Kieron Pollard continue with MI Emirates. Joining us back are Dwayne Bravo, Trent Boult, and Nicholas Pooran. A very warm welcome to all players of MI Emirates.” The team wears a perfect mix of experience and youth with the likes of Imran Tahir, Samit Patel and Andre Fletcher lending their experience along with the other stars for the young players like Najibullah Zadran and Zahir Khan to prosper in their career.

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Trent Boult discussing the field placements with Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma in Dubai in September 2020.. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

“MI is known to strike a balance between experience and investing in young talent to unlock their true potential, which will help us play the MI way. This is what fans expect from us and will drive the MI ethos forward,” Akash M Ambani added.

The globetrotting West Indian duo, Pollard and Bravo, are the specialists in the shortest format and are in an exclusive 600 club. Pollard recently became the first cricketer to play 600 Twenty20 matches after turning out for London Spirit in The Hundred while Bravo became the first bowler to claim 600 wickets in Twenty20, claiming two for 29 for Northern Superchargers in The Hundred on Thursday.

World-class facilities

Making its debut in January 2023, the inaugural ILT20, which has received multi-year ICC approval, will be played in a 34-match format across the UAE’s world-class cricket facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Franchise owners include Reliance Industries, Kolkata Knight Riders, Capri Global, GMR, Lancer Capital, and Adani Sportsline.

The teams will be announcing more players that will include the UAE players and some more from the associate nations.

Commenting on the team-structure, Mubashshir Usmani, Emirates Cricket’s General Secretary, had said: “It’s exciting to see how well the squads are shaping up for the first season of ILT20. Each team will consist of 18 players including four UAE players and two other players from ICC Associate countries. The quality of the names announced today is outstanding and so is the interest in our league from top players from all around the world.”

The MI Emirates squad:

Kieron Pollard (West Indies)

Dwayne Bravo (West Indies)

Nicholas Pooran (West Indies)

Trent Boult (New Zealand)

Andre Fletcher (West Indies)

Imran Tahir (South Africa)

Samit Patel (England)

Will Smeed (England)

Jordan Thompson (England)

Najibullah Zadran (Afghanistan)

Zahir Khan (Afghanistan)

Fazalhaq Farooqui (Afghanistan)

Bradley Wheal (Scotland)

Bas De Leede (Netherlands).