Moeen Ali  Dawid Malan Andre Russell-1659966629779
Moeen Ali, Dawid Malan and Andre Russell Image Credit: AP/AFP

Dubai: Moeen Ali, Andre Russell and Dawid Malan are some of the top names to headline an array of international stars signed-on to participate in the inaugural UAE’s International League T20, the ILT20, announced on Monday.

Some of the biggest names in global T20 cricket from countries including England, the West Indies, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland, as well as from various leading ICC Associate Nations including USA, Namibia, Netherlands and Nepal have now signed-on to represent the League’s heavy-hitting Franchise-owners — Reliance Industries, Kolkata Knight Riders, Capri Global, GMR, Lancer Capital, and Adani Sportsline — to dazzle fans in UAE’s Inaugural Event.

Khalid Al Zarooni, Chairman, UAE ILT20 League, said: “Over the past weeks, ILT20’s six franchises have started discussions and engaged with players, and players’ agents, to exercise their ‘Direct Acquisition’ rights, and we are extremely delighted to be in a position today to announce the first set of players who will compete in UAE’s Inaugural (T20) League.”

Outstanding interest

Commenting on the team-structure, Mubashshir Usmani, Emirates Cricket’s General Secretary, 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 4 UAE players and 2 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.”

Further international players will be announced by the league later this week and then the process to sign the four UAE players for each team will commence.

As one of the leading ICC Associate Members, Emirates Cricket remains cognisant of its role to inspire burgeoning and existing member-unions, as well as to provide sustainable and effective opportunities to bolster UAE National-team players through continued investment in their development.

Key objectives

“We are very excited that a select number of UAE representative-players, from our current pool, will also be considered and signed-on to participate in the League, it is also extremely important to note that these (UAE) players will form part of the team’s playing XI.

“One of the key objectives for ILT20 is to provide opportunities for players from UAE and other Associate nations to perform on the big stage, and, ECB extends its deep appreciation to the six franchises for their support of our vision to grow our game and create stronger, more competitive players,” added Usmani.

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 exemplary, world-class facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

List of marquee players:
Moeen Ali
Andre Russell
Dawid Malan
Wanindu Hasaranga
Sunil Narine
Evin Lewis
Colin Munro
Fabien Allen
Sam Billings
Tom Curran
Alex Hales
Dushmantha Chameera
Shimron Hetmyer
Akeal Hosein
Chris Jordan
Tom Banton
Chris Lynn
Rovman Powell
Bhanuka Rajapaksa
Mujeeb Ul Rahman

With more players to be announced in the coming days, the ILT20 franchise-teams will be bolstered by further names from global cricket including:

Lahiru Kumara, Seekugge Prassanna, Charith Asalanka, Colin Ingram, Paul Stirling, Kennar Lewis, Ali Khan, Brandon Glover, Ravi Rampaul, Raymon Reifer, Isuru Udana, Blessing Muzarabani, Niroshan Dickwella, Hazaratullah Zazai, Frederick Klassen, Sikandar Raja, George Munsey, Dan Lawrence, Dominic Drakes, Jamie Overton, Liam Dawson, David Wiese, Qais Ahmed, Richard Gleeson, James Vince, Noor Ahmed, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Navin Ul Haq, Sherfane Rutherford, Saqib Mahmood, Ben Duckett, Benny Howell, Ruben Trumpelman.