Kumar Sangakkara Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Organisers of the UAE T20X have announced Kumar Sangakkara as the fifth icon player to sign up for the inaugural tournament, which is set to take place from 19th December to 11th January.

Sangakkara’s announcement follows the news that Pakistani legend Shahid Afridi will also join the league alongside cricketing icons from around the world including England’s Eoin Morgan, South Africa’s David Miller and West Indian Andre Russell.

“UAE T20X brings a new evolution to T20 cricket, a format that is already driven by innovation and progress,” Sangakkara said. “Its dedication to being one of the most globally representative leagues in the world, and commitment to promoting young talent, is an inspirational vision, and I can’t wait to be a part of this unique league.

“The UAE is truly becoming a world-class destination for cricket. The facilities here are beyond excellent, and they’re constantly improving. I think it’s amazing to be here and see what the country is doing to develop the game of cricket nationwide. It’s also a fantastic place to visit as a fan and those who travel to watch UAE T20X will not be disappointed with the country or the tournament.”

If there was ever a player to embody the definition of the “gentleman’s game”, Sangakkara is widely regarded as that player. Bringing together a well-spoken demeanour, sportsmanlike politeness, and outstanding batting abilities, Sangakkara continues to stand out as a unique figure in the world of cricket. The two-time cricket world cup finalist also boasts a number of unrivalled career records, including being the fastest player to reach 11,000 and 12,000 runs in test cricket, being the first and only batsman to score four consecutive hundreds in One Day Internationals (ODIs), and the first batsman to score half a century in two difference ICC T20 World Cup finals.

Commenting on the announcement of Sangakkara, Salman Sarwar Butt, CEO of UAE T20X, said: “This is a very important milestone for us, and we couldn’t hope for a better name than Sangakkara to complete this line-up of UAE T20X’s player icons.

“Sangakkara is a world-class addition to our league, and his involvement bolsters the international representation that this league boasts. We look forward to seeing him in action at UAE T20X this December.”

UAE T20X will make its debut this December with five new franchise teams vying for the inaugural title in a 22-match format to be played over 24 days. The five franchises will comprise a squad of 16 featuring six international star players, four emerging and junior players, three ICC Associate Member players, and three UAE national team players. No other T20 competition has been established with these developmental goals at their core, and no other event will showcase such a wide array of international talent.