Dubai: Shaji ul Mulk, who visualised the concept of T10 format and is the chairman of the T10 League, is a busy man shaping the second edition of the event which will be held from November 21 to December 2 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The huge success of the first edition allowed him to expand the event but he also been forced to face huge challenges.
In an exclusive interview to Gulf News, Shaji explained in depth his plans to ensure that the second edition — a 12-day tournament — is a big hit.
What prompted you to have a bigger edition this year than the last one?
The last year’s four-day event was more of a trial event. Any cricket property, to have some commercial sense, need to have a duration of 10 to 15 days. So we tested the tournament last year and we found that we have a good product and that is why we now gone into a commercial model. The television, the broadcasters and sponsors, they all need an certain amount of exposure, so we expanded the size of the event.
What is the reaction of the team owners? How satisfied are they with the growth of the event?
The owners have seen the excitement being part of the whole unit. When we announced our expansion we got two more new teams. So all are looking forward for a much larger tournament though we have the challenges of doing a bigger tournament this year. We have a bigger team handling it and everybody is satisfied with the way it is shaping up.
Has there been any attempt to disparage the image of the tournament before the second edition?
A negative campaign was run by our ex-president. It was nothing but an absolute commercial dispute. Now since we have already sent him a defamation notice, it is public knowledge now. He went against the league because he owns a media and he ran a negative campaign but as you can see we had all the authorities backing us such as the Emirates Cricket Board, the International Cricket Council and Pakistan Cricket Board and they gave us complete clearance. Now everything he was doing, like planting all the stories, have come out as false.
What was the reaction of the new cricketers when approached for the second event?
It was amazing. The word of mouth was so strong. The players who played in the T10 League last year were so satisfied that they talked about their satisfaction, the financial dealing and everything to new players. So we have all the big international players this time. We did not have people like Shane Watson, Sunil Narine, Zaheer Khan and Chris Gayle last year. We have all of them this year.
What would be the impact of many Indian players participating in the coming edition?
The T10 League will be the only league after the Indian Premier League (IPL) with maximum Indian players. It will also be the league where Indian and Pakistan players are playing together and it is the dream of the subcontinent fans. Thus we have become a very unique league this year. The impact of Indian players is huge because 85 per cent of the global revenues comes from India. You will have a strong market when the Indian players attract the Indian audience so we are very optimistic that we, by adding the eight Indian players, have taken the league to a new level.