Mathew Boucher, cricketer Colin Ingram, Shaji Ul Mulk
From left: Mathew Boucher, cricketer Colin Ingram, Shaji Ul Mulk, Arif Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, cricketers Andre Fletcher and Luke Ronchi announce T10’s third edition. Image Credit: T10 League

Dubai: The third edition of the T10 League will create history by becoming the first cricket event to be held in UAE with the support of the government. This league, which was held for the two successive years at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, will also shift its base to Abu Dhabi’a Zayed Cricket Stadium and will be held from November 15-24.

Speaking to Gulf News, Shaji-Ul Mulk, the chairman of the T10 League, said: “Sharjah was important for us for the first two seasons due to its tradition and strength of cricket history behind it. This year, we move to Abu Dhabi as the Abu Dhabi government entities came up with a very strong five-year offer for us to make it a national integrated event. So it is a big step forward for us and a big progress where for the first time in the UAE and Middle East, the government entity will be supporting cricket.

“In the past, other sports have been supported by the government like Formula One, Rugby and horseracing but cricket never had been a government supported event. So we are very happy and proud that T10 have been selected by the Abu Dhabi government where all the three entities such as Abu Dhabi Tourism, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Cricket are all contributing together to make T10 an Abu Dhabi sports event.”

Mathew Boucher, the Chief Executive Offficer of Abu Dhabi Cricket, believes that the Abu Dhabi chapter of this league will be special. “We are very pleased and excited as this is the first time ever that the Department of Culture and Tourism, the Sports Council and Abu Dhabi cricket have partnered together to bring in another world class event to Abu Dhabi’s glowing sports portfolio. Looks like it is going to be a wonderful week in November 2019 and we appreciate the support of everybody in Abu Dhabi,” said Boucher.

Shaji, who visualised this league, is delighted with the growing popularity of the event. Eoin Morgan, the ICC 2019 World Cup wining captain, who captains Kerala Kings in T10 League, even named T10 as the best league he had played in a recent interview. “More than 200 players have registered for us from all over the world. Now we can safely say that T10 has become one of the most popular cricketing properties in the world for the players. The only restriction for them will be their national duty or otherwise everybody, whoever is free and don’t have a national duty, want to play here,” said Shaji, who revealed that Morgan has made himself available skipping another league in South Africa.

“Morgan is a classic example among many others who prefer this tournament. In fact, Morgan who was not aware of the T10 dates had confirmed to play in the South African league and we were at risk of losing Morgan. As Morgan feels so strongly for the T10 league that he has reconfirmed to us that he will be playing here with us.”

Boucher, who wants to make T10 an event to remember for the fans, said there will be a fans’ village at the stadium for the fans. “We will be preparing and offering a fans friendly village with some restaurants, pop ups and kids activities. We will be offering very attractive activities for all families and so all demographics can involve with it. For us, it’s a five-year-deal that we have signed with the Government of Abu Dhabi and T10 sports management and this gives us time to improve. We are very excited and that is why we did not want to sign a one-year deal, or a two-year deal but we signed a long-term five year deal to ensure that this is sustainable for us and the emirate.”

Shaji is expecting fans from around the world to watch the T10 league. “Abu Dhabi Tourism has integrated our event as part of their calendar and they are promoting the T10 aggressively, especially through their the roadshows around the world. So we are expecting a large number of tourists at the T10 this year.”