KKR
Knight Riders Group, which also owns the Kolkata Knight Riders, has acquired Abu Dhabi Knight Riders that will be part of the six-team UAE International League Twenty20, to be held in January-February next year. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Emirates Cricket Board, on Monday, has confirmed that the inaugural ILT20 League will be played between the window of January 6 to Febauray 12 2023. The new League will be called “International League T20” or “ILT20”.

Shaikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board, said: “Emirates Cricket Board is delighted to welcome Reliance Industries, Kolkata Knight Riders, Capri Global, GMR, Lancer Capital, Adani Sportsline, broadcaster ZEE and all other stakeholders to the newly established T20 League of UAE. Such illustrious, experienced names and entites as partners bodes well for the UAE T20 League. Through the commitment of these partners they have demonstrated confidence in the Emirates Cricket Board as we take the game into the future.

Achieve new heights

“As we begin this long journey I am confident that together we will achieve new heights and in the process provide entertainment and excitement to the millions of fans around the globe who are waiting for the first ball of the UAE T20 League to be bowled.

“On behalf of ECB let me assure everyone that while being entertained on field with cricket, you will also be entertained by our traditional UAE hospitality off the field.”

The six-team franchise-style League will be played over a 34-match schedule at world-renowned, world-class venues of UAE. The tournament will also provide a valuable platform for Emirates Cricket to take developing their local talent to a higher level, where UAE-based players currently integrated in the Board’s programme, as well as those identified by the High Performance Coaching and Selection Committee teams, will be given the opportunity to train and play alongside some of the world’s best minds of today’s game.

Vitally important

Khalid Al Zarooni, Chairman, ILT20 said: “Emirates Cricket, and the UAE, has a proven history of identifying and embracing initiatives that underpin the success of the game. It is vitally important, that through this tournament UAE-based players continue to flourish, which is one of the objective of this League.

“The ILT20 wishes to thank Shaikh Nahayan for his unstinting support to UAE cricket which, under his guidance, has been growing from strength to strength. We look forward to introducing to the world a T20 event that will provide unmatched competition and entertainment to the ardent followers of this game.”

Dr Tayeb Kamali, Chairman, Selection Committee - Emirates Cricket Board, said: “The annual ILT20 event presents an excellent exposure for our players given the highly intense and competitive nature of the league. Each of the six teams in the 34-match tournament provide a wonderful opportunity for our young cricketers to play competitive cricket with world-class players.

“Further, such a unique international league would play a big role in attracting and nurturing a larger pool of players who will go on to represent the UAE in the years to come. We look forward to the inaugural event and our players taking full advantage of the opportunity.”