Gulf Giants players celebrate their win over Desert Vipers in the final of DP World ILT20 in the first edition. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: For budding cricketers any opportunity to play competitive games helps them hone their skills. So every new tournament announced is a welcome bonus for the cricketers. That’s why the launch of the International League T20 Development Tournament plays such a crucial role. The tournament, which begins from September 30, will provide a fantastic opportunity to UAE’s domestic players as well as those who have played internationals (ODIs and T20Is) of showcasing their talent and impressing the DP World ILT20 franchises for selection in the squads for Season 2.

So far, the six franchises have retained 11 UAE players as part of their squads for Season 2. This means 13 spots are still up for grabs (franchises need to have at least four UAE players in their squads). All 11 players retained by the franchises including Ali Naseer (Desert Vipers), Aayan Afzal Khan (Gulf Giants), Junaid Siddique (Sharjah Warriors), Matiullah (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders), Mohammad Waseem (MI Emirates), Muhammad Jawadullah (Sharjah Warriors), Raja Akif (Dubai Capitals), Rohan Mustafa (Desert Vipers), Sabir Ali (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders), Sanchit Sharma (Gulf Giants) and Zahoor Khan (MI Emirates) are expected to participate in the ILT20 Development Tournament.

Six teams will feature in the ILT20 Development Tournament, each team will play five matches (one against each team) in the group stage. The top four sides at the end of the group stage will progress to the semi-finals. The group stage matches will be played at the ICC Academy Grounds. The tournament final will be played on October 10. The tournament schedule and the final squads will be announced in the next few days.

'Life changing opportunity'

Each team will include 14 players overseen by experienced support staff; the squads will be formed through a Player Draft which will take place next week. More than 300 domestic players have signed up for the pre-tournament Player Draft.

The six head coaches will spearhead the selection process with the assistance of their respective support staff, whilst the Emirates Cricket Board’s Development Manager and Tournament Director of the ILT20 Development Tournament, Andy Russell will oversee the selection process.

General Secretary Emirates Cricket Board Mubashshir Usmani: “We are very happy to see UAE players being provided an opportunity to show their skills through the ILT20 Development Tournament. This initiative is truly a life changing opportunity for these players.

“I am confident that the tournament will be hugely beneficial for the growth of the game and will become a launch pad for participation in the DP World ILT20 as well as aiding in identification and selection of players for UAE’s men’s teams in the years ahead.”

After the tournament, all participating players (other than the 11 retained) will be eligible for selection in DP World ILT20 Season 2. The 13 vacant spots for UAE players across the six franchises will be filled via a DP World ILT20 organised Player Draft that will take place after the Development Tournament.