Cricket’s hottest new format, the T10 Cricket League moved into top gear when the ‘Pick Order’ Draw of the six franchise owners took place at the exclusive members only ‘Capital Club’ on Tuesday (October 24) evening in Dubai.
Reminiscent of major international sports leagues such as NFL, NBA or PSL (Pakistan Super League), the ‘Pick Order’ Draw determines which team will get the first pick in the ‘Player Draft’ to be held in Dubai next month for the inaugural edition of the T10 Cricket League.
There was a buzz and excitement when owners of the six franchises namely Punjabi Legends, Pakhtoons, Maratha Arabians, Bengal Tigers, Colombo Lions and Kerala Kings came up to the stage to dip into a fish bowl to pick the number of their respective teams first.
It reached a crescendo during the second round when each of the team owners picked up one of the six randomly placed bats and peeled off a hidden number from 1 – 6 to determine who will get the first and last pick in the first round of the Draft.
There was friendly banter and rivalry amid a spirit of fair play as owners came up to select their bats with Anis Sajan, co-owner of Bengal Tigers even preferring to depend on ‘Lady Luck’ during the draw.
However, it was Maratha Arabians who came up trumps in the draw after team owners Parvez Khan and Ali picked up the No.1 bat to give them a head start in the Draft.
Colombo Lions co-owners Vijay Vyas and Kashif Shahzad picked up bat No.2, Pakhtoons owner Habib Khan selected bat No.3, Bengal Tigers claimed bat No. 4, Kerala Kings co-owner Hussain Adam Ali got bat No.5 while Punjabi Legends had to settle for bat No.6.
The pick orders for the rest of the rounds will be done randomly to give some form of equality to all teams.
The T10 Cricket League’s Board of Directors and team owners have been swinging into action ever since the first ever T10 Cricket League was launched amid glitz and glamour, in the presence of celebrities and star cricketers on October 3, 2017 at the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai.
The Owners ‘Pick Order’ Draw, a lottery system that gives Team Owners the advantage of securing their favourite players in the first round of the upcoming Draft on November, virtually kick-started the T10 Cricket League in the presence of an enthusiastic audience including members of the local and international media.
The Owners ‘Pick Order’ Draw was further enhanced and interest heightened after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) extended their full support to the much talked about T10 Cricket League which came closely on the heels of other national cricket governing bodies such as the Sri Lanka Cricket, Bangladesh Cricket Board, Zimbabwe Cricket and Emirates Cricket Board approving this extravaganza to be held at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE from December 14 to 17.
The attraction of Shahid Afridi and the strong line-up of centrally contracted players from Pakistan and Bangladesh, will add a whole new bang to this much looked to 10 over format. With a potential audience of over 1.4 billion South Asian people, 90 minutes of action, 10 overs a side, star players, celebrities, performance shows, South Asian rivalries, performances after every over, drama and nail biting finishes it is undoubtedly cricket’s newest and hottest attraction.
Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman of Mulk Holdings and the T10 Cricket League, expressed his excitement to the team owners: “I am delighted to announce that the inaugural T10 Cricket League Draft will feature some of the best international cricketers it has to offer and second to none in its approach of fast paced, captivating and world famous brand ambassadors. On behalf of the team owners, the board of directors and the Emirates Cricket Board, I would like the fans to get behind their respective favorite teams in full spirit and support the hottest format cricket has to offer, the T10 Cricket League!”
Salman Iqbal, President of the T10 Cricket League and Founder and CEO of ARY digital network speaking on the PCB approval and Owners draw said: “Some of the cricketers in the Player Draft are some of the most exciting players in the world with star following of millions of passionate fans. They will be an integral part of our leagues’ success. I would like to thank all the cricket boards for their support for the T10 Cricket League and their progressive thinking towards the development of this game that we all love and wish all the team owners best of luck for the Draft!”
Also adding to the mix of T10 Cricket League, list of current international players including Eoin Morgan captain of the England team, Shakib Al Hasan, Virender Sehwag and Sangakkara, is the ‘cricketentainment’ which will begin from the first ball!
Over 100 performers per match to entertain crowds, crowd interaction, player interaction, rivalries, over 20 celebrities in attendance every match, International players and cricketing action from the first ball!
Team captains and coaches will have to adjust to the new format by deploying new strategies and adapting to the T10 Cricket League.
Speaking to the press Shahid Afridi said: “When I was told of the idea I was thrilled and requested that I want to play.”
Teams are solely based in and around the South Asian subcontinent and icons of business, movie industry and sport both in and around the region, including Bollywood actors have bought teams which include – Punjabi Legends (Inzamam Ul Haq and Intizar Ul Haq) led by Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakhtoons (Habib Khan) led by Shahid Afridi, Maratha Arabians (Parvez Khan, Bollywood star: Sohail Khan and Ali Tumbi led by Virender Sehwag), Bengal Tigers (Anis Sajan, Rizwan Sajan, Sirajuddin Alam and Neelesh Bhagatanar), Colombo Lions (Vijay Vyas, Kashif Shahzad and Mohomed Morani led by Shoaib Malik) and Kerala Kings (Hussain Adam Ali and Dr.Shafi Ul Mulk . The games will be broadcast all over the world.
Action takes place from December 14-17 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched a probe after Pandurang Salgaonkar, the curator of the Pune pitch, was revealed promising to pass on pitch information to a group of undercover journalists ahead of the second ODI between India and New Zealand.
An India Today TV sting report showed Salgaonkar promising to pass on information on the playing surface in addition to being open to manipulating the pitch to the reporters who had posed as bookies.
The BCCI has already sought a detailed report into the incident from the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) while Salgaonkar has been immediately fired from his role.
“A strict action has been taken against the pitch curator and the employment relationship between Pandurang Salgaonkar and MCA stands terminated,” BCCI Chief Executive Rahul Johri said in a statement.
“The BCCI is in touch with the MCA and appropriate measures will be taken with regards to the matter. The BCCI will continue to enforce strict measures in case of such misconduct in the future,” he went on to add.
Breaking now: Powerful expose on cricket pitch fixing. Pune curator caught on camera fixing pitch for bookies ahead of today’s ODI. @BCCI
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) October 25, 2017
The ICC on its part said they were in touch with Anti Corruption Unit Officer deployed in India for further information into the matter.
“We are investigating the allegations from Pune this morning,” an ICC spokesman told Reuters.
“As with all international cricket, the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit has an ICC ACU Manager on the ground in India and we are in close contact with him.
“We are now looking to establish the facts and will make no further comment whilst this is ongoing,” the official concluded.
The second ODI at Pune went ahead as scheduled after ICC Match referee Chris Broad cleared the pitch after an inspection.
India’s bowling has come under scrutiny after failing to defend 281 in the first ODI against New Zealand. The Kiwis romped to a six-wicket win with the help of a 200-run stand between Tom Latham and Ross Taylor, with none of Indian bowlers making an impact.
Seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are one of the finest new and old ball bowlers in the world while spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have provided breakthroughs in the middle overs consistently. But they fell flat in Mumbai, putting extra pressure on the Indians as the hosts look to avoid a rare series defeat in the second match in Pune Wednesday. However, for bowling coach Bharat Arun, there is no reason to panic.
“In all fairness, India have won nine games on the trot (nine of their last ten before the Mumbai ODI) and the two wrist spinners (Chahal and Kuldeep) have done their job,” Arun said.
“Time and again, they have taken wickets. Sometimes, it does happen that you don’t get the desired wickets, or you have your plans in place but they don’t work out. If you look at the overall percentages, we are happy with the way they have shaped up, so one odd match shouldn’t trouble us.”
Despite the comprehensive defeat, Arun said the team management is not looking at tinkering with the line-up.
“You’ve got to consider the weather, consider the workload, how much they have bowled in the match, how much they have bowled at. It’s (bowling line-up) not just the decision of the bowling coach, it is a combined decision of the physio, trainer and the bowling coach.”
India have such faith in their current bowling attack, the likes of experienced quicks Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami are not even part of the squad and have been asked to play first-class cricket to remain in top shape.
“If you look at Shami and Umesh, they are your No1 Test bowlers,” he pointed out. “And Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah have been exceptional and possess all the skills to do well in one-day competitions. With the volume of cricket India is going to play, it is very important that we have a pool of bowlers to choose from so that they remain fresh for every form of the game that we play.”
Apart from the quicks, even veteran spinners Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been deemed surplus to the team’s requirements. Whether these bowlers, now considered Test specialists, continue to be kept out of the team remains to be seen. Defeat today, however, might just change that equation.
The bowling coach said falling 1-0 behind in the series might just be the wake-up call the team needs and will help the players prepare for tougher assignments away from home.
“We look at it as a big challenge right now,” he insisted. “New Zealand compete exceptionally well, they had a fantastic partnership (in Mumbai) and they went on to win that game. It is a bigger challenge for us now to come back. We know we have our plans in place and it is good testing ground for the team (on) how you come back from behind and do well in the series.”