ICC sanction second edition of the T10 League in Sharjah

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Eoin Morgan was one of the players to feature in 2017

The International Cricket Council (ICC) officially sanctioned the second season of the T10 League which will be held in November.

The 10-over event begins from November 23 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium that will see eight franchises compete in an expanded 10-day competition.

Last year’s inaugural edition had been approved by the ICC and T10 League chairman Shaji Ul-Mulk said the sanctioning is important for their growth.

“This sanction from ICC for T10 League gives our partners, stakeholders and more importantly the players a much-needed boost,” he said. “Having said that, it additionally gives us responsibility to ensure we keep growing year-on-year and make this format globally acceptable.”

Salman Iqbal, T10 League president, added: “The sanction from the ICC will only add further shine to the global appeal of the event. We believe that value creation for the new teams will see a positive growth from year one. From four-day league to a ten-day league with more teams and larger pool of international players is a testament of faith shown by fans and stakeholders.”

Following on from last year’s success, which was won by Eoin Morgan’s Kerala Kings side, the 2018 edition has so far attracted some of the biggest names in cricket.

Afghanistan teenager Rashid Khan (Maratha Arabians), Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi (Pakhtoons) and Shoaib Malik (Punjabi Legends), Morgan (Kerala Kings), New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum (Rajputs), West Indies’ Sunil Narine (Bengal Tigers), Darren Sammy (Northern Warriors) and Australia’s Shane Watson (Karachians) have been named as icon players. Team owners will finalise their squads in early September.

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Is it time to use the English Duke ball across the globe?

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The Duke ball is part of English cricket's make-up.

England uses Duke balls in Test cricket for its home matches. India uses its own SG ball. And the rest of the world uses Australia’s Kookaburra ball.

All three balls have different characteristics. Kookaburra balls are the hardest and retain their shape. However, they offer very little help to the bowlers and on flatter wickets, they lose their seam quickly and struggle to aid spinners or seamers. The SG ball tends to go out of shape quickly and deteriorates alarmingly, making it an unreliable ball.

Which brings us to the English Duke. Widely considered as the best all-round cricket ball, the Duke has a pronounced seam that last longers, retains the shine for a greater duration and gives enough encouragement to seamers and spinners.

Which is why after the pulsating first Test between India and England, there were suggestions that Duke balls should be used across the globe.

“It would be nice if all Test cricket is played with Duke ball,” England coach Trevor Bayliss said. “It means you will always get a bit of sideways movement.”

And Duke balls offer a fair chance to everyone. With the Kookaburra, finger spinners can almost forget any help on flat surfaces once the seam goes and swing becomes almost non-existent.

As officials scramble for ideas to maintain interest levels in Test cricket, the idea of using Duke balls across the globe – suggested by Mike Atherton – makes great sense. You never know, even the traditional flat tracks in Australia and parts of the sub-continent might begin to see results with both seamers and spinners in the mix.

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India continue to sweat over pacer Jasprit Bumrah's fitness as Lord's Test approaches

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Bumrah is in a race against time to be fit for the Lord's Test.

As India fell to a narrow 31-run defeat in the first Test against England, they must have wondered what could have been had they had the services of pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

While Ishant Sharma was excellent with the ball for the visitors, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and even Hardik Pandya were guilty of giving too many freebies as they failed to find a consistent line and length.

Bhuvneshwar is already ruled out of the first three Tests but India would have secretly hoped that Bumrah recovers from his thumb injury in time for the second Test at Lord’s.

The latter has been out of action ever since he fractured his thumb in the second T20 against Ireland in Dublin. The Mumbai-born man had started his road to recovery as he remains with the Test team.

Bumrah was recently seen doing some throw-downs in the team’s net sessions raising hopes that he could be fit in time for the Lord’s Test which gets underway on August 9.

Bumrah had stepped up his recovery by resuming light bowling in the nets.

Bumrah had stepped up his recovery by resuming light bowling in the nets.

When naming the squad for the first three Tests of the five-match series, the BCCI had announced: “Jasprit Bumrah who has been included in the squad, will be available for selection from the 2nd Test onwards based on his fitness.”

However, it looks like the 24-year-old will be unavailable for the second Test.

According to a report by Cricketnext, sources close to the team are pessimistic about Bumrah’s chances of playing at Lord’s.

If that does turn out to be the case, India could be forced to field the same pace attack as Edgbaston with the inexperienced Shardul Thakur being their only option on the bench currently.

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