Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle, Kumar Sangakkara and Shahid Afridi are all set to play in a Ten Cricket League (T10) later this year in the UAE.
According to PTI, these four star-studded names will participate in the 10-over-a-side tournament, between December 21-24 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
While the league’s auction is set to take place in the UAE soon, participating teams are expected to include: Team Punjabis, Team Pakhtoons, Team Sindhis, Team Banglas, Team Lankans, Team Keralites and Team Maratha.
Reports have revealed that Pakistan legend Afridi, who scored a 42-ball hundred for Hampshire in their Twenty20 Blast quarter-final victory against Derbyshire on Tuesday night, will lead the Pakhtoons.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) officials are expected to travel to the UAE next week to discuss finalising Sharjah Cricket Stadium as the venue of their first-ever Test match, Sport360° understands.
Afghanistan, along with Ireland, were confirmed as Full Members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) during a board meeting in June and the Asian side hope to play Zimbabwe in their maiden five-day fixture as part of a series later this year.
Although Afghanistan have played their home games in Greater Noida in India since 2016, Sharjah has been identified as the preferred option due to the climate.
Sport360° understands a meeting with UAE cricket officials was postponed but are likely to hold talks again as early as next week to discuss the matter.
If a deal is agreed it would mean Afghanistan returning to Sharjah – a venue they called home between 2010-16. During that period, Afghanistan won 10 of their 15 ODIs and six of nine T20 internationals as they became a dominant Associate force in the limited-overs formats.
Besides Sharjah, Afghanistan have plenty of experience of playing in other venues in this country. They registered a 3-0 series whitewash over the UAE at the ICC Academy in December before triumphing at the inaugural Desert T20, which was held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi at the start of the year.
ACB will have to appoint a new head coach after deciding not to renew Lalchand Rajput’s contract.
Fahad Al Hashmi is still hopeful of representing the UAE national outdoor team and is adamant he must seize his chance at the Indoor World Cup if he wants to earn a recall after a two-year absence.
Al Hashmi, 35, has not played for his country since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on his right knee during his team’s 146-run defeat to South Africa at the 2015 World Cup in Wellington, New Zealand.
Despite being fully fit, the fast-bowler has struggled to force his way back into the outdoor set-up but impressed the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) selectors during the trials to be named in the UAE 12-man squad for next month’s Indoor World Cup at Dubai’s Insportz Club.
While Al Hashmi says it’s a privilege to have made the cut, he knows the global tournament is the perfect opportunity to break his way back into head coach Dougie Brown’s plans.
“I’m really proud to have been selected and to represent the UAE again,” said Al Hashmi, who has won 21 international caps.
“After my long-term injury, I’m now fit and ready to represent my country again.
“I’m still hopeful that I have an international future with the outdoor UAE team. I have been given a golden chance and I do think I can bowl 10 overs because I don’t have any problems.
“The Indoor World Cup is the right platform to show people that I’m at my level best. I want to prove that I can play but I know if I want to have any hope of coming back into the team, I will have to take a lot of wickets, bowl very good overs and keep fit in the tournament.”
Although he has been in exile, Al Hashmi remains in the Emirates Cricket Board’s (ECB) plans through one of their initiatives. Since April, Al Hashmi is one of four Emirati cricketers to have been put through their paces through a series a fitness and skill sessions aimed at developing their game.
That has seen him work with the UAE coaching staff, including head coach Brown, assistant Dominic Telo and strength and conditioning coach Peter Kelly.
He said: “Having been out of action for so long and always wanting to develop myself, I’ve been going to the ICC Academy for a series of coaching sessions. The ECB is really supporting me and people like Dougie Brown, Dominic Telo and Peter Kelly have really helped me. I’m now performing well and feel good with the ball in taking wickets.
“Dougie has been satisfied with me and I’m doing what he says and I have improved a lot. So let’s see what happens. I just want to give my level best and hope we do well.”