The great warrior race of Marathas is all set to resume battle, but on a fresh battle ground, the cricket fields of the UAE.
Named the Maratha Arabians, a franchise in the upcoming T10 Cricket League to be played over 10-overs-a-side, the squad featuring some of the world’s best known cricketers will do battle in the six-team tournament from December 14-17.
Maratha Arabians is co-owned by Parvez Khan of Pacific Ventures, Bollywood Actor/Producer/Director Sohail Khan and Ali Tumbi of Aqua Properties.
Sehwag leads a squad featuring a number of stars including former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, Pakistan’s stars Mohammed Amir and Kamran Akmal. Former Pakistan captain
Wasim Akram is the head coach and mentor of the squad with former England/Scotland cricketer Dougie Brown supporting him as the assistant coach.
The squad consists of players from nine countries including India, England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa, Netherlands and UAE.
The tournament is being staged under the aegis of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), with official approval of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Here’s what our captain @virendersehwag has to say to all #MarathaArabians fans & fellow teams. Get ready to see him in action at the @T10Cricket in Sharjah Cricket stadium. #AalaReAala pic.twitter.com/bu4thhyj8g
— Maratha arabians (@MarathaArabians) November 14, 2017
Speaking at the launch of the jersey, Sehwag said: “It is indeed a fresh start for cricket. I am excited about this format because it will be a lot of fun to play the kind of cricket I love. The fact that the tournament aims to entertain the fans at large fits in well with me because that has been my philosophy always. I look forward to rubbing shoulders with the best in the world once again at a historic venue like Sharjah.”
Maratha Arabians Co-owner Sohail Khan said: “Cricket has always been close to my heart. So when this opportunity came along, I was only too happy to get associated. It is a brilliant concept and as a team owner it provides us an excellent opportunity to maximise the popularity of the sport further. We have a fantastic squad with an iconic captain. It cannot get better than this.”
This is the second such association for Parvez Khan with a legendary Indian cricketer, after Pacific Ventures recently launched a Cricket Academy in Dubai with Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The MS Dhoni Cricket Academy (MSDCA) has been in operation for a couple of months at the Springdales School in Dubai. The former India captain, Dhoni, himself inaugurated the Academy during his recent visit to Dubai.
— T10 League (@T10LeagueTweets) November 5, 2017
Squad: Virender Sehwag (captain/icon/India), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), Mohammed Amir (Pakistan), Alex Hales (England), Lendl Simmons (West Indies), Imad Wasim (Pakistan), Krishmar Santokie (West Indies), Rilee Rousouw (South Africa), Roelof van der Merwe (Netherlands), Kamran Akmal (Pakistan), Mohammed Sami (Pakistan), Hardus Viljoen (South Africa), Ross Whiteley (England), Shaiman Anwar (UAE), Zahoor Khan (UAE); Head Coach and Mentor: Wasim Akram; Assistant coach: Dougie Brown (England); Manager: Abdul Latif Khan
Schedule of T10 Cricket League (All local UAE timings)
14 December 2017
Opening Ceremony from 1800 hours
Bengal Tigers v Kerala Kings
Maratha Arabians v Pakhtoons
15 December 2017
Bengal Tigers v Punjabi Legends from 1600 hours
Maratha Arabians v Team Sri Lanka from 1800 hours
Punjab Legends v Kerala Kings from 2000 hours
Pakhtoons v Team Sri Lanka from 2200 hours
16 December 2017
Team 1 of Group A v Team 3 of Group B from 1600 hours
Team 3 of Group A v Team 1 of Group B from 1800 hours
Team 2 of Group A v Team 2 of Group B from 2000 hours
Bottom 2 Teams of both the groups combined will play off for the 5th and 6th place from 2200 hours
17 December 2017
First Semi Finals: – Team 1 overall v Team 4 overall – match starting at 1730 hours
Second Semi Finals: – Team 2 overall v Team 3 overall
Followed by closing ceremony
As the UAE celebrates the momentous occasions of Martyr’s (November 30) and National Day (December 2), Abu Dhabi Cricket will mark the occasion with a cricketing fest.
Starting on November 29, Abu Dhabi will witness six matches across different competitions featuring UAE, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kenya and the United States. Fans can enjoy this cricket bonanza for free during the National Day Week.
Commencing the cricket fest, the UAE will take on Afghanistan in their ICC Intercontinental Cup 2015-17 clash at the Zayed Cricket Stadium from November 29 to December 2, 2017. This is a four-day first-class match.
So far, Afghanistan are unbeaten in the ongoing edition of the Intercontinental Cup. Meanwhile, the UAE are coming off victories against Namibia and Papua New Guinea in their recent games.
The hosts will then move onto the shorter format to face Nepal in two ICC World Cricket League Championship 2015-17 matches on December 6 and 8 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
These matches will be 50-over List A encounters and food concessions will be arranged for the convenience of the fans during these clashes.
Matthew Boucher, the Acting CEO of ADC said: “The recent success of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka bilateral series has given a new heartbeat to cricket in the Emirate and we are pleased to have more international games in Abu Dhabi. We at Abu Dhabi Cricket are always proud to host the UAE, particularly during this momentous occasion of National Day and invite the fans to join in the cricketing celebration.”
In addition to that, the USA, Kenya and Nepal will compete in a 50-over tri-nation tournament from December 1 to 3. These matches will take place at the Nursery Oval 2 within the ADC facility.
“One of our aims is to help the game grow and such tournaments are crucial to that endeavour. This is an important assignment for the USA, Nepal and Kenya as they continue their climb on the cricketing ladder,” Boucher said.
Leading up to the tri-series, team USA will conduct a training session with the players at the Zayed Cricket Academy on November 30.
Boucher added: “It is great to have the USA team share their experiences with the Zayed Cricket Academy boys and girls. This session will help the youngsters work on their skills and get inspired by players who are representing their country.”
The following is the schedule of the upcoming matches at Abu Dhabi:
ICC Intercontinental Cup
UAE vs Afghanistan – Zayed Cricket Stadium – November 29-December 2, 2017 – 09:30 AM start
TRI-Nation One-Day Tournament
USA vs Nepal – Nursery Oval 2 – December 1, 2017 – 9:00 AM start
USA vs Kenya – Nursery Oval 2 – December 2, 2017 – 9:00 AM start
Kenya vs Nepal – Nursery Oval 2 – December 3, 2017 – 9:00 AM start
ICC World Cricket League Championship
UAE vs Nepal – Zayed Cricket Stadium – December 6, 2017 – 10:00 AM start
UAE vs Nepal – Zayed Cricket Stadium – December 8, 2017 – 10:00 AM start
UAE all-rounder Natasha Michael says it’s a surreal feeling that the team have reached the next stage of the Women’s World Twenty20 qualifiers in their first ICC tournament.
A 34-run victory over Malaysia yesterday saw the UAE book their place in today’s final of the World Twenty20 Asian qualifiers against hosts Malaysia.
But more significantly, having finished in the top two of the competition, the UAE will fly to the Netherlands early next year for the Global Qualifiers – the final qualifying tournament for the 2018 showpiece event in West Indies.
The win over Malaysia in Bangkok made it four wins out of five after beating China, Nepal and Hong Kong earlier in the week and the achievement adds to an impressive list for the UAE women’s side, who only entered their first competition in 2007.
Since then, they have won two back-to-back Gulf Cup titles as well as reaching the final of the UAE Women’s International Cup in Sharjah last December.
They can now look forward to matches against the likes of Ireland, Scotland and Bangladesh in next year’s Global Qualifiers. For all-rounder Natasha Michael, who has been involved in the set-up since making her debut as a 12-year-old a decade ago, she ranks the qualification as the best ever.
“I don’t actually think it’s hit me that we’ve actually qualified for the Global Qualifiers in Netherlands next year,” said the 23-year-old.
“It feels very surreal that this is actually happening and this doesn’t compare to the other cups that we’ve won before. As much as they’re equally important to get us to this stage, this has been a dream that we’ve been chasing for the past 10 years, so for us to defeat teams like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, it’s by far the icing on the cake.”
Against Malaysia, Nisha Ali delivered another player-of-the-match performance for the third time in the competition. The 36-year-old scored an unbeaten 36 followed by a two-wicket haul as Malaysia fell short of the UAE’s 84-run target.
Michael insists yesterday’s result proved they are executing their game plan and hopes they can end their tournament on a high against Thailand today.
“It just shows that hard work pays off and we went in with a plan and we executed it,” he said. “We are glad to play cricket and it comes down to what steps are being taken because you need to have a Plan A and Plan B. The key to our success has been planning and how all the girls have come up with ideas.”