Darren Sammy among the stars ready for T10 League opener in Sharjah

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West Indies star Sammy is one of the big names on show.

A new chapter in cricket will be marked on Thursday evening when the T10 League gets underway in Sharjah and before a ball is even bowled, elite cricketers are eager to play their part in making it a big success.

England limited-overs captain, Eoin Morgan, World T20-winning skipper Darren Sammy, ex-Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and pacer Mohammad Amir are just some of the biggest names to have signed up for the four-day competition at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

With the 10-over matches lasting just over 90 minutes, the players will be stepping into the unknown of what to expect but Bengal Tigers’ all-rounder Sammy says he has a responsibility to “entertain” the crowd in the stands.

“This format could well create a window and we all have to embrace it,” said the West Indian.

“It’s much shorter and players are going to go hard at the batsman and at the same time the batsmen will be trying to hit the ball out of the park. It’s non-stop adrenaline and it’s important for us to embrace. My job is to entertain and help it go a long way.”

Despite the popularity of the sport worldwide especially the popularity of T20, cricket is yet to be included in the Olympic Games.

But Sammy is convinced the format ticks all the boxes that IOC officials would be looking for.

“If you see Twenty20 matches it brings so much excitement, so then you don’t really know what 10 overs will do,” said Sammy, whose Bengal Tigers’ side open the tournament against Morgan’s Kerala Kings tonight.

“It’s a new venture in the game and I believe it’s one that will take off. It has the potential to be big and I always say that cricket could be played in the Olympics and 10 overs a side matches could well be the window for it to be included in the Olympics.”

For Amir, he’s part of the Maratha Arabians squad that will be coached by Pakistan legend Wasim Akram.  His team open their campaign against Pakthoons in the second game tonight and the 25-year-old believes that with the latest of the four matches starting at 22:00, the conditions could well suit him.

“To be honest, it is the new ball,” he said of what would be his biggest challenge.

“Since it is only a 10-over game, the ball will not get old and will come onto the bat pretty well. However, since the matches are starting late at night, it is possible that the conditions will suit the bowlers, too. So here the challenge is once again for both – batsmen and bowlers.”

When asked on the opportunity of working with one of his idols – Wasim, he replied: “I am very excited and I want to learn as much as possible from him in the four days,” he said.

“He has always been my idol and I have grown up watching him. So I am very happy that I will be learning from him and spend some time in practice with him.”

This year’s competition is made up of six teams and organisers have ambitious plans to hold the event in other countries from next year as well as expanding the number of franchises.

And Morgan, captain of Kerala Kings, whose side includes Kieron Pollard and Liam Plunkett, believes even if it’s increased, it wouldn’t impact the tournament.

“It’s the start of something new and excites everybody particularly the concept of a tournament that will start and finish in four days which is unheard of in cricket,” said the 31-year-old.

“I think if you play in a tournament that has 10 or 12 teams, you can finish it in 10 days and  I think that can be viable. Hopefully the tournament will be a success and go around the world in other countries.”

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Emirates Cricket Board sign agreement with ANIB for their players

Denzil Pinto 14/12/2017
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Al Nabooda Insurance Brokers, (ANIB), and the Emirates Cricket Board, (ECB), have signed an insurance agreement where ANIB will provide Emirates Cricket’s centrally contracted players with medical insurance coverage during their local and international fixtures.

The agreement also sees ANIB named as Official Insurance Supplier.

Zayed Abbas, Emirates Cricket spokesperson, said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with ANIB. Together, Emirates Cricket and ANIB have been working diligently to create a unique and comprehensive sports specific medical insurance cover, which includes extensive coverage of possible sport related injuries protecting our players and coaching staff.

“Emirates Cricket has been very selective in which insurance provider we chose to partner with, and we are exceptionally pleased ANIB saw the potential in creating such a unique solution, and stepped up to create an affordable way to ensure our players are fully covered.”

Sukumar Rajagopal, managing director of ANIB, added: “We are extremely happy to have been able to provide a reliable solution for ECB’s requirement. Our global reach, has come in handy, yet again, to tailor and provide the best fit insurance. It also gives us great pleasure to be a supplier to the ECB and their players. We have always been supportive towards the growth of the game in the region. This is another tremendous opportunity for us to continue working towards the development of the game in the UAE and to take care of our players.”

Daniel Jason, Senior VP, Brand & Media, said: “It gives ANIB a great sense of pride, to associate with our country’s international cricketers. As our young and talented team, journeys towards becoming a force to be reckoned with internationally, brand ANIB will quietly delight in their achievements and be ready to support when required.”

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Dwayne Bravo to replace Kumar Sangakkara in Maratha Arabians squad for T10 Cricket League

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Maratha Arabians have announced that West Indies’ talismanic all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has been drafted into the squad for the upcoming Heera T10 Cricket League.

Bravo will replace Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara, with the 40-year-old pulling out for personal reasons.

Maratha Arabians, co-owned by Parvez Khan of Pacific Ventures, Bollywood Actor/Producer/Director Sohail Khan and Ali Tumbi of Aqua Properties, will do battle against some of the world’s best known cricketers in the six-team tournament from December 14-17 in Sharjah.

Legendary India opener Virender Sehwag is the icon and captain of the franchise, leading a side featuring a number of stars including Mohammad Amir and Kamran Akmal.

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram is the head coach and mentor of the squad with former England and 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 the UAE.

The tournament is being staged under the aegis of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), with official approval of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Speaking about the inclusion of Bravo, Sehwag said: “It is a disappointment that Kumar will not be with us during the tournament. He is an invaluable asset for any side. We are equally fortunate to have a top-class all-rounder like Dwayne Bravo replace Kumar.”

Head Coach and mentor Akram added: “We are fortunate that we are able to replace an outstanding cricketer like Kumar with someone like Dwayne Bravo. Dwayne is one of the genuine all-rounders in limited-overs cricket who has really made a mark for himself. I am sure that Dwayne will add a lot of value to the side. We welcome him into the franchise with a lot of excitement.”

Squad: Virender Sehwag (captain/icon/India), Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Mohammad Amir (Pakistan), Alex Hales (England), Lendl Simmons (West Indies), Imad Wasim (Pakistan), Krishmar Santokie (West Indies), Rilee Rossouw (South Africa), Roelof van der Merwe (Netherlands), Kamran Akmal (Pakistan), Mohammad 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; Manager: Abdul Latif Khan 

SCHEDULE OF T10 CRICKET LEAGUE
(All matches to be played in Sharjah)

December 14

Opening Ceremony – from 6pm

Bengal Tigers v Kerala Kings

Maratha Arabians v Pakhtoons

December 15

Bengal Tigers v Punjabi Legends  – from 4pm

Maratha Arabians v Team Sri Lanka – from 6pm

Punjab Legends v Kerala Kings – from 8pm

Pakhtoons v Team Sri Lanka – from 10pm

December 16

Team 1 of Group A v Team 3 of Group B – from 4pm

Team 3 of Group A v Team 1 of Group B – from 6pm

Team 2 of Group A v Team 2 of Group B – from 8pm

Bottom 2 Teams of both the groups combined will play off for the 5th and 6th place – from 10pm

December 17

First semi-final: – Team 1 overall v Team 4 overall – match starting at 5.30pm

Second semi-final: – Team 2 overall v Team 3 overall – following conclusion of first semi-final

Final

Followed by closing ceremony

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