Abu Dhabi Cricket Council (ADCC) officials have announced 32 teams will compete in the season-opening T20 Midcom President’s Cup from Friday, September 26.
The ‘B’ Division competition, which will end in December, will be played at ADCC complex. Fourteen matches will be played every week with games scheduled for start at 08:00 and 13:45.
Some of Abu Dhabi’s top sides will compete including defending champions Lions CC, who beat Al Fara’a last season, as well as Royal Gymkhana and Etihad Airport.
A total of 63 matches will be played throughout the tournament with the teams in split into eight groups, with the top two sides qualifying for the knock-out stages.
The winning team will also bag Dh10,000, while the runners-up will receive Dh5,000 and each Man of the Match is set to pocket Dh750. The best batsman and bowler will also take home Dh500.
It will be the first time Midcom, which specialises in telecommunication, retail and manufacturing will be sponsoring a cricket tournament and their group-vice chairman Anand Kapoor was delighted to be associated with the event.
“We are extremely pleased and it is a great pleasure to be associated with this competition,” Kapoor told a press conference.
“We are very keen to promote sport and given that we are a local business, we want to support the game and help the local talent in developing their skills in a great cricket environment in Abu Dhabi."
ADCC president Wajahat Husain added: “With Midcom’s support, the tournament will provide opportunities for cricketers to demonstrate their talent and skills, and hopefully the chance to represent the UAE in the future.”
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 trophy will be showcased in Dubai this week as part of the official launch of Victoria Week.
The ICC Cricket World Cup will see a total of 49 matches hosted across 14 venues – seven in Australia and seven in New Zealand.
Melbourne, the capital of the Australian state of Victoria, will play host to five matches including the final in March at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Joining the Victoria Week celebrations in Dubai will be John Harnden, Chief Executive Officer of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Local Organising Committee.
John Butler, Victorian Commissioner to the Middle East and Africa and Turkey, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming John as part of our Victoria Week celebrations and to give people the opportunity to see the trophy at our official launch adds to the overall excitement.
“Melbourne has been named the world's Ultimate Sports City a number of times ahead of some of the leading cities in the world. It is well known as the sporting capital of Australia and cricket forms such an important part of the city’s sporting calendar.”
The UAE qualified for the World Cup earlier this year and will play their opening match against Zimbabwe on February 19 in New Zealand.
Coach Aaqib Javed and his team are currently in Australia preparing for the tournament with a series of fixtures as part of the ICC's High Performance Programme for associate nations.
“The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the biggest sports events in the world and will attract a massive global audience, especially for the final in Melbourne on March 29 next year,” added Harden.
“We’re delighted to welcome the visiting teams and fans, including the team from the UAE who overcame stiff opposition to qualify for the tournament.”
Victoria Week is a week-long programme that includes a host of activities and events to promote the best Victoria has to offer the Middle East region across trade and investment, food and beverage, tourism and sport.
Danube Test Series chief Anis Sajan hopes the competition can help domestic cricketers to improve their mental approach to the game, saying it will be good preparation for the UAE team ahead of next year's World Cup.
The second edition, to begin on December 17, will see nine 'A' Division teams take part in the two-day matches at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
And the two teams who reach the final will battle in a three-day final, for the first time, with the champions pocketing Dh100,000 and the runners-up Dh50,000.
Many of UAE's international players including Khurram Khan and Swapnil Patil will be playing for their domestic sides in the competition sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), and Sajan insists it can only be good for the game.
"The aim of the series is about knowing the temperament of a player which you cannot learn in Twenty20 which is generally played more often in the UAE," said Sajan.
"It will give them the exposure of two and three-day cricket and learning how to improve their batting and the required skills to bat for a longer period. Even in a 50-over game, teams get bowled out for inside the 50 overs and so by giving them the exposure for two-day and three-day cricket, it will build their temperament – mentally and physically.
Explaining the reason on changing the final to a three-day encounter, Sajan added: "In two days, it's not possible to complete two innings but in three days, it's possible to get a full outcome of the match."
With the UAE acquiring ODI status earlier this year thanks to the popularity of the shorter format in the country, Sajan acknowledges it will take some time to see the national players in white shirts.
He said: "Test status for the UAE is still very far away if I'm honest, but the series can develop the players and help them adapt to Tests because it's not an easy format to play – it requires patience and concentration."