Abu Dhabi Cricket hope new T20 tournament can be start for more elite competitions in the UAE capital

Denzil Pinto 14:34 03/07/2018
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International stadium: Sheikh Zayed Stadium

Organisers hope that their staging of the Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy can prove to the cricketing world that Abu Dhabi is more than capable of hosting any competition.

Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADC) and Abu Dhabi Sports Council announced their most high-profile tournament to date on Sunday that will see the likes of Chris Gayle, Yasir Shah and Albie Morkel in action at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium from October 4 to 6.

Yorkshire Vikings of England, Afghanistan’s Boost Defenders, Big Bash League’s Hobart Hurricanes, Pakistan Super League’s Lahore Qalandars and South Africa’s most successful T20 outfit Multiply Titans have all been confirmed so far.

Despite hosting numerous international matches as well as the 2014 IPL, Abu Dhabi have been overlooked for the PSL with the Pakistan Cricket Board preferring Dubai and Sharjah. The inaugural Afghanistan Premier League, which will be held in October, is set to take place in Sharjah.

But ADC’s acting CEO Matt Boucher believes that the Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy could be just the start of more elite cricket to arrive in the UAE capital.

“We hope that international boards can see that we run our own events in line with our own marketing and promotional campaigns,” he said. “That can give them some comfort that we can run our own events. We have expanded our stadium to just over 24,000 people. The justifications of not using Abu Dhabi as an international cricketing base is becoming less and less. We want to be an arguable venue and one that is hard to ignore.”

He added: “We are 15 months into our partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council  and we really wanted to do something different and make a statement and use our own platform to promote Abu Dhabi, the sport to the community and begin our first steps onto the cricketing map.

“One of our hopes is to establish Abu Dhabi as a cricketing hub. We want to nurture the youth and have a strong platform to inspire the community.”

The line-up is impressive. T20’s most destructive batsman Gayle will play for The Boost Defenders with South African veteran Morkel captaining Titans. England’s pacer Tymal Mills will feature for Hobart while Yasir Shah will don the Lahore Qalandars’ jersey.

Organisers are yet to reveal their sixth and final team but Boucher promised it will be of the same calibre.

“It will be the same calibre. One of the key drivers we want to do is select teams from different region and that promotes ourselves and give them a platform to compete from their respective leagues,” he added.

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