Brendon McCullum and Rashid Khan will be among the elite stars to make their T10 League debuts in the second edition of the event but Pakistan and New Zealand Test players will be unavailable due to their series in the UAE.
Ex-New Zealand batsman McCullum has been named as an icon player for new franchise Rajputs while Afghanistan’s teenage star Rashid has been roped in by Maratha Arabians.
Monday night’s Mini Draft in Dubai presented an opportunity for all eight franchise team owners to make early additions to their squad before the main Draft in early September, where a wider pool of international players will be available.
But the list of players that were available in Monday’s draft was of the highest calibre. Other big names who will be making their first appearance in the shortest format of the game in Sharjah later this year are Australia’s T20 specialist Chris Lynn and West Indies’ all-rounder, Andre Russell, who were selected by Rajputs and Northern Warriors.
Talented Sussex all-rounder Jofra Archer was signed up for debutants Karachians, who also roped in Anton Devchich, Ben Laughlin and Colin de Grandhomme.
England ODI and T20 captain Eoin Morgan as well as Alex Hales were among the Englishmen to play in last year’s tournament and the pair will be joined by more of their international team-mates in 2018.
Bengal Tigers’ selected England opening batsman Jason Roy and wicket-keeper batsman Sam Billings while David Willey was chosen by Pakhtoons.
Bengal Tigers, who named West Indian all-rounder Sunil Narine as their icon player, strengthened their squad with the acquisitions of Pakistan batsman Asif Ali and Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
For their co-owner Neelesh Bhatnager, he was delighted to have got the players they wanted, saying: “I’m pretty happy with what we got and did our homework and we had a strategy to pick our players and we got almost all of them.”
“We needed a wicket-keeper because we lost Sarfraz so Billings is a good replacement. Asif Ali is a rising star in Pakistan and overall we are very happy.”
Although the dates are yet to be finalised, T10 League chairman Shaji Ul-Mulk confirmed that the expanded 10-day tournament is likely to be held from November 23 to December 2 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
With Pakistan set to play New Zealand in the Test series in the UAE at the same time, Ul-Mulk conceded that the clash of dates makes it impossible for players of the two nations to feature in the T10 League.
That means the likes of Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who was Bengal Tigers’ captain and icon player will miss this year’s tournament but Ul-Mulk is convinced the expanded competition will exceed expectations.
“The dates in principle have been agreed but with the Test series going on at the same time, we have no choice because we missed that slot,” he said.
“That means the the Test players of New Zealand and Pakistan teams will be missing. Otherwise everyone will be available.”
He added: “We are very excited for the new season ahead. Season One was four days and it was more of a trial where six teams were playing. Now this is a big league for us because we have now gone into a full-scale 10-day tournament with 28 games planned.
“We have added two more teams and we are looking at a competition where all the top players will be playing for us. It will be a big challenge. One thing was to do a four-day event and the other thing is to do a 10-day event. We are very geared up and excited at the same time.”
The cricketing stars of tomorrow are invited to take part in the ICC Academy’s latest round of open trials to win a place on its scholarship programme.
As part of its ongoing mission to unearth the next generation of cricketing talent in the UAE and to support the grassroots of the game, the ICCA will host a day of trials on Friday, August 31.
Girls and boys aged 13-18 will have the chance to show their cricketing skills to the ICCA’s team of expert coaches at the free to attend trials.
During a day of sessions, the ICCA staff will look for players who can perform under pressure, demonstrate a good level of fitness and athleticism and are consistent in both their abilities and understanding of the game.
Trials for players aged 13-15 will be held from 3-5pm and from 5-7pm for 15-18-year-olds. Registration will be open an hour before each age group session starts.
A full, one-year scholarship will be awarded to the 12 best players. The trials will include a range of drills and skill assessment sessions with players required to demonstrate their ability both in the nets and on the field.
Demand for a place on the ICCA scholarship programme is expected to be high. Only players who can play hard ball cricket, hold a UAE residency visa, are aged 13-18 and are committed to taking part in a full-time training programme will be considered.
Players selected for the ICCA scholarship programme will be one step closer to fulfilling their cricketing potential.
The ICC Academy’s gates have opened for the FREE open scholarship trials! Whether boy or girl, trials are between 3pm to 5pm for 13-15 years old, and 5pm to 7pm for 15-18 years old.— ICC Academy (@ICCAcademy) July 23, 2018
For more info call 04 448 1355 or e-mail [email protected] pic.twitter.com/HmCQj6sx1R
Those lucky enough to gain a place on the programme will take part in three training sessions a week at ICC Academy located in Dubai Sports City where they will have access to world-class facilities, including the Powerbase gym, and receive professional coaching and mentoring by highly trained ICCA staff.
The youngsters will play against local teams in tournaments across the UAE as well as against international teams visiting the ICCA. The programme will also involve the players travelling overseas as part of competitive tours.
Youngsters who are unsuccessful in their bid to win a place on the ICCA scholarship programme but who have demonstrated a high level of cricketing skill, will be considered for a place on the Emerging Player Programme or the ADIB Warriors Programme.
If you would like to find out more about the ICC Academy or its offerings, please visit: www.iccacademy.net, call 04 448 1355 or e-mail [email protected].
T10 League chairman Shaji Ul-Mulk has confirmed he held discussions with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) CEO Tom Harrison but denied reports that they are looking into hosting their own version of the competition in the near future.
On Sunday, ESPNCricinfo reported that the ECB are considering introducing 10-over cricket to their domestic game following the success of last year’s inaugural T10 League in the UAE.
But although Ul-Mulk confirmed he did meet Harrison, he was adamant that England have no plans to stage their own T10 competition in the ‘near future’.
“The report is not really true,” he told Sport360 after the T10 Mini Draft on Monday night. “In a sense, yes, I did meet Tom Harrison a few months back and we explored the possibility of bringing T10 (to England) and he was pretty supportive of the format. But then he also informed us that he’s not looking at holding T10 in the near future. So I was a bit surprised myself with the story.”
He added: “The format is popular all around the world so it’s not only the English cricket board (that are interested), there are many full member cricketing bodies that are talking to us about having T10 in their own countries.
“Yes, we are encouraged that ECB have talked about it but I’m not sure about their level of source. I wouldn’t give too much significance to that report.”
England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales were among the stars to feature in the inaugural edition last year in the UAE and more English stars are set to play in the expanded second edition in November.
England opening batsman Jason Roy and compatriot Sam Billings were picked by Bengal Tigers in the Mini Draft, while all-rounder David Willey and Liam Plunkett were selected by Pakhtoons and Punjabi Legends respectively in Monday’s ceremony.
Team owners will be able to complete their squads when the main draft is held and Ul-Mulk is convinced there will be more English players available for the expanded tournament.
“Definitely there will be,” he said. “We are holding the league when the England T20 and ODI squad players would be available. We have Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett and many others and I do expect at least six to eight players minimum to be in the squads.”