UAE T20X, the newly-launched T20 cricket league owned by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), have revealed white-ball legends Andre Russell and David Miller as the first of five Icon Players to sign up to play in the inaugural competition this December.
The two all-rounders, South African Miller and big hitting Jamaican Russell, will each represent one of the five franchise teams during the tournament, which will run from December 19 to January 11 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
News of their participation comes shortly after the announcement of AB de Villiers as the global ambassador for UAE T20X, and builds upon the league’s commitment to recruit the most internationally diverse player make-up of all the franchise tournaments.
Miller said: “I grew up in a country that is crazy about cricket and it meant there were a lot of opportunities to learn and develop as a player. What I love about UAE T20X is the legacy it aims to leave, not just in the UAE, but across the broader Middle East region, and around the world, especially amongst emerging and junior players from both ICC Test and Associate member countries.
The aggressive left-handed middle-order batsman, who has played 109 ODI matches and chalked up 61 T20 caps, continued: “Not only will the league be an amazing spectacle for fans to watch, but it has the potential to inspire a new generation of players who will help grow the game across this region. It’s something I am passionate about and want to be involved in.”
Russell, widely regarded as one of the biggest hitters of the cricket ball in the game today, added: “The UAE T20x has to be one of the most exciting and entertaining tournaments to launch in a long time. It’s got everything- a star studded line up of players and icons, amazing facilities in a progressive country and passionate fans who come from all over the world. I’m really looking forward to seeing it all come to life this December.”
As an ICC Associate Member, the ECB has put the growth of the sport at its heart, and a key aim of UAE T20X is to not only generate new income streams that can be reinvested directly into the grassroots of the game, but to provide a platform where local and international emerging talent can develop through coaching and competition.
Zayed Abbas, Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) Board Member and Official Spokesperson said: “Whilst development of emerging talent – both local and international – is at the heart of our vision for UAE T20X, we are still committed to attracting the very best players from across the cricketing world.
“There are very few people who can match Russell’s big hitting prowess or Miller’s aggressive battling style, so having these two legends playing in the league will add a very exciting dimension for our fans.”
India skipper Virat Kohli‘s 97 and 103 along with Hardik Pandya‘s maiden five-wicket haul set up a mammoth 521-run target for England in their second innings but the hosts were bowled out for 317 runs as Jasprit Bumrah shone on his return from injury.
The visitors now trail 2-1 as the series moves on to the fourth Test at Southampton.
Here, we look at how the 22 players across the two teams fared at Trent Bridge.
Alastair Cook – 5
The England opener’s long demise continues after another poor outing with the bat in both innings. He got starts in each innings but was unable to convert them into something substantial. His spectacular reflex catch of Ajinkya Rahane at first slip remains his only memorable moment in the series so far.
Keaton Jennings – 4
The pressure continues to increase on Jennings as England’s opening woes continue. Like Cook, he too got off to starts but perished soon after. Looked extremely tentative outside off-stump and was also guilty of dropping a few chances in the slip cordon.
Joe Root – 5
The England skipper has not had the best of times since his 80 in the first innings at Edgbaston. He was dismissed in identical fashion in both knocks at Trent Bridge and his runs drying up compounded England’s batting woes.
Ollie Pope – 4
The young batsman was looking solid at the crease but lapses in concentration proved to be his undoing. He could only guide his faint trickle down the leg-side into the hands of Rishabh Pant in the first innings and was guilty of attempting a rash shot which resulted in his dismissal for the second.
Ben Stokes – 6
The England all-rounder had a poor first innings with both bat and ball on his return to the side but turned it around. His second innings half-century was his slowest in international cricket to date but it was the most fight England showed all match apart from Jos Buttler’s ton.
Jonny Bairstow – 4
The England wicket-keeper was dismissed by a peach of a delivery from Hardik Pandya in the first innings and then suffered an unfortunate injury, keeping to James Anderson’s reverse swing. Despite the fractured finger he suffered, he still bravely came out to bat in the second innings but was undone by another gem from Jasprit Bumrah.
Jos Buttler – 7
Like Bairstow, Buttler too was on the receiving end of a Pandya peach in the first innings but he once again repaid the faith bestowed on him by Ed Smith and the selectors with a fighting ton in the second innings that helped England reduce the margin of defeat at least.
Chris Woakes – 5
After the highs of his man-of-the-match display at Lord’s, Woakes was made to look ordinary with the bat in both innings at Trent Bridge. He was still perhaps England’s most effective bowler in the first innings but his overall contribution was a big letdown for the hosts.
Adil Rashid – 6
The England leg-spinner was barely given a bowl first up where he was rather ineffective but still managed to dismiss Virat Kohli once again. He bowled a lot more in the second innings as India’s batsmen prospered and generally improved as the match progressed. Showed glimpse of his batting ability to slow India’s victory charge.
Stuart Broad – 6
The England pacer was unable to repeat his previous Trent Bridge heroics although he looked quite a threat in the first innings where he picked up three wickets. India dealt with him much more comfortable second time around as he went wicketless.
James Anderson – 6
The England pace spearhead was his usual consistent self as he put the batsmen under constant pressure. He picked up three first innings wickets and then saw Jennings drop Kohli off his bowling with the India skipper batting on 93 in the second innings. Showed signs of fatigue as the match wore on and his workload will be a worry for the hosts going into the fourth Test.
Shikhar Dhawan – 7
The opener was much maligned for his display at Edgbaston before being dropped at Lord’s. He showed a lot of maturity in his batting on his return as he and KL Rahul handed India excellent starts in both innings. Will be miffed with himself for not going on to score big though after doing all the hard work.
KL Rahul – 7
The opening batsman was much more assured after his failure in the first two Tests and his stands with Dhawan set up the platform for India to score big in both innings. He was also excellent at second slip where he snapped up seven catches in total including a stunner.
Cheteshwar Pujara – 7
The top-order batsman’s place in the side has been questioned heavily in the series but he reaffirmed his Test credentials with a dogged knock of 72 in the second innings.
Virat Kohli – 9
The India skipper continued to banish the memories of his 2014 tour with two colossal performances at Trent Bridge. He narrowly missed out on a ton in the first innings but he wouldn’t be denied in the second as he notched up a 23rd Test hundred. He also claimed a spectacular flying catch in the slips to dismiss Ollie Pope. A near-perfect display.
Ajinkya Rahane – 8
The India deputy skipper was off-colour all series but bounced back in style with a pivotal innings of 81 in the first innings. His 159-run stand with Kohli set up the platform for India and he looked be back to his usual composed and confident self.
Rishabh Pant – 6
An admirable debut for the 20-year-old wicket-keeper who looked quite composed with the bat in his maiden innings before playing on to Broad. He was pretty adept behind the stumps as well, picking up seven catches in total. He did drop Buttler on 1 in the second innings but he looks to be a much safer pair of hands than Dinesh Karthik. Promising signs.
Hardik Pandya – 8
A sensational display with the ball from the India all-rounder in the first innings where he picked up a maiden five-wicket haul within the space of 29 deliveries to wreck England’s batting order. He continues to grow into his role as India’s seaming all-rounder with a fine half-century in the second innings to strengthen India’s grip.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 6
The India off-spinner could only bowl one over in the first innings having left the field due to a hip problem. He was in visible discomfort throughout the match but still admirably threw down 22 odd overs in the second innings while claiming the final wicket to seal India’s win.
Mohammed Shami – 6
Although India’s pace attack worked a treat, Shami once again struggled for rhythm and control. He was highly wayward in an expensive spell in the first innings and did marginally better in the second. Is capable of a much better showing but hasn’t really been back to his best since his return to the side.
Ishant Sharma – 7
The senior India pacer led the pace attack by example in both innings. His bowling has come on leaps and bounds in recent times and he now looks very much a strike bowler rather than the supporting case. Has emerged as the true leader of the attack on this tour and was seen constantly guiding the other pacers like Pandya and Bumrah.
Jasprit Bumrah – 8
How India have missed the services of Bumrah in the first two Tests! The pacer took his time to get going on his comeback from injury but once he was in the groove, England’s batsmen found it tough to live with him. His destructive spell with the second new ball in England’s final innings extinguished all hopes of a miraculous recovery and paved the path for India’s win.
Jonny Bairstow is hoping he will be fit to bat for England as they try to defy history against India at Trent Bridge.
Wicketkeeper Bairstow suffered a “small fracture” to his left middle finger when he failed to gather a ball from James Anderson cleanly on day three of the third Specsavers Test.
He was replaced behind the stumps by Jos Buttler while Virat Kohli (103), Cheteshwar Pujara (72) and Hardik Pandya (52no) were piling up 352 for seven declared to leave England facing a world record run chase of 521.
Alternatively, they need to bat out six sessions to stay 2-0 up with two to play – a highly unlikely task, but a little more realistic perhaps in the knowledge Bairstow should be in the middle order.
After the hosts reached stumps on 23 for none, Bairstow told Channel 5: “We are going to see how it is in the morning.
“It is a fracture, but it’s not displaced – and that is a big thing. We hope that, with a bit more ice overnight and some protection, (it will help).”
The treatment so far has been painful.
“It just goes numb after the ice bath – the first 30 seconds were pretty horrendous,” added Bairstow, who is keeping the faith England can fare much better in their second innings than they did when losing all 10 wickets in one session first time round.
“(India) left the ball well, and we know if we are going to save or win this game that’s exactly what we have to do.
“We know the challenge in front of us, and we know what we have to do to save or win this game.”
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace is calling on England’s senior players – including captain Joe Root and his predecessor Alastair Cook – to rise to the challenge.
“Having had such a poor performance yesterday, you would expect your batsmen to show some gumption and some guts and get stuck in tomorrow and show that they are the best players,” he said.
“You’re looking for Cook, Root, (Ben) Stokes to get stuck in and show they are top quality players.
“The key for us is showing the right intent – and from yesterday’s innings, that would be the biggest disappointment. We lost two wickets in two balls, and the intent went out of our innings.
“We can defend (the players), and we can say we’ve got lots of good players, and players at different stages of their careers – but the key is showing you can do it in the middle.”
Cook and Keaton Jennings have made a start at least.
“They played well tonight, but it’s about continuing that – everyone going in and playing their way and playing with good intent,” added Farbrace.
“Intent doesn’t just mean scoring quickly – it means defending well, leaving well, rotating strike.”
England have not helped themselves here either by dropping six catches.
Farbrace said: “When bowlers are creating opportunities and catches are being dropped, that can be soul destroying.
“Nobody means to drop a catch, but we are shelling too many. There’s no hiding place. It’s not good enough – we’ve been saying that for too long.”
Pujara did fall to a slip catch, by Cook off Stokes.
After returning to form here, he said: “I was always confident. Although I didn’t score many runs in county cricket [for Yorkshire] I was playing on challenging pitches.
“I’m really pleased to score those valuable runs for the team.”