The chairman of the T10 League Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk confirmed the fledgling tournament has been officially sanctioned by the International Cricket Council and licensed by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB).
Mulk faced a packed media conference in Dubai on Tuesday, called by T10 in the wake of controversies arising since the sudden departure of Salman Iqbal, the former T10 president and part-owner, from the league.
An upbeat Mulk fronted the conference, alongside ECB CEO and former county cricketer David East, and answered wide ranging questions for over half an hour about the tournament’s sponsorship and management arrangements.
Mulk also spoke about his long terms plans for T10, which is set to launch its second season, featuring eight teams and some of the world’s top cricketers, in Sharjah on November 23.
“My dream is for T10 to be in the Olympics,” he said, “Ninety minute matches. It is in the right format for the Olympics.
“Then going forward T10 is a world class property and you’d like to take it global at the earliest. We do have plans, we’re talking to different boards.
“T10 will not be just one property, we have a vision to take it global.”
East, for his part, bristled at suggestions the controversy had cast a shadow over the tournament.
“Inevitably that sort of comment is not helpful,” he said. “We’re working towards a really exciting second edition with Shaji and the league management to ensure it’s delivered very well.
“From an ECB point of view we’re not directly involved in the organisation of the league. We license the league to T10 cricket and our role in this is purely keeping a watching brief over the regulatory side of things, which is what we‘re doing.
“But from a development point of view, ECB’s view on this is this is an important property to be hosted here in the UAE, and to have the opportunity to develop that with T10 Cricket for the benefit of not only the people who play in it but for the wider cricket community here in the UAE, we think is really important.
“We’re very much looking towards embedding T10 into our domestic programme in due course, that’s a work in progress.
“There’s no question that the way T10 as a concept has been grasped here in the UAE is something we wish to embrace.”
With India crowned champions for the seventh time on Friday night, the 14th edition of the Asia Cup didn’t fail to disappoint with plenty of drama on the field.
With the competition done and dusted, we take a look at those players who looks set to have a bright future in the game.
BEST EMERGING PLAYER
It might have been a disappointing tournament for Pakistan but Shaheen Afridi can reflect back knowing he made the most of his opportunities.
He had already made headlines earlier in the year thanks to his exploits in the Under-19 World Cup and PSL, and followed that up by making a big impression in the UAE.
Given his ODI debut in the Super Four clash against Afghanistan, the 18-year-old showed no signs of nerves taking 2-38, although it could have been more had his team-mates been more clinical in catching. Took another two in the Bangladesh defeat including the prized wicket Mushfiqur Rahim to not only end the tournament with four wickets but glowing praise from his skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.
KHALEEL AHMED (INDIA)
The left-arm pacer made his ODI debut in the tournament against Hong Kong and had the perfect start with three wickets. Was recalled for the Afghanistan match and claimed one wicket. The 20-year-old didn’t do any harm and looks certain to add to his ODI tally.
ANSHY RATH (HONG KONG)
The 20-year-old Hong Kong captain didn’t have the best of starts against Pakistan but in the India match, showcased his batting potential with a solid 73.
The Lions were eliminated in the group stages after humbling losses to Afghanistan by 91 runs and Bangladesh by 137 runs. Sri Lanka were without Dinhesh Chandimal and after their campaign imploded, saw Angelo Mathews removed as limited overs captain.
“I empathise with the team,” Sangakkara told Sport 360 on Friday in Dubai, where he was announced as an icon player for the upcoming T20X.
“I’ve been there. I’ve lost to sides that we shouldn’t have lost to. And I understand exactly how they feel. But I’m very pragmatic about it, I’m realistic. They played very bad cricket.”
The 40-year-old said Sri Lanka “looked confused during the tournament, with an unsettled air around the team and that hasn’t helped them. That’s been the case for awhile now.”
But the veteran left-handed batsman said now is the time for cool heads, not a knee jerk reaction.
“Leave aside the emotion. I’d be very rational and clinical in the decision making. You need to evaluate very quickly as to what’s going wrong.
“If it’s the strategy then you need to select players who can execute that strategy. Then you examine team culture, you examine consistency of selection and then you put those things right.”
Above all Sangakkara believes communication is key to turning around the team’s fortunes.
“Clear, honest face-to-face one-on-one communication is essential to build trust,” he said, “and having a settled squad that has clear roles identified for players, who are given a clear run.
“(That) will improve self-confidence of players and they will trust the system better, the performances will be more consistent and results will then come.
“The issue is we’re only six months to the next World Cup. So we need to do these things quickly and I hope they get that done.”
In stark contrast Bangladesh had a superb tournament, surprising Pakistan in the Super Four to reach the final where they were beaten on the last ball by heavyweights India.
But Sangakkara does not believe Sri Lanka have slipped too far behind The Tigers in the pecking order.
“I don’t think they’ve (Bangladesh) risen above Sri Lanka in terms of ability, talent and quality – they’ve outperformed us in this particular tournament,” he said.
“Go back a few months (January) we beat Bangladesh in the final of the tri-series one day tournament (in Bangladesh).
“I think the difference between the two sides, if you takes those two sides, is they (Bangladesh) are a settled side.
Kumar Sangakkara urges Angelo Mathews and Chandika Hathurusinghe to sort out their differences: The Sri Lanka great has called Mathews a 'player of great value', and wants him to bat up the order and bowl more often when he returns to the ODI side https://t.co/mYEJRHrHKf pic.twitter.com/kQvNmXizLS— Muhammad Usman Ahmad (@UsmanSwift) September 28, 2018
“The core group of Bangladesh hardly ever changes: Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman and Mashrafe Mortaza.
“They’ve been around for years, they never change their core, so it’s a consistent side knowing their roles performing day in day out, playing day in day out.
“So it becomes easier to have consistent performances and more good days than bad.”
Sri Lanka have an immediate chance to turn their form around, with a five match ODI series against England starting in Sri Lanka on October 10.