T10 League chairman Shaji Ul Mulk is proud to have overcome unfavourable news from ‘one negative territory’ in Pakistan and deliver a successful second edition of the tournament.
A few months back, the T10 League was in the news for all the wrong reasons. It’s erstwhile president Salman Iqbal resigned in September citing lack of transparency in the functioning of the tournament. Also, a court verdict in Pakistan ordering changes to team name of T10 outfit Karachians for being phonetically similar to that of PSL team Karachi Kings, owned by Iqbal, forced a last-minute alteration to the name Sindhis.
Then there was the case of the tournament sponsor Heera Group being under investigation in India for an alleged Ponzi scheme.
Moreover, the inaugural edition of the T10 League had a heavy Pakistan presence with the cream of contracted players participating in it. This time, Pakistan’s top players were involved in a home series against New Zealand and following the issues with Iqbal, who had been mainly responsible for bringing in current Pakistan stars to the tournament, the tournament had to make do without the main stars of the Men in Green.
However, two key developments helped T10 up the star quotient. For the first time, eight well-known Indian players got associated with the league which included the likes of recently retired fast bowlers Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Praveen Kumar.
Also, Arvinder Singh, who worked with Indian Premier League outfits Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions for close to a decade, was brought on board as Chief Operating Officer of the T10 League.
With the altered landscape, a bigger roster of eight teams playing over 12 days instead of the inaugural edition that saw six teams clashing over four days, and heavy Indian presence, the second edition of the T10 League – armed with approval from the world body ICC – kicked off and much to Shaji’s delight, went of better than expected.
“The experience was fantastic. Everything that we targeted, we have overachieved. The crowd, sponsors, player satisfaction, ICC involvement, media hype, quality of cricket… everything came into place very well. Very pleased we were able to execute such a large event after we tripled the size of the tournament,” Shaji told Sport360.
The negative news cycle surrounding Iqbal’s exit and controversy over earlier title sponsor Heera Group didn’t deter the T10 boss. A new sponsor was found in the Ghalia Group and things fell into place.
According to Shaji, it was just a short cycle of negative news from one section in Pakistan.
He said: “We stuck to the truth. The negative campaign was one man’s story. It was his (Iqbal) vested interest as he tried to put false claims on the league. And we took a professional approach and let our legal team handle that.
“When Iqbal resigned, he was demanding shares from us. It was a commercial issue. When the commercial issue was not concluded to his satisfaction, he went into a negative campaign thinking that since he has media power (as owner of ARY media group) he can rally news around it. Luckily for us, media was fair. It ended up just one channel talking negatively and a hundred other segments talking of the T10 tournament.
“Title sponsors was an overplayed issue. Heera Group were sponsors last year. The minute report came from India about investigations into Heera Group, we took a decision we will not be connected with a ‘negative’ firm. Sponsors come and go. We quickly got on board with a much more powerful group – Ghalia Group, who have a better commercial advantage.
“The issues were overplayed. It was just a Pakistan territory based issue. But T10 League is a global league, it’s not just south Asian. The whole world was involved. One territorial noise was not as big as some found it to be.”
Having eight Indian players, even if retired, is no mean feat as no other tournament outside the IPL boasts such numbers. Shaji said landing players like Zaheer was a major coup and the league will concentrate on having more Indian players in the future.
He said: “Eight Indian players was a brilliant coup by our management, particularly Arvinder and (Northern Warriors coach and former India all-rounder) Robin Singh. They played a big role in convincing Indian players. Praveen Kumar retired for T10 as he was a current cricketer. All Indian players performed brilliantly. Munaf Patel was taking wickets, RP Singh was taking wickets. Pravin Tambe took a five wicket haul including a hat-trick.
“Having Indian players was a real shot in the arm, no doubt about. It makes perfect commercial sense. It is common knowledge that 85 per cent of world cricket revenue comes from India. That’s where any successful cricket league would want to have a share. Our strategy is very clear – to get more Indian players next year.”
Good morning cricket fans, and welcome to Monday’s live cricket blog.
The Sport360 team is in place bringing you the latest cricket news from around the world. We will be bringing you all the news from the deciding Test between Pakistan and New Zealand which gets under way today in Abu Dhabi.
We will also be looking ahead to the four-match Test series between Australia and India which begins from Thursday.
7:30 pm – Mixed emotions for Walsh
Bangladesh coach and former West Indies bowling great Courtney Walsh confessed to having mixed emotions after his compatriots were routed by an innings by the team he now guides.
For more, click here.
6:00 pm – Pakistan spinners on song
Pakistan spinners Yasir Shah and Bilal Asif shared five wickets between them on the opening day of the third and final Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi to give the hosts the upper hand.
2:00pm – India’s bowlers backed to shine despite tour game display
While India’s bowlers might have conceded 544 runs in their warm up game against a Cricket Australia XI, batsman Cheteshwar Pujara remains confident that they can do the job in the upcoming four-match Test series against Australia.
Read what Pujara had to say on India’s bowling unit here. The need for India’s bowlers to adapt is among our three things needed for the tourists to win a maiden Test series in Australia. Read more on that here.
1:00pm – Chris Gayle lands big payout in defamation case
The 39-year-old had been accused of exposing his genitals to masseuse Leanne Rusell in a series of articles published by Fairfax Media-owned Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times and The Age in 2016.
Read more on this story here.
9:45am – New Zealand elect to bat first in decider against Pakistan
New Zealand will bat first in the third and final Test against Pakistan after skipper Kane Williamson won the toss at Abu Dhabi.
Will Pakistan complete a come-from-behind series win or will the Kiwis attain their first Test series win on Asian soil since 2008? Do not miss any of the action from the decider at Abu Dhabi by following our ball-by-ball coverage here.
9:30am – Shakib Al Hasan hails Bangladesh’s landmark win
Bangladesh star all-rounder and skipper Shakib Al Hasan has hailed his side’s ‘special’ series clinching win over the West Indies in the second Test at Mirpur.
Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan picked up a 12-wicket haul as Bangladesh beat the Windies by an innings and 184 runs inside just three days.
Read what Shakib had to say on Bangladesh’s landmark win here.
9:00am – ACC chief bats for more India v Pakistan clashes
Newly appointed Asian Cricket Council (ACC) chief Nazmul Hasan has called on India and Pakistan to play more bilateral matches between themselves in the interest of the game.
Bilateral cricket relations between the two Asian arch-rivals remains at a standstill and matches remain limited to ICC and ACC events like the recent Asia Cup held in the UAE.
Read Nazmal Hasan’s quotes in full here.
8:30am – Northern Warriors storm to T10 title
Northern Warriors gave another glimpse of their awesome hitting power as they stormed to a 22-run win in the final of the T10 League against Pakhtoon in Sharjah on Sunday.
The Warriors posted an imposing 140-3, with Caribbean batsman Rovman Powell leading the way with 61 from just 25 deliveries, an innings that included eight hits to the fence and four over it.
Read more on the Warriors’ title win here.
8:00am – Shaheen Afridi to make Pakistan Test bow
Pakistan will hand a Test debut to teenage pacer Shaheen Afridi when they take on New Zealand in the series decider in Abu Dhabi from Monday.
The 18-year-old was expected to make his Test bow after a shoulder injury to seamer Mohammad Abbas.
Read what Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed had to say about Afridi’s potential debut here.
Pakistan spinners took control of third and final Tests against the Kiwis in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
New Zealand batted first in the third Test after Blackcaps skipper Kane Williamson won the toss at Abu Dhabi. Shaheen Afridi struck early in his Test debut for Pakistan by trapping Tom Latham lbw.
Following a promising stand between Jeet Raval and Williamson, Yasir Shah wrecked havoc on the Kiwis by picking up three wickets in no time. The Pakistan leg-spinner accounted for Raval, Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls as New Zealand went to lunch at 73-4.
Williamson led a fine response but was dismissed on 89 by Hasan Ali in the third session. Thereafter, off-spinner Bilal Asif struck twice as the Kiwis were reduced to 215-7. The visitors went to stumps at 229-7.
Do not miss any of the action from the decider at Abu Dhabi by following our ball-by-ball coverage below.