T10 chief Shaji Ul Mulk targets more matches and Indian players in 2019

Ajit Vijaykumar 13:58 05/12/2018
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T10 chairman Shaji Ul Mulk (l).

T10 League chairman Shaji Ul Mulk is targeting more matches and Indian players in 2019 to take the league to the next level.

The second edition of the league saw the tournament increase in size, going up to eight teams playing across 12 days instead of the first edition where six teams clashed over four days.

Presence of eight Indian players, including well known names like Zaheer Khan, and the hiring of Indian Premier League honcho Arvinder Singh energised the league.

The league had received negative publicity following the resignation of PSL franchise owner Salman Iqbal as president of T10 and issues surrounding participation of contracted Pakistan players, along with financial impropriety charges on its then main sponsor Heera Group.

But after the successful conclusion of the second edition of the tournament, Shaji is looking at consolidation in 2019 but revealed there is always scope for more matches and more Indian names.

“We would like to consolidate. We have a clean slot next year – middle of October, early November. We will be working with Afghanistan Cricket Board to ensure our cricket doesn’t clash (with the Afghanistan Premier Legaue). There isn’t much cricket happening in those days, which means more international players of even higher quality coming,” Shaji told Sport360.

“Being the first league outside the IPL to have Indian players is a huge achievement. And we have done that. The Indian market is warming up to T10. These factors have given a shot in the arm to the property. Our strategy is very clear, to get more Indian players next year.”

Shaji added that while there is temptation to bringing in more teams, he is happy with the numbers in hand.

“We will like to stay with eight teams for now, it’s a good combination. We might increase number of games from 29 to 34. We are talking to different boards to have another T10 in one more country. Or even play a few existing T10 games in neighbouring countries,” he explained.

Shaji credited new chief operating officer Arvinder for streamlining the functioning of the league which has resulted in heightened commercial interest from potential investors after the league basically tripled in size after the addition of two more teams.

“Not just the logistics, but the whole scope of work tripled for us. Players had to be accommodated for 12 days, multiple matches had to be scheduled. Getting Arvinder on board as COO made a big difference. He has 10 years of IPL experience running teams like Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions. He marshalled the whole cricketing affairs. Everyone could see how well the tournament was organised.

“Valuations have gone up. We have got at least six enquiries for buying partial shares in existing teams or buying news teams. It shows us the demand. It’s a valuation game more than immediate profit and loss analysis.”

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