Abu Dhabi T10 is ready for a new era with the exciting league shifting base to the capital of UAE this year, thanks to the wholehearted support of Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Cricket.
Moving from the iconic Sharjah Stadium to the swanky Zayed Cricket Stadium, the T10 League also welcomes a new team to its fold – the Deccan Gladiators.
This is Gladiators team owner Gaurav Grover’s first foray into franchise cricket and the prospect of beginning a new era from Abu Dhabi has filled him with confidence.
“This is my first experience in franchise cricket. We waited for three years. We monitored other franchise leagues as well. But T10 connected with us. And the UAE has always fascinated me,” Grover told Sport360.
“I am glad this is happening in Abu Dhabi and am confident of attracting more people to the tournament. The league is being backed by Abu Dhabi and that gives us a lot of confidence.”
T10 League creator Shaji Ul Mulk had signed a long-term deal with the Abu Dhabi government and the combination of cricket, tourism and the drama of franchise sport make it an exciting product.
“The Abu Dhabi government will be looking towards tourism as well. Cricket is a sport that is loved by Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis… Asian cricket has a lot to offer. Also, players of UAE are doing very well in international leagues.
“We are seeing that not only cricket, various sports are being promoted in Abu Dhabi. We definitely want to grab that opportunity,” Grover added.
Grover is a business tycoon from Delhi and has business interests in IT and real estate. He has invested in the property market in the UAE as well.
The buzz surrounding the shortest format in the game is what attracted Grover to the league and with top cricketers like Eoin Morgan, Shoaib Malik, Shane Watson and Kieron Pollard associated with the tournament, the sky seems to be limit.
“The only thing that is constant is change. Cricket has changed over the years. We had 50 overs, then T20 and now T10. The T10 league is attracting people. A number of top stars are associated with the league.
“In the future it can be part of bigger events like the Olympics. The game is over in three hours. That’s what attracted us to the format.”
The Gladiators will be led by Australian great Watson with a player draft for the 2019 season set to be held in September. For now, the focus of Grover is to put together a competitive team.
“Watson is a great player. What we are looking for is a stable team. Since this is our initial year, we want the players to gel well. At the same time, we want to create a team that is competitive,” he concluded.