The coming 10 days promises plenty of cricket entertainment as a host of international and UAE stars descend in Abu Dhabi for the T10 League.
Now entering its third edition, the 10-over format league will see eight franchises battle it out for the coveted title at the Sheikh Zayed International Stadium.
As the ICC sanctioned tournament gets ready to lift off in its new home in Abu Dhabi, we look at some of the stars worth keeping an eye on.
Paras Khadka – Team Abu Dhabi
The Nepalese batting all-rounder has carved a name for himself in associate cricket after leading the national team for nearly a decade. Having recently relinquished his Nepal captaincy, Khadka is now set for a maiden stint in the T10 League with the newest franchise – Team Abu Dhabi.
The 31-year-old is the first Nepalese batsman to register an ODI as well as a T20I century, and is an exciting addition to the league. A reliable top-order batsman with a compact technique, Khadka can also roll over his arm for some handy off-spin and is capable of bowling medium pace too.
He loves to deliver on the biggest of occasions and will relish the opportunity to face up some of the biggest stars from the world of cricket.
Tom Banton – Qalandars
The 21-year-old is one of the most promising young batsmen in the England set-up and was recently capped in the T20I format during the side’s tour of New Zealand.
He was the breakout star from England’s 2019 domestic season while finished as the second highest run-scorer in the T20 Blast where he carried a strike-rate of more than 160.
The right-hander has some unorthodox and inventive strokes in his playbook which can throw off the best of bowlers off their lines and lengths. Banton’s star is just starting to rise and the England prodigy will turn out for the Qalandars franchise in the upcoming edition.
Eoin Morgan – Delhi Bulls
The England limited-overs skipper’s prowess is all too well known and he needs no introduction ahead of his T10 participation.
Morgan is coming off an excellent T20I series in New Zealand where he registered the fastest half-century by an Englishman (21 balls). That blitz in Napier means that the England skipper has now tonked seven sixes in a single T20I innings on three separate occasions.
Morgan was instrumental in Kerala Tuskers’ march to the title in the inaugural T10 edition in 2017 where he also registered the fastest half-century of the tournament (14 balls). Now with Delhi Bulls, the Englishman looks in prime form to make a similar impact.
Andre Russell – Northern Warriors
The Windies star man is one of the most fearsome hitters in white-ball cricket, after his numerous exploits for country and in various franchise leagues around the globe.
To maintain a strike-rate of over 170 after 306 T20 appearances takes some doing, but for Russell, hitting sixes come easy. The muscular Jamaican has battled several knee injuries in the past few years with those issues cutting short his World Cup 2019 campaign as well.
However, the 10-over format will be perfect for his all-out style and Northern Warriors will be glad to have his services for the upcoming edition. He can also be equally effective with the ball and can generate some serious pace and bounce.
Yuvraj Singh – Maratha Arabians
An Indian playing in an overseas franchise league is a very rare sight due to BCCI’s rules and regulations and as such, getting the signature of Yuvraj Singh for the upcoming edition represents one of the biggest coups for the T10 organisers.
The star all-rounder was the player of the tournament in India’s 2011 World Cup triumph on home soil, while he was also instrumental in the team’s victorious campaign in the 2007 World T20 in South Africa.
The image of Yuvraj launching England’s Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over in the 2007 tournament is a memory still fresh in the minds of most cricket fans. Signed by Marathan Arabians, the 37-year-old could yet rewind the clock to his heydays in the coming week and a half.
Nicholas Pooran – Northern Warriors
He has has recently been in the news for copping a suspension from the ICC for ball tampering, but Nicholas Pooran will be looking to make headlines for all the right reasons when he turns out for the Northern Warriors.
The Windies youngster’s reputation as one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball has been growing in recent months and he will be eager to replicate his 2018 T10 displays. Pooran spanked as many as 33 sixes in the tournament last year while also topping the run-scoring charts (324).
The 24-year-old’s career T20 strike-rate is nearly 144 and he is very much capable of bettering that by some distance in the T10 version of cricket.
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