The Abu Dhabi T10 League 2019 will be an eight-team affair with Team Abu Dhabi unveiled as the newest team for the upcoming tournament.
England’s 2019 World Cup winning coach Trevor Bayliss has been confirmed to take charge of the Abu Dhabi outfit with Moeen Ali set to join him as the side’s icon player.
The already star-studded line-up was bolstered even further in Wednesday’s player draft for the 2019 edition, with Pakistan pace ace Mohammed Amir becoming the side’s first pick.
The upcoming edition will be the third season of the T10 League which was previously held in Sharjah. The tournament moves to Abu Dhabi for the next five years after their organisers signed a five-year agreement with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
The profile of the league has grown exponentially in recent days with former England coach Andy Flower being roped in as the coach of Maratha Arabians.
Some of the big names who will turn up for the 2019 edition include Andre Russell, Eoin Morgan, Shoaib Malik, Hashim Amla, Kieron Pollard and Shane Watson.
“The fact that the government of Abu Dhabi has supported this event with a five-year agreement means it’s already bigger,” T10 chairman Shaji Ul Mulk was quoted as saying by The National.
“There is greater credibility and greater responsibility that comes with it.
“This year almost 500 players signed up for the player draft. The league is already much bigger than last year. It’s all about consolidating the position and delivering a product of the highest quality.”
The vast array of stars and internationals went under the hammer in the player draft on Wednesday with Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane being picked by Karnataka Tuskers.
Pakistan veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik was roped in by Delhi Bulls while his compatriot Mohammad Irfan went the way of Maratha Arabians. Windies all-rounder Pollard was snapped up by Deccan Gladiators while rising England star Tom Banton will turn out for Team Abu Dhabi in what is becoming a formidable English contingent for the newest outfit.
The 2019 edition is set to take place at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi between November 15 and 24.
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Former UAE skipper Mohammed Naveed has spoken up for the first time after being provisionally suspended from cricket for multiple breaches of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.
The recently deposed captain was among three UAE national team players to be suspended by the ICC on Wednesday with the trio charged with 10 Anti-Corruption Code violations between them.
Naveed was charged with two ICC code and as many Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) anti-corruption code violations with the former pertaining to the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
His first ICC breach came with regards to Article 2.1.1 of the Anti-Corruption Code which pertains to “contriving, or being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly, the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of matches in the upcoming ICC World T20 Qualifier.”
The second relates to Article 2.4.4 which relates to “failure to disclose to the ACU full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in conduct in relation to the ICC World T20 Qualifiers 2019 that would amount to corrupt conduct under the Code.”
Speaking to The National after being provisionally suspended from cricket with immediate effect, Naveed accepted to making a big mistake in not disclosing a suspicious approach from someone whom he believed to be an official of the Abu Dhabi T10 League.
A trio of UAE players have been provisionally suspended from cricket.https://t.co/yX7nB3MccI— ICC (@ICC) October 16, 2019
“I am very sincere about my game, I am very sincere about my career,” Naveed explained.
“I have been successful for the UAE around the world, in leagues, for franchises. That is because I am very sincere about my game. Now this has happened, I feel guilty. Why did I not talk to the board, why did I not talk to the ICC? It is my mistake, and I feel guilty.
“My family is let down, my friends are let down. Everybody is let down. This was my mistake.”
Qadeer Ahmed Khan and Shaiman Anwar Butt are the two other UAE players charged with anti-corruption violations and the suspended trio has two weeks to respond to the charges laid down by the ICC.
Naveed was due to lead UAE in the World Cup Qualifier but he, along with Ahmed and Anwar, had recently stood down from the initial squad for the tournament. No explanation was provided at the time for their withdrawals with Ahmed Reza appointed as skipper in Naveed’s stead.
UAE open their World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday when they take on neighbours Oman in the Group B opener in Abu Dhabi.
The stage is all set for the 2020 T20 World Cup Qualifier which gets under way on Friday, with 14 teams including hosts UAE set to battle it out for the six spots on offer.
The top six teams from the upcoming tournament will join Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in Australia for the first round of the 2020 T20 World Cup, which begins a year from now. Four teams from the first round will then advance to the Super 12 stage where they will join the heavyweights such as Australia, India, England and Pakistan.
The stakes, as such, couldn’t be higher for the 14 teams in the UAE currently with T20 cricket fever set to grip Dubai and Abu Dhabi over the coming days.
The 14 participating teams have been divided into two groups containing seven sides apiece, as follows:
Group A: Scotland, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Singapore, Bermuda and Kenya.
Group B: UAE, Ireland, Oman, Hong Kong, Canada, Jersey and Nigeria.
Each team from a particular group will take on the six others in a league style format. Group A fixtures will take place in Dubai at the Dubai International Cricket stadium and the ICC Academy grounds while Group B matches will be held at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket stadium in Abu Dhabi.
After a total of 42 league games, the two respective group-toppers will secure a place in the first round in Australia while also advancing to the semi-final of the qualifying tournament.
The four other teams to join them in Australia will be decided through a series of five play-off clashes.
The teams which finish second in their respective group will take on the third-placed side from the other group in the first two play-off matches. The winner of the two clashes will also secure a place in the first round in Australia while advancing to the qualifying semi-final.
Then, the losers of those two clashes will take on the fourth-placed teams from both groups in a couple of play-off clashes. The winners of those two matches will become the fifth and sixth teams to book their tickets to Australia.
While the six qualifiers will have been decided by then, the tournament will continue with the semi-finals, final and third-place decider to come in Dubai. The final of the tournament takes place on November 2 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Matches: 51— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 16, 2019
Sides that'll qualify for next year's #T20WorldCup: 6
Venues: 5@niallnobiobrien has a look around the three Dubai grounds being used for the T20 World Cup Qualifier. pic.twitter.com/aZY3Odd5lv
How UAE are shaping up
With an ICC T20I ranking of 12, the hosts are the second-highest rated team in the competition with only Ireland ranked above them. As such, they will be the one of the favourites to top Group B and secure a direct place in the first round in Australia. It won’t be easy, however, with neighbours Oman making rapid strides in recent months while Hong Kong, Canada and even Jersey are potential banana skins.
That the team have lost the services of their skipper Mohammad Naveed, Qadeer Ahmed Khan and Shaiman Anwar Butt after they were charged by the ICC’s anti-corruption unit, just days before the start of the tournament, has thrown a spanner into the works.
The responsibility of leading the side is now on the shoulders of Ahmed Raza and the left-arm orthodox spinner definitely has his work cut out for him. Still, the qualification outlook remains rosy for the UAE despite the disruption, with the side registering a morale-boosting win over a strong Scotland in a recent warm-up clash.
The side’s campaign opener against Oman could prove to be their toughest test in Group B and it is one they will be desperate to win. Ireland, despite their higher ranking, have not been in the best of form in the T20 format but they will still pose a big threat. Hong Kong have recently lost the services of their talismanic skipper Anshuman Rath and that will be a factor in the tournament.
UAE Key Players
All-rounder Rohan Mustafa and top-order batsman Ashfaq Ahmed now become pivotal to the UAE’s hopes in the tournament and both of them were in fine form when the side emphatically blanked Netherlands 4-0 earlier this year in Amstelveen.
While Mustafa finished as the top wicket-taker in that series, Ashfaq was instrumental with the bat and averaged more than 50. The pair, along with skipper Reza, need to stand up big time if the UAE are to go deep in the tournament and qualify for Australia.
Other major contenders
Scotland, Ireland and Oman will definitely be up there in the tournament and should be able to progress to Australia alongside the UAE if they play to their potential. As for the dark horses, Singapore have been making all the right noises recently while Bermuda and Jersey are no pushovers either.