A new high for NSL as competition expands

Denzil Pinto 06:22 22/09/2016
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Let the battle begin: Modern Heros.

Nine months after Modern Heros and Our Own Zenith reigned supreme, the ADIB National School League (NSL) is back for another edition as promising cricketers showcase their skills against their peers across the UAE.

Since launching in 2014, the competition, organised by Sport360 and backed by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), has gone from strength to strength.

Centuries, five-wicket hauls and the first-ever Super Over were just some of the highlights last season and 2016-17 will surely set the bar even higher when it gets under way from October 14.

Heros retained their Under-13 title, while Our Own Zenith got their hands on the U-15 title with former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara the guest of honour in January’s Finals Day in Dubai.

But there will be new champions come January 2017 with two new age groups – U-14 and U-17 introduced. There will also be a 16-team Under-12 indoor development league launched in the new year.

So far 48 teams have signed up for the third edition but registration is still open. The U-14 matches consist of 15 overs, while the U-17s will play Twenty20.

The significant change means that a wider pool of players will battle it out for the coveted trophy with the group stages played in October and November ahead of the knockouts in January.

Teams will be split into groups, according to their geographical location – Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. Matches will be played on turf wickets at The Sevens (Dubai), Skyline University (Sharjah) and Nursery Ovals (Abu Dhabi).

The tournament received a huge boost in August when three players – Jonathan Figy, Ansh Tandon and Aryan Lakra – were named in the UAE Under-19 squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Malaysia.

And as part of their vision in promoting the grassroots game, the ECB are delighted that the competition will return next month.

“The NSL is providing a great platform for aspiring school cricketers to develop their game by having competitive matches on quality facilities throughout UAE,” said Andrew Russell, national development manager of ECB.

“The NSL also engages schools to commit to cricket, which has the great benefit of growing the grassroots game in this region.”

Nawal Bayari, head of CSR Council at ADIB, added: “ADIB will again be associated with the event as title sponsors and are thrilled to see the competition grow.

“ADIB was a founding sponsor of the NSL and given the importance of this league in engaging grass roots players and their parents, we have upgraded our partnership with this league by becoming title sponsor of the event.”

For more information or to register, email [email protected] com or visit nsl.sport360.com.

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