The addition of the tournament will add to a busy cricket schedule in the Emirates
Emirates Cricket Board announce plans for UAE Twenty20 league
The Emirates Cricket Board have announced plans for a new Twenty20 league to be staged in December and January.
The competition will include five franchises, with 22 matches played over 24 days in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, and could involve a number of leading players in the international game.
Each franchise will have 16 players, with six “international star players”, two emerging players from full member countries, three players from associate member sides, two “junior players”, and three UAE cricketers.
The new event will be shoehorned into an already packed winter schedule. The Asia Cup, Afghanistan Premier League and T10 League are already confirmed to be staged in the UAE next season.
It is also likely the Pakistan Super League will return for more matches in its fourth season, and Pakistan could play bilateral international series against Australia and New Zealand.
It has also been mooted that the Indian Premier League may be transferred here – either in full or in part, as in 2014 – due to a clash with India’s elections.
Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the new T20 league’s board of directors, is confident the competition will find its own “niche”, both in the UAE landscape and among franchise leagues globally.
“Our intention is to build a new event that is here to stay, and one that occupies a niche position in the international cricket calendar,” Ashraf said.
“We are not looking to compete with other T20 leagues. We are looking to develop an international festival of cricket that exists first and foremost for the benefit of the players, and with a very specific goal of helping to develop new talent from around the world and grow the game in keeping with global best practices.”
The ECB say the event has the support of six full member boards: England & Wales, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, New Zealand and the West Indies.
"Our firm aim is for this event to take the sport to all corners of the UAE and to develop cricket at a grassroots level, initially in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah,” David East, ECB’s chief executive, said.
“This will not be just another T20 tournament, it will be a true international festival of sport and the hottest cricket ticket in the UAE.”
The organisers say the competition has been granted a 10-year sanctioning from the ICC.
“No other T20 competition has been established with such an international outlook, offering fans the chance to watch players from so many nations, from the international stars of the game to the best up and coming young talent,” said Zayed Abbas, an ECB board member.
“These are goals and values that are really important to the ECB and so we are pleased to offer our full support.”