x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 October 2017

T10 Cricket League offers 'total guarantee' event will avoid pitfalls of Masters Champions League

The new 10-over tournament, set to be played in Sharjah in December, draws many parallels to the MCL which lasted just one season.

From left to right: Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi, TCL founder Shaji Ul Mulk, ARY CEO Salman Iqbal and England captain Eoin Morgan. Antonie Robertson / The National
From left to right: Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi, TCL founder Shaji Ul Mulk, ARY CEO Salman Iqbal and England captain Eoin Morgan. Antonie Robertson / The National

TCL INFO

Teams:
Punjabi Legends 
Owners: Inzamam-ul-Haq and Intizar-ul-Haq; Key player: Misbah-ul-Haq
Pakhtoons Owners: Habib Khan and Tajuddin Khan; Key player: Shahid Afridi
Maratha Arabians Owners: Sohail Khan, Ali Tumbi, Parvez Khan; Key player: Virender Sehwag
Bangla Tigers Owners: Shirajuddin Alam, Yasin Choudhary, Neelesh Bhatnager, Anis and Rizwan Sajan; Key player: TBC
Colombo Lions Owners: Sri Lanka Cricket; Key player: TBC
Kerala Kings Owners: Hussain Adam Ali and Shafi Ul Mulk; Key player: Eoin Morgan

Venue Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Format 10 overs per side, matches last for 90 minutes
Timeline October 25: Around 120 players to be entered into a draft, to be held in Dubai; December 21: Matches start; December 24: Finals

The organiser of the T10 Cricket League (TCL) has vowed the new tournament will be free of the financial problems which beset the Masters Champions League (MCL).

The 10-over tournament, which will be played in Sharjah in December, is the most high-profile private cricket venture since the ill-fated MCL took place in 2016.

That event was also launched amid much fanfare, with some of the biggest names from international cricket’s recent past involved.

However, the MCL lasted just one season, with a number of players saying they have still yet to be paid for playing.

The TCL has some parallels to that event. It is being played in Sharjah, as some of the MCL was. It is a new concept, with some retired players involved.

Virender Sehwag, the Indian great who officially announced his retirement in order to play in the MCL, is also returning to play in the TCL.

However, Shaji Ul Mulk, the founder and chairman of the TCL, has offered a guarantee that his event will thrive, with his own company footing the bill for paying the players. A broadcast company, ARY, are also part of the management of the TCL.

Salman Iqbal, the chief executive of ARY, also bankrolls the Pakistan Super League franchise Karachi Kings.

“With Mulk Holdings and ARY Group we have two strong business houses, we have given a total guarantee that it will be different this time,” Ul Mulk said.

“We have taken the guarantee that all the players and everybody else will be paid by us. We will get paid by the team owners, and we have made sure the team owners are all business houses.

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“They are all paying in advance, so the financial model is very solid this time, unlike whatever the problems were with [MCL]. It is very simple. We collect the money first, before the tournament starts, and we pay everything.”

Unlike the MCL did, the 10-over league is unlikely to clash with officialdom.

Despite the problems faced by the MCL, which was played in Dubai and Sharjah having been endorsed by the host board, the Emirates Cricket Board “unanimously agreed” to back the new tournament, according to the chief executive David East.

Ul Mulk says the organisers are already in talks with national boards across Asia about playing T10 matches there.

Officials from the boards of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are part of the management of two of the six franchises, while Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s chief selector, co-owns another.

Sehwag led the Gemini Arabians to the title in the veteran’s competition. He is likely to be assigned to another Arabians franchise – albeit unrelated to the Gemini MCL one – called Maratha Arabians.

A franchise representing Kerala in the four-day event will be led by Eoin Morgan, the England limited-overs captain.

“I think we all remember when Twenty20 first broke, and it took a couple of years for everybody to register how big an impact it could have on our game,” Morgan said.

“I think if this has half an impact T20 did on the other formats, then we have a very interesting time ahead of us.”