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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

T10 League in talks with England and West Indies over plans to take format 'global'

Organisers also announce expansion plans ahead of the second edition of the Sharjah-based tournament scheduled for December.

England imited overs captain Eoin Morgan, right, led Kerala Kings to the T10 League title in the inaugural edition. Francois Nel / Getty Images
England imited overs captain Eoin Morgan, right, led Kerala Kings to the T10 League title in the inaugural edition. Francois Nel / Getty Images

Organisers of the T10 League say they are in discussions with the cricket boards of England and West Indies about staging tournaments in the 10-over format.

Shaji Ul Mulk, the chairman of the T10 League, said on Wednesday he also expects matches in the format to be played in destinations as diverse as the United States and Saudi Arabia within the next two years.

Speaking at an event on a yacht in Dubai Marina, the league’s creator announced plans for the expansion of the existing Sharjah-based competition, and set out his intention “to take T10 global”.

Ul Mulk said he has spoken with the England and Wales Cricket Board, and their equivalents in the West Indies, about taking the format beyond the UAE.

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“We are in the initial stage of discussions with them [ECB], and we will be meeting with them in mid-March,” Ul Mulk said.

“The intention is to take T10 global. Working with a powerful board like the English one will be another feather in our cap. The format will be an independent league.

“Sharjah will continue with its own format. Similarly, we have had discussions with the West Indies board to take it to the US, as well as West Indies.”

Eoin Morgan, England’s limited-overs captain, led Kerala Kings to the inaugural T10 League title at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in December.

Finals night was watched by a 15,000 capacity crowd, while the ground’s officials say another 7,000 were left outside.

“That proves itself that Sharjah is the venue for T10, and I look forward to hosting another league in December,” Mazhar Khan, the Sharjah Cricket Council administrator, said.

The second T10 League, scheduled for December 2018, will be two and a half times the size of the first edition, two months ago.

The duration of the tournament will be extended from four days to 10, with 31 matches spread across that time, up from the 13 that were played in the first season.

The fee to buy one of the two new franchises has trebled from $400,000 (Dh1.47 million) to $1.2m. Ul Mulk said “six firm bids” are already being considered for the two new teams.

The Dubai-based businessman is even optimistic Indian players might feature, if not this year, then at some point in the future.

Virender Sehwag, the former India opener, was the lone player from there in the first T10 season, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rarely agree to let their star players enter leagues beyond their shores.

“As far as BCCI is concerned, it is a known fact all around the world that it is only the [Indian Premier League] they allow their players to play in,” Ul Mulk said.

“All the international leagues around the world do not have Indian players. We have already proven it can be a success without the participation of the Indian players. Having said that, we are in dialogue with BCCI. It is an ongoing process.

“Where there once was a point where BCCI used to just say no, now they are talking. That in itself is progress.”