x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

IPL team to pad up in the UAE

The Kings XI Punjab will become the first Indian Premier League team to play in the country when they take part in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament.

DUBAI // Some of India's brightest emerging talent will be on show in Dubai in March when the Kings XI Punjab become the first Indian Premier League (IPL) team to play in the country. They will take part in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament, the new name for the ProARCH trophy which has been held in Abu Dhabi for the past two years, alongside the English county sides Surrey and Sussex and the UAE team Fly Emirates.

The tournament, which has acted as a warm-up to the English county season, will be played in the 20-over format for the first time. Anil Srivatsa, the chief executive of the Kings, said: "We are committed to supporting the sport of cricket and promoting it worldwide by creating opportunities for Kings XI Punjab fans all over the world to experience their favourite team. "This is the first of many such ways to reach out to the fans, and Kings XI Punjab is looking forward to playing in the Emirates Airline Twenty20."

The IPL franchise is part-owned by the Bollywood actress Preity Zinta and captained by the batsman Yuvraj Singh. The tournament director Matthew Jackson said: "With an IPL side involved, we are excited that in 2010 we now have truly international competition. "We hope the Emirates Airline Twenty20 will grow quickly to become a similar event in size and style to the Dubai Rugby Sevens." March's competition will also mark the opening of the city's new cricket pitches, which are being constructed at The Sevens.

The two-day tournament will be followed by a 40-over tournament, with Surrey and Sussex staying on to take part. There is also a U19 competition featuring sides from the Emirates, United Kingdom and New Zealand. @Email:pradley@thenational.ae