x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Talks to hold IPL-style league in UAE

Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah could all be hosts for an international Twenty20 tournament being organised for later in the year.

ABU DHABI // Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah could all be hosts for an international Twenty20 tournament being organised for later in the year. Officials behind the Cricketers' Benefit Fund Series (CBFS), an organisation that honours cricketers of the past and present from India and Pakistan, are planning an event similar to the Indian Premier League (IPL), along with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and one more country.

"Yes, we are planning to hold an international league, possibly with another cricket board and Pakistan," said Zayed Noorani, the chief executive of the CBFS. He declined to disclose the identity of the other board for "strategic reasons". "The model is the same as the IPL with a little tweak here and there to account for the different aspects of this league," Noorani said. "All I can reveal is that plans are at an advanced stage and an announcement can be expected by the end of this month. The cricket league will have five franchises which will be open to companies around the world."

Sources close to the project believe Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah will host matches, although Dilawar Mani, the chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board, declined to comment. The proposed league is planned for October. Asked how it plans to compete with the IPL, which completed its third season last month, Mr Noorani said: "We are not competing with them. "If you look at football, there are so many leagues in the world and all coexist well. We are pretty sure that there is space for two leagues or more in cricket."

The capital's Zayed Stadium and the newly-opened Dubai International Cricket Stadium have become the most preferred "home" venues for Pakistan who are discussing dates to hold a Test series with South Africa, also in October. 

kshyam@thenational.ae