ARY Group is again at the forefront of promoting cricket and this time it will be an innovation, the T10 cricket in Sharjah to chill the crowds in the cold December.
The league, with five teams and top stars like our own Shahid Afridi, England current limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, Indian master blaster Virender Sehwag, Bangladesh’s fiery Shakib Al Hasan and Pakistan’s Abdur Razzaq and Misbah-ul-Haq will be featuring.
And ARY, like they have in the Pakistan Super League top team Karachi Kings, will also have their own team and the league is presided by ARY Chairman Salman Iqbal.
“We announce the T10 league with a hope that it will excite the crowds,” said Iqbal. “Everyone of us has played T10 cricket on streets and it will be fiery cricket..”
For his huge interest in the game, Salman Iqbal was readily attracted to the idea given by UAE businessman Shaji Ul Mulk, who also convinced him to own a franchise.
“Everyone is excited about the concept. T20 lifted cricket to step forward and I hope this T10 will be a big step forward,” said Iqbal.
Amongst the team, the Pakhtoons is owned by Habib Khan, owner of General Petroleum and Tajuddin Khan, while Kerala Kings is jointly owned by Hussain Adam Ali and Dr Shafi Ul Mulk. Bangla Tigers’ ownership is jointly managed by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) official Shirajuddin Alam, Yasin Choudhary, Neelesh Bhatnagar of NB Ventures, Anis Sajan and Rizwan Sajan of Danube.
It is only befitting that such an innovative approach is unveiled in a historic setting in the UAE and nothing fits this bill better than the Guinness Record Holder, Sharjah Cricket Stadium (SCS).
The entire concept of TCL is the brainchild of Shaji Ul Mulk, an innovator in his own right, since his arrival in the UAE. As the chairman of TCL, Shaji Ul Mulk, has led his way through his company’s diversified business interests at Mulk Holdings.
But even after all these years of being the leader of his field, Shaji Ul Mulk was always keen to contribute to his first love, cricket. Having been a cricketer himself, Shaji Ul Mulk felt there was a gap in the cricket ecosystem which called out for something new.
“Since the advent of Twenty20 cricket, I always felt that there could be something else that our sport can offer the world. It was then that I sat down to discuss with my team. We came up with the thought that cricket needs to match the best sporting action in the world. Most of these sports last no more than 90 minutes.
“We need to evolve with times and nothing should signify this better than giving a product to the fans that they can relate with. So here we are after months of planning to finally unveil to the world, our dream (TCL),” added Shaji Ul Mulk, also a Member of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB).
When Afridi, retired from international cricket but still the most sought-after name in the leagues around the world, needs just a few deliveries to enthral the crowds why would he need more than 10 overs.
“When I was told of the T-10 league I jumped and said that ‘please I want to play this,” said Afridi at the launch of the new league in Dubai. “This is my type so I am not one of the icon players and am very excited for it.”
“The entire tournament will be as swift as the format lasting just four days from 21-24 December in Sharjah, filled with entertainment both on and off the field as rivalry rekindled amongst South Asian cricket superstars,” said the organizers.
Mulk said the idea is new but the format is all known.
“We all have played ten overs a side on the streets of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh but at a higher level this league will provide a better implementation of this.”
Among the Brand Ambassadors revealed were former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and former India captain Virender Sehwag. Current England ODI and T20I captain Eoin Morgan, Bangladesh’s talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and ex-Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq were named team Icons.
The final look of all squads will be firmed up on 25 October when around 120 players will go into a pool for a player draft to be held in Dubai.
Morgan believes the idea will have an impact.
“We all remember the days when Twent20 cricket was launched and it impacted the other formats of the game. If this new format takes I am sure it will also have an impact on the other three forms of the game,” said Morgan.
Now retired Misbah was also excited, for a chance at 43.
“I am excited and this format gives a chance to the ageing players like me because it needs just ten overs of batting and another ten for fielding so for my age it is sustainable,” said Misbah.
But only time will tell how the format embraces at fans level, something which will decide whether it will be included at the international level or not.