When England introduced Twenty20 cricket a lot of people were skeptical about the newest format. It became an instant success but when it was gradually elevated to international level in 2006, India strongly opposed the rapid fire brand of the game.
Ironically, India became the first World Twenty20 champions a year later. Twenty20 had an imposing effect on international cricket and now we have leagues in every country as players not only earn humongous money but also polish their skills. Not only that, the Twenty20 has become the most in demand format of the game. Cricket wise, it impacted the game a big deal. Now we have 95 percent of Test matches ending in result as everyone plays fast and bowls to take wickets. Similarly, the ODI cricket has an injection, 55 of the 60 highest ODI totals are scored after the introduction of Twenty20 cricket.
So it was natural that daggers were drawn when the newest format T-10 was launched in Dubai on October 3 this year. Players like ever-green Shahid Afridi, the unassuming Misbah-ul-Haq, the reliable Eoin Morgan and the leader of the CHAMPIONS Darren Sammy were excited at the prospect of galloping on the ground for this unheard and untried format, some were skeptical.
It is quite natural that Boom Boom Afridi would be thrilled with the idea. For him even 20 overs are more than he wanted. “When a franchise owner came to me and told me about this new format, I said ‘Please, let me play in this format’,” said Afridi at the launch. No wonder it’s an ideal format for someone like Afridi who is always willing to finish the match in a whisker.
The brain behind this shortest format is one self claimed cricket fanatic Nawab Shajiul Mulk. The affluent and affectionate industrialist visualized the idea and had the courage to bring it to the fore. “Such an idea sprang up while watching soccer, which is a ninety minute contest,” recalls Mulk. “Not only soccer but volleyball and basketball are all 90-minute span events and, with attention span of fans worldwide getting shorter and shorter, we thought why not try out cricket which will last only 90 minutes. Once we got that 90 minute concept, then we designed a cricket game around 90 minutes and thus emerged with this ten-over tournament.”
While quite a few did show skepticism on the idea, ARY Network CEO Salman Iqbal not only backed the idea but fueled it with finances and his media house’s support. “When I heard about the idea, I responded by saying that T10 is played in every street of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It will be as fast as Formula One race,” said Iqbal, known for his love for cricket and the owner of the most expensive team in the Pakistan Super League – a Twenty20 format event started in 2016.
The Emirates Board befittingly came forward as the host with the matches at historic Sharjah stadium. One of the rarest neutral venues, Sharjah up till now has hosted a world record 228 one-day internationals. Pakistan Cricket Board did have reservations initially, but when the officials of the league explained the idea and removed all concerns, PCB came on board. Bangladesh and West Indies allowed their players while Sri Lanka went one step ahead, sending their team named after the country. With around five member boards involved, there was no need for an ICC (International Cricket Council) approval as it’s already endorsed by member boards.
PCB also took PSL franchises into confidence. “Two of our franchises had some reservations but when we explained to them they were satisfied,” said PCB. The misconception that T10 will hurt the PSl was also baseless.
PCB also clarified that “the dates of the tournament were set in early February just before the PSL. This was not acceptable to the PCB. Then the organizers agreed to change their schedule and brought the tournament to mid December 2017 which was acceptable to PCB.”
PCB also avoided the clash of sponsors, so all was well to set the ball rolling.
So how will the action go on? It takes around four minutes to deliver an over, so one innings will get over in 40 minutes. There will be a break of ten minutes, the second innings of 40 minutes duration will begin and the match will be over in 90 minutes. So the first ever T10 league was planned with six teams in all.
A galaxyof stars from Shahid Afridi to Eoin Morgan to Kieron Pollard, Virender Sehwag to Safaraz Ahmed, players from around the world will be involved in butchering the bowlers with a flurry of boundaries and sixes.
The newest and the shortest format will throw more power hitters to international cricket or you can say the already existing champions will increase their power as they will be required to score fast off just 60 possible deliveries. Fans will be on the edge of their seats. Misery is that they will not have much time to celebrate as a six will follow another. It’s unstoppable entertainment for them. There will be thrilling chases, heart stopping finishes, and in those quests, wickets will also tumble. Good catches and eye-catching stops will also be on display as the fielding teams will also do their best to stop the run riot.
Team Sri Lanka Cricket: Lahiru Thirimanne, Dilshan Munaweera, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Jayasinghe, Thisara Perera, Nipun Karunanayake, Angelo Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Alankara Asanka, Wanidu Hasaranga, Kasun Madushanka, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Sachithra Senanayake, Jeffrey Vandersay.
Punjabi Legends: Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Misbah ul Haq, Carlos Brathwaite, Fahim Ashraf, Abdul Razzaq, Shareef Asadullah, Hasan Ali, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Rangana Herath, Dawlat Zadran, Usama Mir, Ghulam Shabber, Luke Ronchi.
Kerala Kings: Eoin Morgan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Babar Hayat, Rohan Mustafa, Kieron Pollard, Shakib al Hasan, Paul Stirling, Imran Haider, Sohail Tanvir, Liam Plunkett, Wahab Riaz, Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Chadwick Walton, Nicholas Pooran.
Bengal Tigers: Rameez Shahzad, Darren Sammy, Darren Bravo, Mohammad Nawaz, Rovman Powell, Sunil Narine, Ryan McLaren, Mohammed Naveed, Mustafizur Rahman, Rumaan Raees, Hasan Khan, Anwar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher.
Pakhtoon: Fakhar Zaman, Tamim Iqbal, Dwayne Smith, Ahmad Shahzad, Najibullah Zadran, Shahid Afridi, Amjab Javed, Mohammad Nabi, Liam Dawson, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Khan, Umar Gul, Shaheen Afridi, Saqlain Haider.
Maratha Arabians: Virender Sehwag, Shaiman Anwar, Alex Hales, Lendl Simmons, Rillee Rossouw, Ross Whiteley, Imad Wasim, Roelof van der Merwe, Zahoor Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Sami, Hardus Viljoen, Wayne Parnell, Kumar Sangakkara, Kamran Akmal.
December 14: 6pm: Opening Ceremony
Bengal Tigers vs Kerala Kings
Maratha Arabians vs Pakhtoons.
December 15: 4pm: Bengal Tigers vs Punjabi Legends, 6pm: Maratha Arabians vs Team Sri Lanka, 8pm: Punjab Legends vs Kerala Kings, 10pm: Pakhtoons vs Team Sri Lanka.
December 16: 4pm: Team 1 of Group A vs Team 3 of Group B, 6pm: Team 3 of Group A vs Team 1 of Group B, 8pm: Team 2 of Group A vs Team 2 of Group B, 10pm: Bottom 2 Teams of both the groups combined will play off for the 5th and 6th place.
December 17: From 5.30pm: First Semi Finals: Team 1 overall v Team 4 overall.
Second Semi Finals – Team 2 overall v Team 3 overall, Finals, followed by closing ceremony.