While the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) proposed Future Tours Programme (FTP) has triggered fresh debate over the future of long-form cricket, there’s no stopping innovations in game’s shortest format. Almost a decade after the inaugural World T20—followed by the Indian Premier League (IPL)—changed the idiom of cricket consumption globally, the gentleman’s game is set for another trimming.
T10 Cricket League, a franchise-based, ten-over-a-side event could be the latest game changer, with some, like England’s limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan, believing it to be ideal for Olympics.
The format will make its debut on Thursday in Sharjah, a venue that holds the record of hosting most One-Day Internationals (ODIs). The matches will last 90 minutes and have two-over Powerplays.
The tournament, that will end on 17 December, will feature six teams – Maratha Arabians, Pakhtoons, Bengal Tigers, Kerala Kings, Punjabi Legends and Colombo Lions. The initial draft was held on a yacht in Dubai Marina in November, in which 60 players were picked by five franchises.
Colombo Lions, comprising solely of Sri Lankan players, was not part of the draft. Dinesh Chandimal, Sri Lanka’s Test captain, will lead the Lions in Sharjah.
The tournament will also include players like Virender Sehwag, Mohammed Amir, Alex Hales, Keiron Pollard, David Miller, Hassan Ali, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy among others.
The inaugural edition, however, has had its share of troubles, with a number of big names pulling out.
Kumar Sangakkara, one of the first players to be signed, dropped out citing personal reasons. The Sri Lankan great has been replaced in the Maratha Arabians squad by Dwayne Bravo. Punjabi Legends have replaced Rangana Herath with Ravi Bopara. Bengal Tigers have been the worse-hit, with six players, including Sunil Narine and Mustafizur Rahman, pulling out.
That, however, has not stopped the organisers from thinking ahead. The 2018 version, which is planned to have eight franchises, promises to make it mandatory for teams to have four UAE-based players in their squad, with at least two guaranteed to start in playing XI. Plans are also afoot to take the league to other cricket-playing nations, and the United States.
Here’s a quick look at the squads:
Virender Sehwag (Icon Player), Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Sami, Imad Wasim, Kamran Akmal, Alex Hales, Ross Whiteley, Lendl Simmons, Rilee Rossouw , Hardus Viljoen, Krishmar Santokie, Dwayne Bravo, Reolof Van Der Merwe, Shaiman Anwar, Zahoor Khan
Eoin Morgan (Icon Player), Liam Plunkett, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Babar Hayat, Kieron Pollard, Samuel Badree, Ryad Emrit, Chadwick Walton, Nicholas Pooran, Shakib Al Hasan, Paul Stirling, Rohan Mustafa, Imran Haider
Shahid Afridi (Icon Player), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmad Shahzad, Junaid Khan, Sohail Khan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Irfan, Shaheen Afridi, Dwayne Smith, Liam Dawson, Tamim Iqbal, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Amjad Javed, Saqlain Haider
Shoaib Malik (Icon Player), Hasan Ali, Umar Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Fahim Ashraf, Usama Mir, Abdul Razzaq, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Carlos Brathwaite, Rangana Herath, Luke Ronchi, Dawlat Zadran, Shareef Asadullah, Ghulam Shabber
Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Shehan Jayasuriya, Dilshan Munaweera, Ramith Rambukwella, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Wanidu Hasaranga, Angelo Perera, Thikshila De Silva, Vishwa Fernando, Sachithra Senanayake, Shehan Madushanka, Lahiru Madushanka, Kasun Madushanka, Angelo Perera, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Alankara Asanka
Sarfaraz Ahmed (Icon Player), Mohammad Nawaz, Rumman Raees, Anwar Ali, Hasan Khan, Mustafizur Rahman, Sunil Narine, Darren Sammy, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Cameron Delport, Mohammad Naveed, Rameez Shahzad, Nabeel Baig
Following is the schedule for the league:
December 14: Opening ceremony, followed by
Bengal Tigers vs Kerala Kings
Maratha Arabians vs Pakhtoons
Bengal Tigers vs Punjabi Legends
Maratha Arabians vs Colombo Lions
Punjab Legends vs Kerala Kings
Pakhtoons vs Colombo Lions
1st in Group A vs 3rd in Group B
3rd in Group A vs 1st in Group B
2nd v Group A vs 2nd in Group B
5/6th place playoff
1st semi-final – Team 1 vs Team 4
Second semi-final- Team 2 vs Team 3