New UAE franchise T20 league set for launch in January 2022

Tournament set to attract 'some of the biggest names in world cricket' according to the Emirates Cricket Board

The UAE’s new Twenty20 franchise league will start in January 2022.

The Emirates Cricket Board have confirmed the new, six-team competition will be known as the Premier League T20.

They say it will involve “some of the biggest names in world cricket while also giving a platform and international exposure to upcoming players”.

The tournament is likely to have competition for players of global renown. The Pakistan Super League is reportedly targeting a January-February window for its next season.

However, it is understood the new competition is set to offer salaries to compete with any of the sport's major leagues, possibly with the involvement of Indian Premier League owners.

It is the latest addition to a packed calendar for cricket in the Emirates for the coming season.

The postponed 2021 IPL season will be played to its climax between September and October of this year.

Just days after the IPL final, which will be played at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday, October 15, the T20 World Cup is set to start.

That global tournament will be played across four venues – the three established UAE grounds in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai, plus Al Amerat in Oman.

Currently, the Abu Dhabi T10 is scheduled to take place shortly after the World T20 conclusion, across 15 days in November and December.

According to Dr Tayab Kamali, the ECB’s selection committee chairman, the deluge of high-profile cricket tournaments will only serve to benefit UAE cricketers.

“With PLT20, we are delighted that the UAE now has a series of cricket tournaments involving all major formats that will bring together the best of international players alongside national players,” Dr Tayab said.

A T20 franchise competition for the Emirates has been mooted for some years.

A number of the world’s leading players, such as Eoin Morgan, AB de Villiers and Andre Russell, had been recruited to play in a competition that was due to be known as the “UAE T20x” in December 2018.

That was cancelled a month before it was due to start, when only two of five planned franchises were purchased.

However, the ECB revised their plans and discussed launching a new franchise tournament in 2020, only for that to prove unfeasible because of Covid-19.

Now, though, plans are advanced to the point they have announced the window in the calendar when they plan to start, and have revealed the competition’s logo, too.

“We hope that this logo serves its intended purpose to unite, excite and generate a sense of pride throughout the cricket community – players and fans – across the world,” Khalid Al Zarooni, the league’s chairman, said.

Updated: August 2nd 2021, 11:02 AM
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