Newcomers New York Strikers and Samp Army score big in Abu Dhabi T10 player draft

American franchises have signed up Keiron Pollard and David Miller as icon players

South Africa's David Miller plays a shot during the second Twenty20 international against India at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on June 12, 2022. AFP
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Abu Dhabi T10 newcomers the New York Strikers and Morrisville Samp Army made statements of intent at Monday's player draft, signaling that they are not here just to make up the numbers.

The American franchises have bolstered the tournament to eight teams for this year's edition. which takes at the Zayed Cricket Stadium from November 23 to December 4.

The Strikers have drafted the West Indies powerhouse Keiron Pollard as their icon player and England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan as their platinum signing.

Joining them are Azam Khan, son of former Pakistan captain Moin Khan, Ireland’s Paul Stirling, and the UAE opener Muhammad Waseem, all renowned for their big hitting.

Samp Army recruited South African all-rounder David Miller as their big signing alongside Moeen Ali, who is currently leading England against Pakistan in the ongoing seven-match T20 series.

South African quick Anrich Nortje, West Indies batter Shimron Hetmyer and Sri Lankan Chamika Karunaratne are players of note in the squad.

Sagar Khanna, owner of the New York Strikers, said he is delighted to be part of the Abu Dhabi T10 and believes his side can add value to the competition.

“The New York Strikers will is all set to meet the passion of the Abu Dhabi T10,” he said during the player draft at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr on Monday.

“We hope that the team can go all the way. The Abu Dhabi T10 is among the best events in the cricket calendar and I’m sure that the New York Strikers will add even more colour to the tournament.”

Samp Army owner Ritesh Patel said: “It is a start of a new and exciting chapter for our team.

“Abu Dhabi T10 is a unique and a highly competitive competition which brings together elite players from across the globe. It gives us the perfect opportunity to compete against the some of the best players in the world and test ourselves out.

“We are looking forward to the season and hopefully we make our fans proud back home in the USA.”

Nicholas Pooran and fellow West Indian Andre Russell are the two big names signed to defending champions Deccan Gladiators whilst the two-time winners Northern Warriors have signed up Sri Lankan all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga as their icon player.

Team Abu Dhabi retained Chris Lynn as their top recruit alongside Fabian Allen, Phil Salt and young Afghan quick Naveen-ul-Haq, and adding England spinner Adil Rashid. They also picked up local players Alishan Sharafu, Ali Abid and 16-year-old Ethan D’Souza, the youngest player ever in the draft.

“Overall, we're incredibly happy with our squad,” Team Abu Dhabi general manager Shane Anderson said.

“Our top four picks are all extremely exciting and I think James Vince was an exceptional pick-up. I honestly didn't think he'd be available when it came round to our pick, so we jumped at the chance to sign him.

“It's an amazing moment for everyone at Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub to sign Ethan. He's come up through our Zayed Cricket Academy since the age of nine and we're thrilled for him.

“We're proud to continue developing his career by giving him this experience that we will never forget and has very much earned.”

Shakib Al Hassan is Bangla Tigers’ icon player and will line up alongside the likes of Evin Lewis, Colin Munro, Mohammad Amir and Matheesha Pathirana. Joining them as local signings are Rohan Mustafa and Chirag Suri.

Delhi Bulls drafted Dwayne Bravo as their icon player with Tim David, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Rillee Rossouw added to the roster.

Dasun Shanaka, who led Sri Lanka to the Asia Cup title in the UAE earlier this month, is the icon player of Chennai Braves. Joining him in the lineup are teammates Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Maheesh Theekshana, and West Indian Carlos Braithwaite.

Shaji ul Mulk, founder and chairman of the Abu Dhabi T10, said season six of cricket’s shortest format promises to be its most competitive yet.

“The growth of the T10 has been phenomenal,” he said. “Our aim is to establish the Abu Dhabi T10 as one of the standout events on the international cricket calendar and grow our global broadcast viewership numbers, which was 500 million last year.

“We had over 1,700 players from 26 countries registered for season six of the T10 draft. It just goes on to show the popularity of the format.”

Updated: September 27, 2022, 5:19 AM