Team Abu Dhabi have signed England’s new bating sensation Liam Livingstone as their icon player and retained the West Indies legend Chris Gayle for the 2021 Abu Dhabi T10.
Livingstone, 28, has emerged as one of the most exciting players in short-form cricket and the new Team Abu Dhabi coach, Paul Farbrace, is looking forward to working with both players.
“Chris Gayle is box office,” Farbrace said during the Abu Dhabi T10 draft on Thursday night. “When he walks into bat, people make sure they are there as he could do something so special, so stunning, in any game.
“We’ve got someone who not only do we know will win us a couple of games, but he will inspire the team to win games, too, because there will be players in our team who have looked up to him for many years as a batting idol and they will want to impress him.
“I’ve been on the wrong end of far too many Chris Gayle onslaughts so it will be lovely to sit back, watch him and enjoy having him in our team for the first time in my career.
“Liam is the new name on everyone’s lips, he’s the one that everyone in England is talking about as the bloke that can play a fundamental part in the T20 World Cup and I’m excited that he’s in our team.
“He is destructive, he’s desperate to succeed, and we’re really lucky that the name that’s on everyone’s lips is in our team.”
Farbrace, in his role as director of cricket, helped Warwickshire win the County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy double in the UK this summer.
The former Kent and Middlesex player is now excited to be at the helm of the capital city’s home team, with further announcements on Farbrace’s backroom staff to follow.
“I think it’s a very exciting opportunity,” Farbrace said. “Players are genuinely excited to play in the Abu Dhabi T10 and coaches want be part of it because it is innovative, it’s cutting edge and it’s in a spectacular place.
“I think it’s got all the ingredients as a tournament; it’s standalone and it’s already one of the big tournaments on the calendar.
“It doesn’t get any better than being with the home team, it’s where you want to be. You want the best home support and to be with people who know what the tournament is all about and what it means for people here in Abu Dhabi.”
UAE international Rohan Mustafa again spearheads Team Abu Dhabi's local contingent, which also includes 20-year-old spinner Muhammad Farazuddin.
“It’s really nice to be retained by Team Abu Dhabi as I’ve had two good seasons with them, and it feels like it’s my own team,” Musatafa said.
“It will also be really nice to play alongside Liam Livingstone, because he’s one of the best batsmen in the world right now and, of course, Chris Gayle - the Universe Boss - is one of the coolest people on the planet. If he’s in the dressing room when you’re under pressure, he takes all the pressure off.”
Among the new faces in Team Abu Dhabi are South Africa duo Colin Ingram and Marchant de Lange, England internationals Danny Briggs and Phil Salt, and West Indies quick Fidel Edwards.
The Abu Dhabi T10's fifth iteration takes place at the Zayed Cricket Stadium from November 19 to December 4.
Team Abu Dhabi squad in full: Chris Benjamin, Danny Briggs, Ahmed Daniyal, Fidel Edwards, Muhammad Farazuddin, Chris Gayle, Colin Ingram, Marchant de Lange, Liam Livingstone, Obed Mccoy, Rohan Mustafa, Naveen-ul-Haq, Phil Salt, Paul Stirling