International League T20 will take UAE cricket to 'new heights'

Six-team competition will involve franchises owned by Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Manchester United

SHARJAH , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , DEC 17  – 2017 :- Luke Ronchi of Punjabi Legends team playing during the 2nd semi-final against Pakhtoons in the T10 Cricket League held at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah.  (Pawan Singh / The National) Story by Paul Radley
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Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, believes the T20 franchise league set for launch next January will help UAE cricket “achieve new heights”.

After years of planning, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), have announced the new tournament will be played between January 6 and February 12, 2023.

The six-team competition will involve franchises run by the owners of Manchester United, Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians.

Having previously been trailed in a variety of different guises, the ECB have now stated the competition will be named the International League T20.

“As we begin this long journey I am confident that together we will achieve new heights, and in the process provide entertainment and excitement to the millions of fans around the globe who are waiting for the first ball of the UAE T20 League to be bowled,” Sheikh Nahyan, who is also the chairman of the ECB, said.

“On behalf of ECB let me assure everyone that whilst being entertained on field with cricket, you will also be entertained by our traditional UAE hospitality off the field.”

The dates for the competition mean it will run at a similar time to the Big Bash League in Australia.

The BBL usually takes place from the first week of December to the last week in January.

Given the status of the franchise owners in the ILT20, the organisers of the UAE-based event are positive they will be able to attract the game’s biggest stars.

It is possible the league may offer the most competitive salaries for players on the global franchise-league circuit, outside of the Indian Premier League.

According to Khalid Al Zarooni, the chairman of the ILT20, UAE-based players will not be overlooked.

“Emirates Cricket, and the UAE, has a proven history of identifying and embracing initiatives that underpin the success of the game

“It is vitally important, that through this tournament UAE-based players continue to flourish which is one of the objective of this league.”

Dr Tayeb Kamali, the chairman of the ECB’s selection committee, believes the league will have a lasting impact on the game in the UAE.

“The annual ILT20 event presents an excellent exposure for our players given the highly intense and competitive nature of the league,” Kamali said.

“Each of the six teams in the 34-match tournament provide a wonderful opportunity for our young cricketers to play competitive cricket with world-class players.

“Further, such a unique international league would play a big role in attracting and nurturing a larger pool of players who will go on to represent the UAE in the years to come.”

Updated: June 06, 2022, 9:20 AM