ILT20: Rovman Powell backs UAE's aspiring stars to produce 'something special'

New tournament gets under way on Friday when Dubai Capitals meet Abu Dhabi Knight Riders

From left: Moeen Ali, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Rovman Powell, Colin Munro and James Vince at the trophy launch of ILT20 on January 12, 2023. Photo: ILT20
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Rovman Powell, the West Indies batter, hopes UAE’s aspiring stars can thrive among the household names of the international game, when their home T20 league commences.

Powell will captain the Dubai Capitals, who will play against Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the opening fixture of the first DP World International League T20 on Friday.

The new, six-team competition is the most high-profile 20-over event for UAE players. Each of the squads features four players from the host nation.

In Friday’s opener in Dubai, for example, home hopefuls such as Chirag Suri, Jash Giyanani, Hazrat Khan or Akif Raja could line up alongside Powell, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, or Joe Root for the Capitals.

In the other dressing room, Zawar Farid, Fahad Nawaz, Matiullah and Sabir Ali will be rubbing shoulders with Indian Premier League royalty in the form of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell.

“This is a start of something special,” Powell said on the eve of the competition’s launch.

“Not from a personal standpoint but from the team and franchise standpoint. This is a good chance for the UAE players to showcase their talent.

“The DP World ILT20 is a good launching pad for them and hopefully they'll utilise this opportunity.”

One of the most recognisable of the overseas professionals will be multi-tasking on the opening weekend.

Denly and Sharafu visit school kids to drum up support

Dwayne Bravo will be playing for MI Emirates when they open their campaign against Sharjah Warriors on Saturday.

First, though, he will be playing a set at the opening ceremony on Friday, an event which will also see Badshah and Jason Derulo performing. The show is due to start at 5.15pm, with the match set to begin at 6.45pm.

The cricketers maintain they are focused on performing on the playing field, with Bravo hoping he can share some of his expertise over the course of the next month.

“It's important for me to pass on whatever knowledge that I have about the game to my teammates and also develop the next generation of cricketers,” Bravo said.

According to Tom Moody, the Desert Vipers director of cricket, the competition will benefit UAE cricket over the long term.

“I am very excited about this project, mainly because this is the first time we have seen a franchise tournament that belongs to the UAE,” Moody said.

“We have seen a lot of cricket here in UAE over the years, through ICC tournaments and Pakistan having to play a lot of their cricket here.

“But I think, for the UAE to have their own cricket tournament, with as many international superstars playing in it across the six teams, I think is really important for the development of cricket in this region.

“I know with Phil, and conversations we have had with other management, it is very much a priority for us to make sure we are part of helping develop that side of cricket here in the UAE.

“This is not a short-term project. It is long-term, and hopefully our involvement can help fast track the game in this region.”

Updated: January 12, 2023, 4:03 PM