Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

Abu Dhabi T10 bring in ex-ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat to help globalise format

New director of strategy and development will also try to improve relations with Pakistan board

Haroon Lorgat says he will speak to his former colleagues at the ICC about having T10 played at international level, after he was appointed to the management team of the Abu Dhabi T10.

Lorgat, who was the chief executive of the sport’s governing body from 2008 to 2012, has been named as the director of strategy and development for the 10-over league.

His mandate is to help to globalise the format, as well as attempt to try to improve relations with the Pakistan board; all players from that country were withdrawn from the competition last season.

Lorgat is hopeful T10 could be played between international teams in future.

“The ICC has already sanctioned the T10 format,” Lorgat said.

“It is an important question if you really want to globalise this, in the sense of international teams playing as well.

“I have not yet engaged with the ICC. I am planning to be [in Dubai] later this week, and I will look to meet up with old friends and colleagues at the ICC, to see what they think about having this as a development tool.

“Tournaments for younger players and female players, I think this lends itself [to them].

"It is something I want to see, to see if this is something that can be played by international member countries.”

Lorgat attended the 2019 season of the T10 at the invitation of the Qalandars, a T10-team representing the Lahore-based PSL franchise of the same name.

That team was forced to call up a whole new squad on the eve of that tournament, after the Pakistan Cricket Board reneged on a decision to release their players to be involved.

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Abu Dhabi T10 UAE player ratings

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“Last year was an unfortunate development that happened quite late,” Lorgat said.

“It was commendable that Qalandars still managed to get together a team that participated, and actually played well.

“That indicated to me the interest in the league. In spite of the late withdrawal, there were still many, many players who were willing to come and participate at short notice.

“We would appeal to all the member board to afford the opportunity to their players.”

We thought it was time to bring in names of repute in the cricket world

Shaji Ul Mulk

The new season of T10 has been rescheduled from November. It will now take place from January 28, 2021 to February 6, and retain the eight-team format it has had for the past two seasons.

Some of the teams themselves are likely to be altered from those in the past, with a number of owners having left franchises.

Discussions are said to be under way with renowned teams from other competitions elsewhere. Qalandars will be back again for a second season.

The T10 will be in its fourth season, and its second as part of a five-year deal that will see all its matches played at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Shaji Ul Mulk, the league’s founder and chairman, said he is hopeful fans will be able to attend the competition, but acknowledged Covid measures make it unlikely at present.

He is confident, though, the competition will maintain the appeal that brought it a global TV audience of over 80 million last season.

“Right now, crowds are not allowed, which is why the IPL doesn’t have a crowd,” Ul Mulk said.

“But with the announcement of vaccines being administered in Abu Dhabi in particular, there is optimism in terms of crowd being let in.

“We certainly hope so. We started off so strongly last year. We had packed stadiums, and we certainly hope, come the end of January, the situation will change.”

Ul Mulk believes Lorgat’s appointment brings greater credibility to the league, as well as the “knowledge and experience to take T10 forward”.

“We thought it was time to move ahead with a much better professional management structure at the top, by bringing in names of repute in the cricket world,” Ul Mulk said.

“His role is not only the UAE property, but to take it global to the rest of the world, where we feel there is an opportunity for us to make a truly global brand.”

Updated: October 12, 2020 04:15 PM

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