Abu Dhabi T10 revamp gathers pace with new franchise aimed at UAE's Bangladeshi community

Bangla Tigers will replace Pakhtoons in the 10-over competition, while the Bengal Tigers have asked to be rebranded as the Delhi Bulls

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - December 02, 2018: Pakhtoons' Sharafuddin Ashraf takes the wicket of Warriors' Nicholas Pooran during the game between between Pakhtoons and Northern Warriors in the T10 final. Sunday the 2nd of December 2018 at Sharjah cricket stadium, Sharjah. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The revamp of the T10 league continues apace after another change of franchise was announced for the eight-team league on Thursday.

Bangla Tigers will replace Pakhtoons in the 10-over competition when it starts at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on November 15.

The new franchise, which hopes to appeal to the UAE’s Bangladeshi community, have broadly assumed the name of another team.

The side who played as Bengal Tigers in the two previous editions of the tournament have asked to be rebranded instead as the Delhi Bulls.

Last month, it was confirmed the Karachians franchise was under new ownership, and will now be known as Deccan Gladiators.

Another new team are expected to be announced on Sunday, while the league itself is now known as the Abu Dhabi T10, as a result of a deal that will see it played in the capital for the next five years.

Shaji Ul Mulk, the league’s chairman, says this season will be broadcast on TV in 124 countries, as well as streamed online on JioTV.

He hopes the new addition to the league will expand the competition’s interest, as well as attract supporters from what is said to be the third largest expatriate community in the UAE.

“The league is a South Asian concept, and we were very keen to have a Bangladeshi business house with a core cricket knowledge to be associated with the league,” Ul Mulk said.

Even though the dates for the T10 coincide with a Test and limited-overs series between Bangladesh and India, the owners of the new franchise say they are in talks to sign Bangladesh international players.

The squads include 14 players, and they hope at least five of the players in the Bangla Tigers roster will be from that country.

“We are concentrating on our national team players, they are our top priority,” Sirajuddin Alam, the co-owner of the team, said.

“The whole Bangladeshi people are owners of this team. We know there is the series going on with India, but still we are expecting we can bring some big names from Bangladesh.

"We hope we can bring them here to help make this tournament a big success.”

Yasin Chowdhury, the other co-owner of the side, said: “We are here to promote Bangladeshi cricket by participating in a big event like T10 league, so this is a proud day for us.”

Matt Boucher, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Cricket, said he hopes the new team will prompt the return of the thousands of Bangladeshi supporters who were a striking feature of the Asia Cup later year.

“We experienced the fantastic Bangladeshi fans during the Asia Cup last year and can’t wait to host them again,” Boucher said.