The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is all set to launch its UAE Cricket Leagues series on Sunday, the sport's national governing body has said.
The five-tournament UAE Cricket Leagues, to be staged through a 28-match schedule over 11 weeks from March to September, will involve teams representing the four cricket councils across the Emirates - Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai and Sharjah. These tournaments will be played in the 50-overs and Twent20 formats and will include categories for men, women and boys.
The series kicks off on Sunday with the boys' 50-overs Under 16 tournament and runs through to March 31. The boys' U19 tournament then gets under way from April 2-7. Both competitions will culminate in a final between the top two teams and a play-off to determine the third and fourth places.
The men’s T20 National League will be next - scheduled to be held in mid-April - followed by the men’s 50-overs league and the women’s T20 league, to be played in September.
The idea, as ECB spokesperson Zayed Abbas put it, is to integrate the various tournaments played across the country.
"After lengthy discussions with our councils, we conceptualised and implemented this series, which will bring the main categories and formats under one competitive, unified structure," Abbas said on Saturday, "one where the UAE’s four councils will compete for a national trophy, and ultimate glory, in T20 and 50-over formats of the game.
“We have a number of successful standalone tournaments in our national structure and calendar already. However, we were also very aware of the need and opportunity to replicate the successful domestic leagues, of other full members, here in the UAE."
The other rationale behind the series, according to Abbas, is to pit "best versus best from each council" that will give the administrators the opportunity to integrate the processes by which to identify talent and pick the national team.