West Indies star Chris Gayle confirmed for Abu Dhabi T10

Experienced batsman is the 'icon player' for Team Abu Dhabi

Chris Gayle of Kings XI Punjab hits over the top for 6 during match 38 of season 13 of the Dream 11 Indian Premier League (IPL) between the Kings XI Punjab and the Delhi Capitals held at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on the 20th October 2020.  Photo by: Ron Gaunt  / Sportzpics for BCCI

West Indies star Chris Gayle will be among the headline names set to line up at next month’s Abu Dhabi T10 at the Zayed Cricket stadium.

Gayle, who has hit over 1,000 sixes in the Twenty20 format, was named as Team Abu Dhabi’s 'iconic player' in the eight-team competition from January 28 to February 6, the organisers announced.

“The shorter the format, the more exciting the game becomes, I can’t wait to play at the Zayed Cricket stadium again, and watch out Abu Dhabi - a Gayle storm is coming!” Gayle, 41, said in a statement.

Gayle was recently in the UAE as part of the Kings XI Punjab team that played in the Indian Premier League, which was relocated because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Joining Gayle as 'iconic players' in the other franchises are Andre Russell (Northern Warriors), Shahid Afridi (Qalandars), Dwayne Bravo (Delhi Bulls), Sunil Narine (Deccan Gladiators), Thisara Perera (Pune Devils), Isuru Udana (Bangla Tigers), and Shoaib Malik (Maratha Arabians).

Gayle's compariot Russell is one of the most exciting players in limited overs cricket. He has played in more than 300 T20’s and smashed over 800 boundaries in various leagues around the world.

The Qalandars boasts the World T20 Cup winner and Pakistani legend Afridi in their ranks.

“I look forward to coming back to the Abu Dhabi T10 and playing in one of the most stunning stadiums in the world,” the Pakistan all-rounder said.

Delhi Bulls have roped in the West Indian all-rounder Bravo, and the Deccan Gladiators have signed another big-hitting West Indian all-rounder, Narine.

Sri Lankan pair Perera and Udana represent the Pune Devils and Bangla Tigers respectively, while the defending champions Maratha Arabians count on the Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik.

“Although we have hosted numerous local and international cricket events in the past, our commitment to host the second season of Abu Dhabi T10 enhances our gold star portfolio of world-class destination sporting events,” Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said.

“It builds upon and expands our profile for bringing together the top athletes in world sport and offering elite competition and unparalleled entertainment value.”