Below, a guide to the Masters Champions League, which begins on Thursday in Dubai when the Libra Legends of Jacques Kallis and Graeme Swann play the Gemini Arabians of Kumar Sangakkara and Virender Sehwag.
The Masters Champions League is a Twenty20 league that will feature retired (from international cricket, at least) greats in a six-team competition spread out across roughly two weeks in the UAE. (Of course, the actual definition of "retirement", and therefore eligibility, has been something of an issue.) The brainchild of Zafar Shah, the idea is that it takes on the profile of being something like an IPL for past greats.
The first match is on Thursday in Dubai, where three days of matches will be played before the tournament moves to Sharjah from February 3-7, and then returning to Dubai for the play-offs February 11-13. To make things easier, here’s a full schedule:
January 28, 7.30pm, Dubai – Libra Legends v Gemini Arabians
January 29, 3pm, Dubai – Capricorn Commanders v Leo Lions; 7.30pm – Virgo Super Kings v Sagittarius Strikers
January 30, 3pm, Dubai – Arabians v Lions; 7.30pm – Strikers v Commanders
February 3, 3pm, Sharjah – Legends v Super Kings; 7.30pm – Arabians v Commanders
February 4, 3pm, Sharjah – Legends v Strikers; Lions v Super Kings
February 5, 3pm, Sharjah – Strikers v Arabians; 7.30pm – Legends v Commanders
February 6, 3pm, Sharjah – Arabians v Super Kings; 7.30pm – Lions v Strikers
February 7, 3pm, Sharjah – Super Kings v Commanders; 7.30pm – Legends v Lions
Semi-final 1 – February 11, 7.30pm, Dubai
Semi-final 2 – February 12, 7.30pm, Dubai
Final – February 13, 7.30pm, Dubai
Anybody who’s anybody, or at least close to it. Each team has three icon players, as follows:
Gemini Arabians – Virender Sehwag, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan
Sagittarius Soldiers – Mahela Jayawardene, Daniel Vettori, Adam Gilchrist
Capricorn Commanders – Michael Vaughan, Abdul Razzaq, Paul Collingwood
Libra Legends – Sourav Ganguly, Graeme Swann, Jacques Kallis
Virgo Super Kings – Graeme Smith, Azhar Mahmood, Brett Lee
Leo Lions –Brian Lara, Scott Styris, Heath Streak
That’s without even acknowledging the likes of Robin Peterson, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jonathan Trott dotting rosters. Point being: There are big names involved.
Dubai and Sharjah. The league is wholly contained within the UAE, though there is no Abu Dhabi leg.
Dubai International Cricket Stadium lies off Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road in Dubia, part of the Dubai Sports City complex; Sharjah Cricket Stadium sits along side S117, off King Abdul Aziz Street / Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Road, next to Sharjah Football Stadium.
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