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Masters Champions League: Everything you need to know

Schedule, tickets, players and the other important information to know ahead of the January 28 start to the Masters Champions League T20 cricket tournament in the UAE.
Dubai International Cricket Stadium, where the Masters Champions League begins on Thursday. Paulo Vecina / The National
Dubai International Cricket Stadium, where the Masters Champions League begins on Thursday. Paulo Vecina / The National

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.

What

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.

When

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

Read more: Masters Champions League – The National’s preview coverage and reporting

Who

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

Photo gallery: Jacques Kallis, Owais Shah, Brendan Taylor and more – Masters Champions League players to watch

That’s without even acknowledging the likes of Robin Peterson, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jonathan Trott dotting rosters. Point being: There are big names involved.

Where

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.

What else?

Tickets are available at ticketmaster.ae. Full squads are available at the MCL website as well.

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE

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Updated: January 25, 2016 04:00 AM

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