The rise of T20 cricket around the world has served plenty of purposes. Not only have the entertainment levels increased leaps and bounds among audiences, but the establishment of such leagues across the world has led to each country having their own T20 leagues, which further leads to new local talent being found all across.
It has given youngsters the chance to play with plenty of international stars and one such country which was all set for the launch of its own T20 league was UAE, with the UAE T20x Cricket League in the pipeline. Everything seemed smoothly sailing until the announcement of UAE’s first T20 franchise league being cancelled as the dates were overlapping with the upcoming 2018/19 edition of the Big Bash League.
The league was set to run between December 19 2018 and January 11 2019, and it had already attracted a handful of international cricket sensations, including AB de Villiers, who was named as the ambassador of the inaugural edition of the UAE T20x. The likes of David Miller, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Shahid Afridi and Kumar Sangakkara were also to be a part of the league.
As per reports, the league was cancelled as three of the five franchise teams failed to be sold by the deadline. However, we believe that it could also be a strategic move, as running the tournament alongside a tournament as popular as the BBL in Australia would’ve hurt the amount of interest there would be in the UAE cricket league by a long way.
“Following talks between the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and event promoter OPi, it has been mutually agreed that the planned UAE T20x franchise cricket league will not take place in the UAE this coming December/January,” read a statement from the Emirates Cricket Board, that announced the cancellation of the much-awaited league.
Now this comes as a major blow not just to cricket fans, but to UAE Cricket as a whole. Always being known as an ‘associate member’, the country lacks exposure, barely getting many matches with the top teams or top players. A one-off example was UAE recently getting to play Australia in a T20 international last month.
Read Scoops is in regular touch with Rohan Mustafa, captain of the UAE National Cricket Team. We conducted a complete interview with the all-rounder a couple of months back, and he told us how everyone was excited about the upcoming UAE T20x league. However, the tables have turned and the player is now deeply saddened by the board’s decision to scrap the competition.
We caught up with the national team skipper after we got the news that the UAE T20x league stood cancelled. The player was clearly disappointed, saying, “It’s not good news for UAE Cricket at all. It was a great opportunity for us to be playing that tournament, alongside some of the best international cricketers. If we performed with or against them, it would be much easier for us to get into other big leagues like the IPL.”
However, ups and downs are a part of life and Mustafa tried to stay positive even with this bad news pouring in. He said, “It’s not good news for UAE as well as the rest of the cricketing world, as everyone is quite upset. But then, life goes on. We can’t complain too much. We still have the upcoming T10 league in UAE which starts in a couple of days (21st November), so let’s hope for the best. If not this year, we can have the UAE T20x next year maybe!”
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