The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and promoter OPi Sports, today unveiled the much-anticipated name and logo of its new T20 franchise league - UAE T20x, providing fans with their first glimpse of the exciting competition set to be played across the UAE from 19th December – 11th January.
A new UAE national sporting asset, UAE T20x promises a fan-centric experience and the most internationally-representative line-up of players and coaches seen in any white-ball league around the world. Five new franchise teams will compete for the inaugural league title with a 22-match schedule played over 24 days in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Uniquely, each of the 16-man squads will be comprised of:
- six international star players
- four emerging and junior players
- three ICC Associate Member players; and
- three UAE national team players
This progressive team structure will provide an unmatched developmental opportunity for the best up and coming young players to play on the world-stage alongside icons of the game, something not afforded by any other international T20 competition. To date the Boards of seven ICC Test member nations have given their consent to their players taking part in the new league including: England & Wales, the West Indies, South Africa, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland, together with 12 ICC Associate Member nations.
Zayed Abbas, ECB Board Member and Official Spokesperson, explained: “The number one aim of UAE T20x is to offer a developmental platform for the best young cricketers from around the world, and of course the UAE, to showcase their talent alongside the icons of the game. We want this new league to play its part in helping to grow the game, so we are looking forward to announcing, over the coming weeks, some of the hottest names in cricket who will be part of UAE T20x and the inspiration for the up and coming talent who will be playing alongside them.” UAE T20x has been carefully developed by the ECB with a clear long-term vision to be a commercially sustainable, top-tier, festival of cricket that can help grow the sport throughout the UAE and beyond.
As an ICC Associate Member, the ECB has put the growth and development of the sport at its heart, and a key aim of UAE T20x is to generate new income streams for UAE cricket over the coming years that can be reinvested directly into the grassroots of the game, into coaching, facilities and infrastructure.
This new league, therefore, represents a critically-important venture for the growth of cricket in the UAE.
“As a guardian of the game, we are committed to growing the sport. The primary goal of UAE T20x is to create a lasting legacy that will touch future generations of cricket players and fans - and we are genuinely excited about doing this," added Mr Abbas.
The organisers of the new competition, OPi Sports, are aiming for the T20 league to be the most progressive and inclusive in the world. Hosted in one of the most desirable global destinations, the
newly-announced UAE T20x reflects the UAE's desire to push the realms of possibility, using its unique location as a hub for world-class sport to become a new centre of the cricketing world and to foster the development of the game. The ‘x’ in the name reflects the diversity and vibrancy of the people living in the UAE, and the intention to put on an unforgettable, innovative cricket experience that has the x-factor.
The new league aspires to lead the sport in the adoption of new methods and approaches, including innovation in the format of the competition, innovation as the leading showcase for emerging talent, innovation in the way in which digital and social media are integrated into the fan experience and innovation in the use of new technologies and cutting-edge broadcast production. The ambition over the next three years is for UAE T20x to be a global showcase for innovation and a unique festival of cricket.
Salman Sarwar Butt, CEO of UAE T20x, said: "Cricket is a game that crosses cultures and borders, drawing in fans from across the planet. With UAE T20x we will deliver excitement, innovation and world class entertainment in one of the most progressive countries on earth. No other T20 league provides a platform for up and coming talent to compete with - and learn from - so many iconic cricketers. We believe that UAE T20x will give the stars of the future an invaluable experience, which they will take with them as they continue to develop their domestic and international game after the tournament.”