The latest season of the Abu Dhabi T10 promises to deliver electrifying, fast-paced cricketing action courtesy of the six world-class teams that will fight for the title, starting November 19.
As we gear up for the world’s fastest cricket format, let’s look at how the six teams shape up.
The defending champions and the most successful team of the tournament, Northern Warriors, have ticked all the boxes that can help them retain the title.
Firstly, they have appointed a new captain in West Indies cricketer Rovman Powell, who has the experience of leading internationally and in franchise cricket as well.The Warriors have also named Chris Jordan, who was last season’s bowler of the tournament, as their Icon Player. Last season, Jordan picked up seven wickets at an economy of just over eight.
Accompanying Chris Jordan will be former Indian pacer Abhimanyu Mithun while the spin bowling duties will be shared by Englishman Moeen Ali and South Africa’s Imran Tahir.
Meanwhile, West Indies’ explosive batter Kennar Lewis will shoulder the run-scoring responsibility.
Last season’s runners-up, Delhi Bulls have roped in World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan and retained white-ball legend Dwayne Bravo to help them reach the summit this season.
Muhammad Hafeez, nicknamed “The Professor”, was also brought in to strengthen the batting unit. Hafeez had a stellar tournament last time and was striking at a rate of 180.
The USA’s Jaskaran Malhotra is also a new addition to the Bulls’ roster. Having struck six sixes in an over in an ODI earlier this year, the American’s power-hitting is perfectly suited for the T10 format.
Adil Rashid, Ravi Rampaul, Dominic Drakes and young wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz are the other notable names in the Bulls’ unit.
Team Abu Dhabi
For the new season, Team Abu Dhabi have retained the services of arguably the greatest short-format batter of all time, Chris Gayle. The Universe Boss helped the team finish third last time and holds the record for the joint-fastest fifty in the tournament, having reached the mark in just 12 balls last season.
The home team has bolstered its bowling too, with their new signing Sheldon Cottrell. The West Indian will be accompanying last season’s leading wicket-taker Jamie Overton and Naveen ul Haq.
England’s opener Liam Livingstone and UAE legend Rohan Mustafa also feature in the Team Abu Dhabi roster.
The home team is also making waves outside the field after appointing Sarah Taylor as an assistant coach – the first female in the world to hold the position in men’s professional franchise cricket.
After failing to reach the playoffs last time, the Deccan Gladiators have done well in the off season to build a formidable team.
The biggest name in the Deccan Gladiators’ team is World Cup winner Andre Russell from the West Indies. The Caribbean star has not been at his best in recent times, but when on song, Dre Russ can decimate any bowling attack with ease.
The Gladiators’ experienced line-up also includes the explosive stroke maker from South Africa, David Wiese and Pakistan’s fast bowler Wahab Riaz.
The Gladiators have also brought in T10 stars Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Tom Banton, who were among the top run-getters last season.
In the bowling department, the No. 1 T20I bowler of the world Wanindu Hasaranga will be troubling the batsmen with his mystery spin.
The Bangla Tigers have boosted their bid for a maiden T10 title by naming South African great Faf du Plessis as their captain.
Faf du Plessis is one of the best T20 batters in the world and would be a player to watch out for in this Abu Dhabi T10 season. He was part of the title-winning IPL team of Chennai Super Kings and has ample experience of playing on the UAE pitches.
Another notable name in the Tigers’ squad is James Faulkner from Australia, whose aggressive batting and lethal bowling at the death is bound to bear fruit for the team.
Meanwhile, previous skipper Andre Fletcher is also in the team but this time as a specialist batsman.
The Chennai Braves
The newest team in Abu Dhabi T10, The Chennai Braves, are readying to make an explosive start to the tournament after signing the swashbuckling former Indian batter Yusuf Pathan.
The older of the Pathan brothers, Yusuf will not only contribute with the bat but also mentor the younger players, having performed at the highest level in international cricket and franchise cricket, too.
He will be joined by compatriot Munaf Patel, who has made over 80 appearances and picked more than 100 wickets for India.
Along with the two Indians, the addition of four Sri Lankans – Angelo Perera, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya Lakshan and Dasun Shanaka – makes The Chennai Braves a strong contender for the title this year.
The Braves also have the services of Ravi Bopara, one of the highest scorers from last season, and Mohammad Shahzad, who holds the record for the joint-fastest 50.