Five takeaways from the T10 League

Source | espncricinfo Dec 02, 2018

Sharjah: The curtains came down on the second season of the T10 League in Sharjah on Sunday night with the Northern Warriors seeing off Pakhtoons to clinch the trophy.

It brought an end to 12 days of cricket that saw the Warriors amass a mind-boggling 183 for 2 in 10 overs, the individual record-highest score broken twice, a 47-year-old leggie taking 5 for 15, a Pakistan legend’s call for T10’s inclusion in the Olympics, and the chairman hinting at two tournaments next year. ESPNcricinfo look at five takeaways from the tournament.

A young man’s game? Not quite.

In an environment where immediacy drives us, T10 actually feels like everything the modern world deserves. It’s fast, it’s loud, and it doesn’t require too much of an attention span. These things might make you believe it’s a young man’s game, but this tournament showed there was no alternative to experience. The rapid-fire nature of the game means that a calmer and wiser head is needed as much as youthful exuberance. Look no further than Pravin Tambe, who – at 47-years-young – took the tournament’s first ever five-for and ended up with eight wickets in four games. One for the future, maybe?

We could see a T10 ton soon

Since Mohammad Shahzad battered 74* from 16 balls in the tournament opener, the idea of a T10 century seemed more likely. Shahzad’s innings – where he ran out of runs to chase – showed there was enough time for a batsman to reach three-figures, but it would take something special. Three scores over 80 again suggest it’s very much in the realms of possibility and that it is a matter of time before someone notches up a T10 century. Do not be surprised if it happens next year.

Where do the UAE players fit in?

The T10 League is held hand-in-hand with the Emirates Cricket Board, and the organisers are adamant that the league should feed into UAE cricket and help develop the sport in the country. There are talent hunt programmes outside the UAE earmarked for next year, with the promise of jobs and a pathway to the national team for standout discoveries. In the tournament itself, there are designated slots in the squads (two) and playing XIs (one) of each team for local players. However, the majority of the UAE players have, much like last year, taken on fielding roles and captains have searched for increasingly inventive ways to hide them. The UAE boys may need to make more of an impression, or captains may need to give them more of a chance to. Either way, UAE players remain on the periphery for now.

What constitutes a good score?

England’s Liam Dawson admitted that it was difficult for teams – especially batting first – to gauge a good score in T10 cricket. It was reflected in the fact that just eight of the 29 matches were won by the team setting a target. So what in T10 is a good score? Well, the average winning total rounds up to 108 but a large portion of those scores were by a side winning while chasing, and with time to spare. Looking at the eight games where the team batting first won, however, gives a better impression of a challenging total to pose. The average score from those eight was 134. But while scores of 134 and 135 were successfully chased, no total over 140 was – which might be the magic number to aim for.

Could T10 go worldwide?

League chairman and the brains behind T10 – Shaji Ul Mulk – told ESPNcricinfo this week that the league is determined to add another destination to the T10 calendar in 2019. He confirmed talks have been held with international cricket boards and flirted with the USA as a potential destination. Ul Mulk followed those comments up with further advocacy for T10 to help take cricket to new markets and break-in countries with little or no affiliation with the sport. America is a perfect fit to fulfil those ambitions and the instancy, as well as the brutal range hitting of T10, means it could be just the product that piques American influence in cricket.

Apart from taking it to other destinations, T10 also found advocacy from Shahid Afridi as a potential entry to the Olympics. Afridi told ESPNcricinfo that this was “the perfect format” to introduce cricket. Last year, Eoin Morgan had also backed T10 as a potential Olympic sport.