Northern Warriors, who lifted the title in the second edition, have assembled a squad that can take them all the way to The Abu Dhabi T10 trophy again.
The former champions could not go past the Super League stage in the last season but have all the boxes ticked this time around and will make a strong push to emulate their performance from the second edition.
Team owners Shabaz Elias, Mohomed Morani, Nader Hussein, Zuanaid Moti, and Osman Osman have once again put their faith in West Indian cricketers to help them reach the summit and become the first team to win the title twice.
We take a look at how the team will shape up when they face defending champions Maratha Arabians in the season opener of 2020 Abu Dhabi T10.
High on Caribbean power
The West Indians are undoubtedly the kings when it comes to the shorter formats of cricket, and, keeping that in mind, the Northern Warriors have raked in the services of six Caribbean stars.
One of the finest white-ball batters in the West Indies squad, Nicholas Pooran is the Northern Warriors’ Icon Player and their captain. He is a hot property in cricket leagues across the globe, having played in Australia, India, Bangladesh, Canada, and Hong Kong. He was in sublime form in the 2020 Indian Premier League, where he scored 353 runs at an average of over 35 for the Kings XI Punjab.
Nicholas Pooran’s ability to counter spin on the slow track of the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium will come in handy when he leads the Northern Warriors in The Abu Dhabi T10.
Along with Nicholas Pooran, the Northern Warriors retained Lendl Simmons and Rayad Emrit to keep their Caribbean core intact. Three other West Indians Rovman Powell, Fabian Allen and Brandon King also found a place in the squad that is filled deep with power hitters.
Two Lankan lions
The Northern Warriors owners have put their faith in two highly-rated youngsters from Sri Lanka, Dhananajaya Lakshan and Maheesh Theeksanha, with the former already making waves in the cricketing world through his impressive all-round skills.
An unknown face before the previous Lanka Premier League, Dhananjaya Lakshan stood out as the most exciting young all-rounder of the tournament. The 22-year-old fast bowler finished as the second-highest wicket-taker of the season and also added valuable runs with the bat in the lower order.
Maheesh Theekshana, who bowls the carrom ball like Ajantha Mendis, can play a vital role in the spin-friendly pitches of Abu Dhabi.
The two youngsters will be joined by Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz, who helped the team clinch the title in the second edition with five wickets that season. He missed the last edition of The Abu Dhabi T10 but had done enough for the team in the title-winning campaign to warrant a place in the squad this time.
The UAE’s first-team bowler Waheed Ahmad, who played the ODIs against Ireland a few days ago, will benefit from that experience as all the matches were held at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Joining him at the Northern Warriors squad will be another bowler in the form of Junaid Siddique. In the limited opportunities last season, he scalped two wickets in three overs at a bowling average of 18.00, the second-best for the team. However, the best aspect of his bowling is the low economy, which can help cap the flow of runs.
The 19-year-old batsman Ansh Tandon was also picked by the Northern Warriors as an emerging talent.
The Northern Warriors have roped in former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin as their mentor. The former Indian cricket team captain led his nation in 47 Test matches and 174 ODIs and had one of the highest winning percentages at the time. His delightful style of batting, which earned him 15,000 runs on the international stage, and his vast captaincy experience is sure to help the former T10 champions put up a strong show.
Northern Warriors squad for The Abu Dhabi T10
Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Lendl Simmons, Wayne Parnell, Fabian Allen, Waha Riaz, Rayad Emrit, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Kjorn Ottley, Brandon King, Junaid Siddique, Waheed Ahmad, Maheesh Theeksanha, Ansh Tandon, Muhammad Waseem, Sujeet Paratani.
Northern Warriors fixtures and schedule for The Abu Dhabi T10
28 January, Thursday: Maratha Arabians vs Northern Warriors
30 January, Saturday: Northern Warriors vs Delhi Bulls
31 January, Sunday: Bangla Tigers vs Northern Warriors