After the title triumph in the inaugural year of the first ever T10 cricket tournament, Shafi ul Mulk of Kerala Kings sees the shorter formats - T10 and T20 -as they bookend the classic Test format and will draw fans to the stadium.
He revealed that the Dubai-based franchise plans to visit the Kerala Chief Minister Shri Pinayari Vijayan to receive a replica of the trophy in a ceremony in the state, where the team's popularity is increasing.
So, how does it feel to be owners of the first champions of the T10 format?
A: It feels great, obviously and these four days of matches underscore so emphatically the drama that is intrinsic to the quick version of the game. Things panned out just right for us on that final night and winning the toss was vital. But everyone came to the party and captain Eoin Morgan led from the front.
I am the first to admit that any of the six teams could have run away with the trophy they were so evenly matched but we kept the faith and it worked out superbly.
As a frontliner for T10s do you believe this tournament heralds a new era or will it risk being a one off experiment.
A: I don't know much about the administrative side of cricket but innovation and the demands of the times have to be recognised. In any disincline. No one can deny that T10 and T20 bookend the classic Test and will make the 50-over format redundant. The T10 concept was not aimed to upstage the present set up but to augment it. I would imagine that any official body would say it ticks all the right boxes. It is fun, the fans love it. It's visually riveting. All I can say is it is not going away.
The purists feel that this whittling of the game is ruining it?
A: Why would they think that? Did you see the effort the players put into each match? Everyone on that field took it seriously. Even 200 is not out of line.
Source: KT Reporter | Dec. 25, 2
And what do you plan for the KK franchise in the future.
A: Great plans. At the outset we are approaching the Kerala Chief Minister Shri Pinayari Vijayan to receive a replica of the trophy in a ceremony in the state. This will establish a familiarity with the state whose name we bear. Since our fan base on social platforms has risen from 2000 to 200,000 and is rising exponentially every day after this win, we will also be having a major coming together of the community stalwarts and public in the UAE.
You seem to have a special affinity for Kerala.
A: One major factor is my wife is a Keralite and the other is this vibrant community is passionate about its cricket. They have a sense of togetherness and an identity that is unmistakable and their presence in this part of the world is so vital and strong. Let's see in this good season we might even be thinking of an inter-school tournament.
Can T10 cricket improve other formats?
A: I imagine like T20 put a spark into the one dayers and the scores mounted in their average a fair amount of T10 play will have the same impact on the T20.
Are you planning for the next edition? Are there any plans to take it outside the UAE?
A: Next year another tournament certainly. Taking it out of the UAE, let's see, anything is within the realm of possibility.