Now in its fourth edition, the tournament is set to start on January 28, with Tom Banton to play for the Qalandars for a successive season.
The 22-year-old from Buckinghamshire has featured in six One Day International matches and nine Twenty20 International matches for the England cricket team in his fledgling career but for him, the T10 format stands out.
“I find that it is a powerplay for the whole 10 overs, so I swing as hard as I can,” Banton told The Abu Dhabi T10 when asked about his approach to cricket’s newest format. “I loved it last year. I spoke to Chris Lynn… and even he said it was his favourite tournament.”
The batting powerplay -- when only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle -- is a restriction employed in limited overs cricket to provide an opportunity for runs to flow. In T10 cricket, the batting powerplay lasts for three overs.
Tom Banton put on his own version of a ‘powerplay’ last season in The Abu Dhabi T10 during his onslaught against Karnataka Tuskers.
“In that game, I was at just 5 runs off 7 balls and in a bit of a panic,” he recalled.
The Qalandars opener calmed his nerves and got into his groove that night, smacking nine fours and six towering sixes. He got to his fifty in just 17 balls, the quickest that season, and played at a strike rate of 285.7.
Banton swept and pulled the ball all across the park, demonstrating an array of unorthodox shots during his knock of 80 off 28.
It brought the delighted crowd at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium to their feet. “It was a good day,” Banton summed up.
The batsman credits his ability to swing the bat to the hockey-playing days of his childhood.
“I played hockey till I was about 18 years old so that probably helps me with my sweeping and reverse sweeping,” he shared.
Tom Banton’s strokeplay is also inspired by his admiration for South African great AB de Villiers.
“AB de Villiers is the No. 1 (inspiration) for me. He played a lot of sports when he was younger, like I did. Some of the things he can do are pretty special and I try to replicate those.”
Apart from playing hockey, Tom Banton grew up watching a lot of red-ball cricket because his father Colin Banton played First-Class matches for county side Nottinghamshire.
Tom Banton has however excelled in the faster white-ball format and has since then, gone from strength to strength, becoming a sought-after player in cricket leagues all across the world.
The 22-year-old Banton will make his first appearance in the new season of The Abu Dhabi T10 when the Qalandars go up against Pune Devils on January 29 at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.