The land of innovations, United Arab Emirates (UAE), is all set to welcome yet another this winter. Come December 2017 and the game of cricket would have transformed forever all thanks to innovation of Shaji Ul Mulk.
Fans can now see cricket’s own version of 90-minute contests lasting 10-overs-a-side in a new entertaining tournament, titled T10 Cricket League (TCL). The entire tournament will be as swift as the format lasting just four days from 21-24 December filled with entertainment both on and off the field as rivalry rekindled amongst South Asian cricket superstars.
Six franchises-Punjabi Legends, Pakhtoons, Maratha Arabians, Bangla Tigers, Colombo Lions, and Kerala Kings- based entirely on the South Asian region with their icon players were unveiled on Tuesday at a grand launch of the tournament at the iconic JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in the city.
Among the Brand Ambassadors revealed were former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and former India captain Virender Sehwag. Current England ODI and T20I captain Eoin Morgan, Bangladesh’s talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and ex-Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq were named Team Icons.
The final look of all squads will be firmed up on 25 October when around 120 players will go into a pool for a player draft to be held in Dubai.
Legendary former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was revealed as the Brand Mentor and also is the co-owner of Punjabi Legends, along with Intizar-ul-Haq. The Colombo franchise is owned by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), while the Maratha Arabians ownership will be a partnership between three — Bollywood actor Sohail Khan, Ali Tumbi of Aqua Properties, and Parvez Khan of Pacific Ventures.
Pakhtoons is owned by Habib Khan, owner of General Petroleum and Tajuddin Khan, while Kerala Kings is jointly owned by Hussain Adam Ali and Dr Shafi Ul Mulk. Bangla Tigers’ ownership is jointly managed by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) official Shirajuddin Alam, Yasin Choudhary, Neelesh Bhatnagar of NB Ventures, Anis Sajan and Rizwan Sajan of Danube.
It is only befitting that such an innovative approach is unveiled in a historic setting in the UAE and nothing fits this bill better than the Guinness Record Holder, Sharjah Cricket Stadium (SCS).
The entire concept of TCL is the brainchild of Shaji Ul Mulk, an innovator in his own right, since his arrival in the UAE. As the president of TCL, Shaji Ul Mulk, has led his way through his company’s diversified business interests at Mulk Holdings.
But even after all these years of being the leader of his field, Shaji Ul Mulk was always keen to contribute to his first love, cricket. Having been a cricketer himself, Shaji Ul Mulk felt there was a gap in the cricket ecosystem which called out for something new.
“Since the advent of Twenty20 cricket, I always felt that there could be something else that our sport can offer the world. It was then that I sat down to discuss with my team. We came up with the thought that cricket needs to match the best sporting action in the world. Most of these sports last no more than 90 minutes.
“We need to evolve with times and nothing should signify this better than giving a product to the fans that they can relate with. So here we are after months of planning to finally unveil to the world, our dream (TCL),” added Shaji Ul Mulk, also a Member of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB).
Essentially promoted by Shaji Ul Mulk’s T Ten Sports, the tournament has active support and backing of the ECB, the home board in the country. Also backing the tournament are the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). The International Cricket Council (ICC) has also advised its member boards to allow its players to show their skills during the four-day competition.
David East, Chief Executive, ECB, said: “We are forever looking for concepts to help promote the game in the country. When this tournament concept came to us, it was a perfect opportunity for us to maximise our goals. We at the ECB wholeheartedly support this tournament and wish Shaji Ul Mulk’s team all the success.”
The tournament will not just be about entertainment on the field. There are a whole host of entertaining activities planned for fans who will walk in through the gate during the four-day extravaganza.
“You cannot expect a better venue than the Sharjah Cricket Stadium to stage this exciting South Asian contest. The planned extravaganza will be something that the target audience from South.
Asia will really relate to. It will be an opportunity to come over and have a good time during those four days. They also get to see their favourite stars in action,” added Jawad Ghulam Rasool, Chief Executive, TCL.
A massive themed opening ceremony has been planned with a grand entrance for each squad. Performances by Indian film stars, Pakistani TV, film stars and musicians, players and dancers will be a standard affair and mesmerising light shows will add to the visual flavour of the launch.
After every over, there will be a performance to entertain the crowd. Dance offs between rival team dancers will take place before and during the matches. An innings’ end will be marked with acrobatic performances, bands, parades, live music, celebrity crowd interaction and more for pure entertainment value.