LONDON: The T10 league that has quickly made a name for itself could be about to branch out to other countries, the league’s chairman SHajji Ul-Mulk has revealed.
The UAE-based format is only in its second season, but that has not stopped Ul-Mulk from having grand plans to export cricket’s latest white-ball phenomenon far and wide.
“Boards are coming to us and it’s all about how we fit in commercially. We will probably have one more T10 in 2019; that’s our ambition,” Ul-Mulk told ESPNcricinfo.
“We are talking to a few boards, but it depends on how it goes. One thing is very clear: we only want to work with boards.”
The first T10 cricket league saw star names such as Eoin Morgan, Shahid Afridi, Alex Hales and Darren Sammy thrill crowds in Sharjah as the Kerala Kings claimed the inaugural trophy 12 months ago.
This year the number of teams has increased, from six to 10, and even more big names have joined the big-hitting spectacle, with Jason Roy, Wahab Riaz, Shane Watson, Zaheer Khan and Chris Gayle taking part in the ongoing competition in the UAE.
Ul-Mulk did not reveal which boards he is in direct talks with, but did hint at the format having a possible future not only in traditional cricket headlands such as England and South Africa, but also the US.
“The US market is great, the UK market is excellent for cricket, and South Africa, too, for that matter. With T10 the way it is, with 90 minutes (of) cricket, (it) actually opens up new markets that cricket doesn’t have now.
“For us, the US is one of those big markets where we feel that we can reconnect cricket there. Cricket can have a strong place in the US, which it doesn’t have at the moment.”
While cricket and the US are not normally associated together, the current T10 league does have Ali Khan, an American of Pakistani origin, taking part, and as recently as 2015 a group of all-stars that included Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar among a host of legends, played in three T20s in a bid to increase the popularity of the sport in the land of baseball and gridiron.
While Ul-Mulk revealed he was not in talks with Cricket Australia he did admit that the country was one of the countries where he sees a big opportunity to spread the T10 game.
“Australia would be very interesting for us, but we’ve not started talking to them yet. They’re not one of the three boards that I’ve mentioned. But that would surely be a great market and there are a lot of great markets for us.”