First T-10 league launched in Dubai
To be played over just four days, the league would have four participating teams and the games would last for only 90 minutes.
What's the story?
A first-of-its-kind T-10 league was launched in Dubai on Tuesday (October 3), which would be a 10-overs-per-side club cricket tournament. Various international cricketers -- including Shahid Afridi and Chris Gayle -- would be participating in what is touted to be the next revolution in the way cricket is played around the globe.
The brain behind the league is one UAE-based businessman Shaji Ul Mulk, and the recently-retired Afridi was quick to resonate with Ul Mulk's idea. "When I was told of the T10 league I jumped and said that ‘please I want to play this’," Afridi said at the launch ceremony of the tournament.
The first season of the league would last only four days, would be played out by four teams and matches would last for only 90 minutes. The tournament would be organized in Sharjah in December this year.
In case you didn't know...
Sportskeeda had reported on September 12 that plans for such a league were at the stage of execution and the who's who of international cricket including Virender Sehwag and Kumar Sangakkara were expected to be a part of the league in various capacities.
This league can also be seen as a replacement for the Masters Champions League, a T20 cricket tournament that was played by retired cricketers, which was organized last year. There were uncertainties revolving around the payments to the players that were still pending and there was also an issue of cricketers taking voluntary retirements to play the league.
The heart of the matter
"We all have played ten overs a side on the streets of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh but at a higher level this league will provide a better implementation of this," Ul Mulk quipped about his idea.
It is not just Afridi who has echoed these thoughts. Several active and retired cricketers have expressed willingness to play the league. While Afridi, Sehwag, and Sangakkara are the brand ambassadors of the league, England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, former Bangladesh skipper Shakib-Al-Hasan and Gayle have been roped in as icon players.
"We all remember the days when Twenty20 cricket was launched and it impacted the other formats of the game. If this new format takes off I am sure it will also have an impact on the other three forms of the game," Morgan said.
Misbah-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, was also optimistic about the prospects of this league. "I am excited and this format gives a chance to the ageing players like me because it needs just ten overs of batting and another ten for fielding so for my age it’s sustainable," he said, jokingly.
Approximately 120 players would be pooled for a players' draft on October 25 after which the final squads of each of the four teams would be finalized.
While innovation is the rule of the generation, the impact of any innovative measure on the status quo must also be analyzed. The impact that T20 has had on the sport that was erstwhile ignorant of a 'third' possibility has been quite evident. From escalating run rates to flat pitches, the game's balance has necessarily shifted towards the batsman.
One wonders whether the inception of this league and its success if it so happens would shift the balance even further. Although that's not a grave danger as of now because this format is only at its inception stage.