UAE league: Zaheer Khan leads the T10 pack

Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Reetinder Singh Sodhi and Subramaniam Badrinath have confirmed their participation in the second edition of the T10 league, which has created quite a buzz in the international media, if not in India, for its franchise owners. A recent report has suggested a dubious record of a Pakistani-origin owner of a franchise but its officials immediately rubbished it saying he is not among the owners of the eight team league.

Questions have been raised if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which disallows Indian players from taking part in franchise-based tournaments overseas, has permitted these cricketers to take part in the event which will be held in the United Arab Emirates from November 21 to December 2.

No permission needed?
Messages to the players remained unanswered but a league official said these players don’t need permission because they are not contracted to the BCCI. Besides, all of them are retired. Meanwhile, the organisers of the proposed league sent out a release stating that “no other cricket event has created such an excitement and interest as the T10 League, with the best of cricketers & teams in fray.” However, one was not sure if there was as much excitement among officials of the International Cricket Council (ICC) who recently met in Singapore.

The ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit, which now has a new chairman in David Howman, has cautioned the member boards to be careful of new leagues and asked them to do their due diligence. The T10 league has got ACU clearance but reports have suggested that the ICC has concerns about the franchise ownershipsMost of the teams are owned by Indians and Pakistanis.
The organisers, who have appointed Arvinder Singh, a former CEO of Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions, as its CEO, have said that the ICC has not communicated any concerns to them. Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram is also associated with the league as its brand ambassador. “We’ve got the Anti-Corruption clearances and we have not had any communication from the ICC,” a league official said.

The general impression is that the equation among the Indian and Pakistani owners in the league is not very cordial. It started at the very top with a Pakistani promoter pulling out of the tournament because of organisational differences.
It is now headed by Indian promoter Shaji Ul Mulk along with another Pakistani partner.

Sehwag likely as the coach?
Apart from the Indian players participating, Virender Sehwag is likely to be the coach of one of the franchises. Further, star players such as Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Smith (all West Indies), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan (all Afghanistan), Jason Roy, Sam Billings (both England) are among the 80 international cricketers to have confirmed participation. 

The tournament has been recognized by the Emirates Cricket Board. It will be broadcast in India by Sony.