T10 League: Eoin Morgan to return as the league moves to Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: The upcoming Abu Dhabi T10 League, which will be played at the Zayed Cricket Stadium from November 15-24, has received a massive boost with some of the world’s leading cricketers led by ICC World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan committing to their participation.

Morgan, who led England to a dramatic victory over New Zealand on home turf at Lord’s last month, joins several leading international players including Pakistan’s Shoaib Malek, former West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy, and Australians Shane Watson and Cameron White, who will be available for team selection during the mid-September draft.

Announcing their interest are Sri Lankan duo Angelo Matthews and Lasith Malinga; Afghanistan’s big-hitting Mohammad Shahzad; and the West Indies trio of Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, according to the organisers at a press conference.

The T10 League is the brainchild of T10 Sports Management Group Founder and Chairman, Shaji Ul Mulk. The previous editions were held in Sharjah and Dubai, respectively.

It is the first-ever 10-over league in the world to receive the full backing and sanction of both the International Cricket Council and the Emirates Cricket Board.

Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Up and down the Abu Dhabi T10 roster you will find world-class talent, big personalities and the best possible ambassadors of the game. We could not be happier at the timing of this partnership to bring the brightest stars in cricket to the UAE such as Eoin Morgan.”

In a message, Morgan highlighted the impact that the T10 format will have on youngsters. “I heard from a lot of parents that this year’s [ICC Cricket World Cup] was the first one they could enjoy with their sons or daughters.

“Kids are discovering the joy of cricket all over again. Well, the T10 is brilliant for bringing kids and first-time fans into the stadium, where you have all the stars, all the action and all the glamour you could hope for. It’s just brilliant for the future of cricket all around.”

Sammy shared a similarly positive outlook towards the tournament and its new home in the UAE.

“Abu Dhabi is a fantastic choice to host the T10,” he said, “There’s a mixed audience with plenty of support for cricket. Everything is top-class, so I’ve no doubt the Abu Dhabi T10 will be a smashing success.”

Abu Dhabi Cricket CEO, Matt Boucher noted: “We feel we’ve bolstered the capital’s glowing portfolio of world-class events by ensuring that Abu Dhabi becomes a must-see ticket on the global cricket calendar for the next five years and what this means for the growth of the sport in the region. It’s another big stride in the growth of cricket in Abu Dhabi and we’re grateful to both the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council for making this happen.”

Saeed Al Saeed, Director of Destination Marketing at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming cricket fans, both those based in the UAE and those from overseas, for the Abu Dhabi T10, so they can discover for themselves what our extraordinary destination has to offer.”

More players and big names will continue to be announced in the lead-up to the Abu Dhabi T10 draft event, scheduled for mid-September.

The eight participating teams are Kerala Knights, Bengal Tigers, Northern Warriors, Pakhtoon, Deccan Gladiators, Punjabi Legends, Maratha Arabians and Rajput.