Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers as Global Brand Ambassador - Image by UAET20X @UAET20X (Twitter)

It was a big hole quite visible for a long time but not much talked about in the streets. The need became more evident when the country initiated the T10 format and successfully organised the event. On why there is no franchise-based T20 league already in place in UAE??

Emirates Cricket Board have been playing host’s to Pakistan’s International Home games/series for a considerable period of time and have been the host’s for Pakistan Super League as well. Even the matches from Indian Premier League have been staged in UAE earlier.

UAE have the infrastructure and facilities to host Multi-Team/Nation tournaments and the successful organising of Heera T10 league showcased the fact that Emirates Cricket Board have the right tools in the bag to even host their own T20 league (franchise-based, not domestic), if all required requirements were met at the right time.

Fewer opportunities to play in global T20 leagues and less broadcast of matches for Associate nations have somehow combined well to deprive UAE and other Associate member nation players the chance to get noticed by leagues worldwide. During the ICC World T20 Asia A qualifiers in Kuwait, some notable performances were seen from players from Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Maldives and others but without any established platform in the region, it was always going to be tough for proper development of players in the region.

Players from UAE and Oman, the heavyweights in the region, too have suffered in the recent past to get opportunities to play in overseas leagues.

Yes, there is Hong Kong’s T20 Blitz, which has a specific quota of having one Associate member nation player in each franchise team’s, and there are T20 leagues in Nepal and now Canada as well, but the global visibility for Associate players is still not up-to the required levels for them.

All the above will be a thing in the past in Dec 2018 and Jan 2019. Enter UAET20X, Emirates Cricket Board’s Magnum Opus with its mission to not only elevate the domestic structure in UAE, but to also elevate the growth of the sport in the region and other Associate countries worldwide.

Yes, the league will be taking place at the same time as Australia’s Big Bash, but the otherwise empty period in Dec 2018 for T20 circuit players will now have a place for them as Big Bash doesn’t allow for more than two overseas players per squad.

In terms of opportunities, UAET20X is better placed for not only T20 specialists, but also 15 Associate member nation players (3 players per 5 franchise squads). And to ensure that the tournament gets the Global attention from the onset, the organisers brought on board the modern generation cricketing legend, South Africa’s AB de Villiers as the tournaments Brand Ambassador.

He may be the non-playing member of the tournament, but his sheer presence will be invaluable for UAE and other Associate member players to look upon, interact and learn from.

Further developments have already linked prominent figures from India and Pakistan involved with Indian Premier League and Pakistan Super League to have expressed their interest to be involved with UAET20X.

It’s absolutely vital for UAE and other Associate member players to use this platform to get noticed by franchise scouts worldwide as notable performances could get them a potential shot in getting shortlisted for future IPL auctions/PSL draft.

The players will also get the chance to play alongside International T20 stars and the signing of West Indies player Andre Russell and South African David Miller as the first of the ICON players for the draft was just the start needed for other prominent names to come down to UAE to play in the league.

UAET20X will be the game-changer for Associate member nation players. It has the right tools to develop and promote both the sport and the players. It will have the right link channels to other high-profile T20 leagues worldwide. It will provide the much required exposure and visibility that has been lacking.

UAET20X Logo @UAET20X (Twitter)

Associate Cricket will thrive and UAET20X will fuel the growth for the future. Eagerly awaited to see the best of Associate cricket on the Global stage.

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