London : The popularity of Twenty20 leagues across the world has paved the way for even much shorter format — the T10 League — and it is also finding its footing in the cricketing world.
Though, the ten-over format has never been used as a professional league form until 2017, when Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, the chairman of Mulk Holdings launched the T10 League as the world’s first formal franchise tournament in which some of the world’s best cricketers played in six teams.
Eight teams — Kerala Knights, Punjab Legends, Maratha Arabians, Bengal Tigers, Sindhis, Rajputs, Northern Warriors and Pakhtoon — were drawn in to two groups in the 2nd Season of the T10 League that took place at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium from November 21 to December 2.
“I think this is the perfect format to re-invent cricket and introduce it to the Olympics. All participating players are enjoying it. It is a quick fire format and a big test for bowlers. The format also provides the batsmen an opportunity to show their skills. I myself had some great knocks out there in the middle.” said Paksitan’s star batsman Shahid Afridi, who represented the Pakhtoon in the 2018 edition of the T10 League at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
“I think cricket will change with this [T10]. Even T20 and one-day cricket will change with this style of cricket. I think T10 can be taken to many other non-cricket playing nations to increase the popularity of the game,” Afridi said.
This translates to an average match score of 224 runs per match, while average innings score crossed 112 runs in 60 balls – or nearly two runs per ball – the highest in any form of cricket.
More than 73.2 percent of the total 2,914 runs came through boundaries while the highest team score touched the 132-run mark and the highest individual score was 69.
The T10 League has been endorsed by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) that regulates and promotes the game of cricket in the UAE and is a member of the International Cricket Council.
The rapid-fire spread of the T10 League has encouraged T10 Sports Management – owner of the T10 League to add two more franchise teams and spread the tournament to 29 matches to be played in 12 days — ensuring greater visibility, participation and extended reach of the ten-over format cricket across the world.
The T10 League, in many ways, has captured the imagination of the cricket fraternity and it’s rising popularity has prompted the ICC to recognise the format and sanction the T10 League last July.
The ICC sanction virtually puts a stamp on the new ten-over format of cricket and makes the T10 League the world’s first formal ten-over franchise league tournament.
Although cricket is not a native Arab or Emirati game, it has become very popular amongst the expatriate population as well as the locals. As a result, the country has seen a flurry of cricket matches – including Test matches, One-Day Internationals, quick-fire T20 and T10 matches being played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.