Tests. ODIs. T20. The Hundred. T10. Phew! Cricket has a lot of formats these days. And with each format is accompanied glitzy franchise-based league whose proliferation, expansion or contraction continues throughout the year. The latest expansion comes in a Dubai-based T10 League which will be in its 3rd edition alter this year.
The League comprised of eight franchises in the last edition: Bengali Tigers, Kerela Knights, Maratha Arabians, Northern Warriors, Pakhtoons, Punjabi Legends, and Sindhis Squad. In what is a significant development two new teams- Bangla Tigers and Qalandars- will take part in this year’s edition in Abu Dhabi.
Shahid Afridi unveiled as Qalandars’ marquee player
Qalandars have close links with their Pakistan Super League [PSL] counterparts Lahore Qalandars, with Pakistani businessman Fawad Rana, serving at the helm for both the franchises. The franchise has unveiled former Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi as its marquee player. Interestingly, Afridi led the Pakhtoons franchise, the runners-up of the last season.
The former Pakistani captain who last played for his country in the 2016 World T20 following which he finally announced his retirement, has been a prolific performer in the shortest format of the game since its inception. He was named as the Player of the Tournament in the 2007 World Twenty20, and also happens to be the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of the game.
During his 99-match T20I career, the all-rounder claimed 98 wickets at an average of 24.44 which included three 4-wicket hauls; figures second only to Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga, who has 104 wickets in 76 games at an average of 19.02. And, the owners at the franchise Qalandars will hope that the former all-rounder brings his ‘A’ game to the tournament.
The other franchise- Bangla Tigers- owned by Bangladeshi businessman Yasin Chowdhary and Sirajudddin Alam, was unveiled this past Thursday. Interestingly, another franchise which was called Bengal Tigers last season has changed their name to Delhi Bulls while the Sindhis franchise has been rebranded following a takeover from Gaurav Grover and will be referred to as Deccan Gladiators from now on. One of the exciting clashes to watch out for will be the game between Qalandars (Shahid Afridi) and Maratha Arabians (Dwayne Bravo).
For the uninitiated, Nicholas Pooran-led Northern Warriors defeated Shahid Afridi’s Pakhtoons by 22 runs to claim the title. The third edition of the T10 League will be held in Abu Dhabi from November 15-24, 2019 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
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