T10 Cricket League to be held early

The change has been made to accommodate a bigger pool of players. “The dates were clashing with the Big Bash League and also with Pakistan’s tour to New Zealand. That’s why we thought of changing it,” Parvez Khan, one of the board members of the T10 Cricket League, told Sportstar.

With Pakistan set to travel to New Zealand on December 27, it would not have been possible to get the Pakistani players on board had the tournament been held as per the earlier schedule.   -  Twitter: @ttencricketuae

The inaugural edition of the T10 Cricket League has been brought forward by a week. The tournament - which has roped in some big names like Shahid Afridi, Kumar Sangakkara, Virender Sehwag - was previously scheduled to be held in Sharjah from December 21-24. But now, it will be held from December 14-17.

The change has been made to accommodate a bigger pool of players. “The dates were clashing with the Big Bash League and also with Pakistan’s tour to New Zealand. That’s why we thought of changing it,” Parvez Khan, one of the board members of the T10 Cricket League, told Sportstar.

Khan admitted that such an advice first came from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). “They (PCB) suggested that look into the possibility of shifting the dates. This will help us have a better player pool and will also allow players prepare better for international commitments and the Big Bash League,” Khan said.

With Pakistan set to travel to New Zealand on December 27, it would not have been possible to get the Pakistani players on board had the tournament been held as per the earlier schedule.

It is learnt that the decision was taken after consulting the owners of the six franchises. “The Pakistan team's camp would begin a week before the New Zealand tour. So, their players would not have been available. We didn't want that,” one of the franchise sources said.

With the PCB backing it, the league is now likely to have all of Pakistan's contracted players up for grabs. While star cricketers Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam are sought after by franchises, the others are also eyeing big deals.

Just not that, now, with the league being brought ahead, the organisers are in talks with players from South Africa and Australia. “We are trying to get AB de Villiers for the league. Since there will be a gap between the TCL and Big Bash, even Aussie players could be available,” Khan said, adding that players from Bangladesh, Afghanistan will also be put up for players draft, to be held in Dubai on November 5.

It is also learnt that the stars - Kumara Sangakkara, Chris Gayle, and Brian Lara - will be visiting Dubai for the players draft. Sehwag, who was supposed to be in Dubai on Monday, for a meeting with his franchise - Maratha Arabians - had to cancel the plan due to some medical emergency at home.

The T10 League has drawn wide attention among cricket fans ever since the six teams were announced in Dubai earlier this month. And now, with the players draft around the corner, and a few games expected to be held in Sharjah, the excitement is likely to go up further.