Zaheer Khan: T10 can be catalyst for cricket’s global growth

The former India fast bowler feels the Abu Dhabi T10 league represents a good opportunity for cricketers from the UAE to showcase their talent.

Zaheer Khan plays for Delhi Bulls in the Abu Dhabi T10 League.   -  Vivek Bendre

Former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan feels T10 is a format that can help make cricket a global sport.

Currently, only a handful of countries across the world play cricket at the international level. However, with the advent of T20 format, more and more nations are now participating in the competition and a huge pool of young talent is coming across. “Every format of cricket has its own place and fan following. This is the third year of the T10 league and it’s growing every year. So, this format in my understanding can work as a catalyst for the global growth of the sport,” Zaheer, who plays for Delhi Bulls club in the Abu Dhabi T10 league, told IANS.

The Abu Dhabi T10 is a professional 10-over format cricket league launched by T10 Sports Management, licensed by the Emirates Cricket Board and approved by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing body of international cricket.

Matches have 10-over-a-side format and a duration of 45 minutes a side, totalling 90 minutes of play. The tournament, approved by the ICC in August, 2018, is played over 10 days with a round robin followed by semifinals and the final.

“It’s a great thing that this property of T10 is doing great and all the stakeholders associated with it are working in the right direction,” Zaheer said.

‘Global tournament’

“It is a global tournament and there are opportunities for all the players to take part in it. There’s a process which is followed by the league committee and players registered under that. It’s one of the unique leagues where there’s no such restriction on the number of players from a particular country. This is a good opportunity for UAE cricket and the youngsters over here to showcase their talent,” he added.

Players from Pakistan are not participating in the league this season because the Pakistan Cricket Board revoked the ‘No Objection Certificate’ it gave to its contracted players. Retired stars like Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir were expected to take part in the third edition of the league. However, their absence has somewhat disappointed the fans who turn up in large numbers to see them play.

Read | Yuvraj Singh disappoints as Maratha Arabians loses to Northern Warriors

For Delhi Bulls, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Hasnain and Aamer Yamin are absent. But the team management is not affected by it and insists it has a great balance in the squad.

‘Like-for-like replacements’

“I am very happy with the replacements that we have got for the Pakistani players. We have got Angelo Mathews for Shoaib Malik, Ravi Rampaul for Aamer Yamin, David Willey for Sohail Tanvir and Dushmantha Chameera for Mohammad Hasnain,” team owner Anis Sajan said.

“So, I cannot complain. I have got like-for-like replacements.”

And it surely didn’t feel like the Bulls missed any of the Pakistani players as Eoin Morgan led from the front to guide them to a comfortable nine-wicket win over Deccan Gladiators in their first match of the league at the Zayed Cricket stadium on Friday evening.