After 73 matches and nine weeks, the Indian Premier League final was played on May 29. It was won by one of the two new teams, Gujarat Titans, who finished top of the standings, automatically qualifying for the final.
In this, they convincingly beat Rajasthan Royals, who finished second but reached the final beating third-placed Lucknow Super Giants and fourth-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore in knockout matches.
The chairman of the International Cricket Council was present in India for the end of the tournament, who is of the view that India should be thanked, rather than vilified, for developing T20 cricket to the level of skill and entertainment currently being presented.
However, he acknowledges that the growth and expansion of T20 cricket will further compress an already crowded cricket calendar. One element of this process could be the planned UAE T20 franchise league, licensed by the Emirates Cricket Board.
Although no specific start date has been confirmed, franchisees have already been lined up for the proposed six. They are divided into two groups. Three of them have existing IPL franchises. In November, Reliance Industries, which leads the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, announced its acquisition of a franchise, while GMR Group, which shares ownership of the Delhi Capitals with JSW Group, announced its involvement in February.
On May 13, the Knight Riders Group announced its participation. He already manages the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise in the IPL, as well as the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League and is the founding promoter of Major League Cricket in the United States. Thus, KRG is a major player in T20 franchise cricket and is looking to expand its involvement through the Abu Dhabi team franchise in the UAE T20.
The other three companies all successfully bid for the two new IPL franchises in 2022. One was Lancer Capital, owned by Manchester United co-chairman Avram Glazer, second Indian financial firm Capri Global, and in early May, the England and Wales Cricket Board. confirmed that Ahmedabad-based Adani Group had acquired a franchise. It is understood that between $40 million and $60 million was paid for each of the franchises, spread over 10 years.
Given the limited number of players and spectators in the UAE, the new tournament will depend on its ability to attract high quality international cricketers and live media coverage. Thus, its timing will be vital.
Summer heat of over 40 degrees Celsius between May and August rules out these months, while April and May are busy IPL. The Australian Big Bash League is scheduled to take place from December to the end of January. This coincides with when temperatures in the United Arab Emirates are around 24 degrees Celsius. This also coincides with the Bangladesh Premier League, scheduled between January 3 and February 17, 2023, not to mention the Pakistan Super League between February 15 and March 31.
Another factor to consider is the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament, which took place in October and November. If the same dates are maintained, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that the space for the UAE T20 is in the period when the Bangladesh Premier League is due to take place – from mid-January to mid- february. Meanwhile, because of the Big Bash, some Australians would be excluded, but Pakistanis, according to national commitments, would not be, nor would English cricketers. Indian cricketers outside of international squads – and there are plenty of talented ones – would also be available, depending on the domestic competition schedule.
Thirty-four matches are scheduled over 25 days. It is reported that each team will have a salary cap of around $2 million and players can earn up to $300,000, excluding taxes. In addition to this, the three venues likely to be used – Dubai International Stadium, Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah Cricket Stadium – have all proven themselves as world-class venues which have hosted international cricket and IPL. .
With franchises in place, a media deal was announced on May 24. The UAE T20 League has signed a long-term global media rights deal to broadcast the league on ZEE’s over-the-top channels and platform in India and around the world in nearly 200 countries. The live broadcast will be via ZEE5 and on global radio. This will be crucial in helping to increase reach and awareness, especially in the Indian market, where the time difference with the UAE is only an hour and a half.
As noted in a previous column, a change in policy towards young homegrown talent was adopted by the Emirates Cricket Board in 2019-20. The introduction of UAE T20 will reinforce this policy by providing an additional platform for this talent to learn from and watch established international cricketers.
This week, the United Arab Emirates team plays in America in the League 2 of the qualification process for the one-day international world cup 2023. On Tuesday, in a close match, it lost against Scotland, who had was surprisingly beaten by the United States on May 28 but recovered to avenge that result on May 29. The United Arab Emirates have another game against Scotland on Friday and the United States on June 4. .
These contests will shape the top positions in Ligue 2. Currently, Oman are leading the way but have played 32 of their 36 matches. Scotland and the United Arab Emirates are in second and third place, followed by the United States, each having played only half of their matches. With the top three teams advancing to the next stage, the pressure is on.
The UAE men’s team have already booked their place in the T20 World Cup tournament later this year. It is aiming to progress through ODI World Cup qualifying and has a new franchise tournament on the horizon which will boost both its homegrown talent pool and its presence in international cricket. The overall strategy is clear.