Saturday, 27 November 2021 11:50 GMT

UAE- Shaji's brainchild T10 could open Olympics doors for cricket

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Done in 90 minutes is the concept Shaji Ul Mulk may have thought while conceiving the first ever T10 Cricket League but at the draft, on Sunday onboard a luxury yacht berthed at the Dubai Marina, most concurred that this shortest format of the game could open the doors of Olympics for cricket.

"The way cricket is getting shorter its chances of being accepted as an Olympic sport are getting stronger," Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who is leading Danube-owned Bengal Tigers, told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the draft for the first ever T10 Cricket league that will be played at the historic Sharjah Stadium from December 14-17.

Eoin Morgan initially said that he had no answers to the question about T10 could pave the way for cricket getting into the Olympics. "(I) don't know the answer," he said as his initial reaction while admitting that it was a very good question. At the same time, Morgan was quick to admit that it (T10 cricket) had the potential. "There was a talk of T20 getting in, that never happened but never know." England's captain in shorter formats, however, strongly felt that this (T10) was a start for something special.

An Emirates Cricket Board member, Waleed Bukhatir, whose father Abdulrehman Bukhatir started cricket in the desert in the 80s, also believes that the T10 format has all the ingredients to be an Olympic sport. "It all depends on how T10 shapes, if audiences digest the idea than this is an ideal time frame that could be enjoyed at the Olympics."

"I think if a shorter version of rugby (7s) can be part of the Games then T10 could also be well received at the Olympics," Bukhatir reckons.

The shorter duration games like football, hockey, volleyball and other team sports are very popular at the Olympic Games, so a 90-minute-long game of cricket could also catch up with the imagination of the fans at the Games.

That shorter period is exactly what inspired Shaji to think about hosting an international league of T10. "I got the idea while watching a soccer game and I thought to myself, ninety-minute is ideal to have a great time, as with the other sport, why not cricket of intense energy," Shaji said during the first televised player draft for the T10 Cricket league.

He stressed that the rules were according to the ICC mandate and though there was a large element of fun in the quick version, the contest would be intensely competitive. He also hoped that the T10 format would soon become a regular fixture on the world cricket calendar and be played by the best players in the sport.

The enthusiasm of Shaji and his team for this format drew praises from Morgan. "It is admirable that organisers have belief in this new format and I think they are pushing the limits," he remarked on the sidelines of the draft.

Top picks

Teams Maratha Arabians
Iconic player: Virender Sehwag. Top picks: Mohammed Amir, Imad Wasim, Alex Hales and Mohammed Sami UAE players: Shaiman Anwar, Zahoor Khan

Bengal Lions
Iconic player: Sarfraz Ahmed. Top picks: Sunil Narine, Mustafizur Rahman, Darren Sami and Rumman Raees UAE players: Mohammed Naveed, Rameez Shahzad

Kerala Kings
Iconic Player: Eoin Morgan. Top picks: Kieron Pollard, Sohail Tanvir,Shakib Hassan, Liam Plunkett UAE players: Rohan Mustafa, Imran Haider

Iconic player: Shahid Afridi. Top picks: Fakhar Zaman, Tamim Iqbal, Dwyane Smith,Shehzad Ahmed. UAE players: Amjad Javed, Saqlain Haider

Punjabi Legends Iconic player: Shoaib Malik. Top picks: Hasan Ali, Chris Jordan, Omar Akmal, Carlos Brathwaite UAE players: Ghulam Shabber, Shareef Asadullah

Team Sri Lanka Cricket Will be made up of Colombo players who won island's Super Provincial title.

Five out of the six teams were part of the draft and they picked about 60 players during the four-hour-long televised draft. The sixth team, Sri Lanka Cricket, will comprise all Sri Lankan.

With legendary left-arm seamer Wasim Akram as their mentor, it was not surprising that Maratha Arabians first picked most dreaded young left-arm pace bowler Mohammed Amir. After picking one of the best available player, Marathas went on to add Imad Wasim and England's Alex Hales as their A list players.

The Bengal Tigers, owned by Danube group, went for strong bowlers in Sunil Narine and Mustafizur Rahman along with all-rounder Darren Sammy as their A list picks. On the other hand, Shahid Afridi went for a stronger batting as the mentor of the Pakhtoons when he picked two openers in Fakhar Zaman and Tamim Iqbal before adding West Indian Dwayne Smith, who has also opened in the past.

The Kerala Kings opted for a trio of all-rounders in Keiron Pollard, Sohail Tanvir and Shakib Al Hasan. And, it was a mixed bag for the Punjabi Legends when they went for an all-rounder (Hassan Ali), a batsmen, who can keep and a T20 specialist fast bowler (Chris Jordan).


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