Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday announced that the inaugural edition of their T20 league, named as International League T20 (ILT20) will be played from January 6 to February 12 in 2023. The six-team franchise-style league will be played over a 34-match schedule at venues in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
“Emirates Cricket Board is delighted to welcome Reliance Industries, Kolkata Knight Riders, Capri Global, GMR, Lancer Capital, Adani Sportsline, broadcaster ZEE and all other stakeholders to the newly established T20 League of UAE. Such illustrious, experienced names and entities as partners bodes well for the UAE T20 League. Through the commitment of these partners they have demonstrated confidence in the Emirates Cricket Board as we take the game into the future.
“As we begin this long journey I am confident that together we will achieve new heights and in the process provide entertainment and excitement to the millions of fans around the globe who are waiting for the first ball of the UAE T20 League to be bowled. On behalf of ECB let me assure everyone that whilst being entertained on field with cricket, you will also be entertained by our traditional UAE hospitality off the field,” said Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Chairman of the ECB, who is also the Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, in a statement.
The tournament will also provide a platform for Emirates Cricket to take developing their local talent to a higher level, where UAE-based players currently integrated in the Board’s programme, as well as those identified by the High Performance Coaching and Selection Committee teams, will be given the opportunity to train and play alongside some of the world’s best minds.
“Emirates Cricket, and the UAE, has a proven history of identifying and embracing initiatives that underpin the success of the game. It is vitally important that through this tournament UAE-based players continue to flourish which is one of the objectives of this League.
“The ILT20 wishes to thank Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Chairman of ECB for his support to UAE cricket which, under his guidance, has been growing from strength to strength. We look forward to introducing to the world a T20 event that will provide unmatched competition and entertainment to the ardent followers of this game,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, Chairman of ILT20.
The franchise owners in the ILT20 are Knight Riders’ Group (owners of Kolkata Knight Riders), who will be owners of the Abu Dhabi team, followed by Adani Group, Capri Global, Lancer Capital, Reliance Industries Limited, through its subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited (owners of Mumbai Indians) and GMR Group (co-owners of Delhi Capitals).
“The annual ILT20 event presents an excellent exposure for our players given the highly intense and competitive nature of the league. Each of the six teams in the 34-match tournament provide a wonderful opportunity for our young cricketers to play competitive cricket with world-class players.
“Further, such a unique international league would play a big role in attracting and nurturing a larger pool of players who will go on to represent the UAE in the years to come. We look forward to the inaugural event and our players taking full advantage of the opportunity,” said Tayeb Kamali, Chairman, Selection Committee of ECB.