United Arab Emirates has developed to have become a modern hub for cricket and a go to place for organizing and hosting tournaments holding immense reputation as well as a great stature. It has successfully hosted high stake tournaments like the 2021 T20 World Cup, Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 and T10 League in recent years. It is now set to launch its own T20 league, which will be known as the International League T20 (ILT20).
The inaugural edition of the ILT20 is scheduled to take place from Friday, January 13, 2024 till February 12, 2024. It will be the second-most lucrative T20 competition behind the IPL. There will be 30 matches in the group stage, followed by the playoffs and the final, which will take place at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The live streaming of the ILT20 matches will be available on the Zee5 App.
Here is everything you need to know about the youngest franchise league on the circuit.
When is the ILT20 taking place and where?
Six teams will compete in the inaugural ILT20, which is authorized by the Emirates Cricket Board, between January 13 and February 12 at three venues in the United Arab Emirates: Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi. The Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah Cricket Stadium will host the matches. Dubai Capitals, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, MI Emirates, Sharjah Warriors, Gulf Giants and Desert Vipers are the six franchises that will compete for the title.
Full Squads of the ILT20, 2024
Rovman Powell (c), Dushmantha Chameera, Hazratullah Zazai, Fabian Allen, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Sikandar Raza, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dan Lawrence, Blessing Muzarabani, Isuru Udana, George Munsey, Fred Klaassen
Abu Dhabi Knight Riders
Sunil Narine (c), Andre Russell, Jonny Bairstow, Paul Stirling, Lahiru Kumara, Charith Asalanka, Colin Ingram, Akeal Hosein, Seekkuge Prasanna, Ravi Rampaul, Raymond Reifer, Kennar Lewis, Ali Khan, Brandon Glover
Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Jordan, Chris Lynn, Tom Banton, Dominic Drakes, David Wiese, Jamie Overton, Richard Gleeson, Rehan Ahmed, Wayne Madsen, Liam Dawson, James Vince (c), Qais Ahmad, Ollie Pope
Kieron Pollard (c), Dwayne Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Trent Boult, Andre Fletcher, Imran Tahir, Samit Patel, Will Smeed, Jordan Thompson, Najibullah Zadran, Zahir Khan, Fazalhaq Farooqui, Brad Wheal, Bas de Leede
Evin Lewis, Dawid Malan, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Chris Benjamin, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Moeen Ali (c), Mohammad Nabi, Chris Woakes, JJ Smit, Mark Deyal, Noor Ahmad, Danny Briggs, Naveen-ul-Haq, Bilal Khan
Alex Hales, Ben Duckett, Benny Howell, Colin Munro (c), Ruben Trumpelmann, Sam Billings, Sandeep Lamichhane, Saqib Mahmood, Sheldon Cottrell, Sherfane Rutherford, Tom Curran, Wanindu Hasaranga
Similar to the IPL?
The IPL owners of Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders have acquired teams in this league. Although it may seem like this league will be quite similar to the IPL, but it is not. The playing XI of an ILT20 team should comprise of a maximum of 9 international players, at least 2 players from the UAE and a player from an Associate member nation such as Netherlands, Scotland, Namibia etc.
The Full – time Member nations are also concerned with the surge in demand for the overseas players because of this league. They are of the opinion that this league is capable of disrupting the ecosystem of cricket globally.
Will the stats of ILT20 be included in a player’s T20 records?
The regulations of the International Cricket Council (ICC) clearly states that competitions hosted by non-Full Members, for instance UAE in this case, cannot be entitled with a T20 status. Tournaments which were organized earlier such as the Global T20 Canada and Fairbreak International, which is a women’s T20 competition held in Dubai in the year 2022 were also deprived of getting a T20 status due to the same reason.
Who will be the international players to watch out for?
Andre Russell and Sunil Narine who are among the highest-profile T20 players in the world will mark their presence in the ILT20 league. They have already proven their worth by becoming the X-factor players for the Knight Riders team in IPL and the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and will continue to represent the same franchise in ILT20 too.
The vast experience of international players such as Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Akeal Hosein and Marcus Stoinis who will kick start their ILT20 campaign directly after playing the Big Bash League (BBL) will benefit their respective teams in the ILT20.
Several Sri Lankan players such as Wanindu Hasaranga, Matheesha Pathirana, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Chamika Karunaratne and Indian veterans such as Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan will feature in this league. Some impactful performances from them could open up their possibilities of entering into other franchise leagues.
Watch out for Namibian left-arm quick Ruben Trumpelmann, who struck three times against Scotland in the first over of the T20 World Cup in Abu Dhabi in 2021. Bas de Leede, a Dutch all-around player who had represented the Samp Army in the Abu Dhabi T10 league late last year, is also back in the UAE for the league.
Who will be the domestic players to watch out for?
The most fascinating player to watch out for from the UAE will be wrist spinner Karthik Meiyappan of Sharjah Warriors, whose googly outperforms his leg break. Karthik has been successful in the local Emirates D20 league in addition to having stints as a net bowler with Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. He had also claimed a hat-trick against New Zealand in the recent 2022 T20 World Cup.
Zahoor Khan (MI Emirates), who has also had exposure outside of the UAE, is the next player to look out for. The fast bowler was associated as a net bowler for Mumbai Indians in the IPL and has recently played for Kandy Falcons in the Lanka Premier League (LPL).
Vriitya Aravind has the opportunity to improve his white-ball technique at the ILT20. The Chennai-born wicketkeeper-batter had scored 781 runs in 21 innings at an average of 41.10 and a strike rate of 72.71 to finish as the second highest run scorer in ODI cricket last season. Although Vriitya can play the funky scoops, his T20 batting skills are still developing. At MI Emirates, he will be eager to pick Nicholas Pooran’s brain.
Is it the second most rewarding League after IPL?
ILT20 provides elite players with a staggering amount of USD 450,000 per season, making it, for some players, the second-most lucrative T20 competition behind the IPL. The “total direct payout” for a player, as the league refers to it, cannot exceed USD 450,000. The combination of the wage slot and the loyalty incentive is known as the “total direct payout.” If the franchise chooses to invoke that option, for instance, the player selected for the top wage slot of USD 340,000 can get a maximum of an additional USD 110,000 as a loyalty incentive.
Will ILT20 pose a conflict of interest to BPL, SA20, BBL and Super Smash?
The ILT20 will certainly pose a direct competition to these four other T20 leagues. The months of January and February will turn out to be the busiest window for the franchises in 2024. The franchises will have to offer valuable incentives in order to prevent their players from participating in the other foreign leagues and neglecting their own.
But the ILT20 has managed to rope in some big names despite the fact that international matches such as the New Zealand tour of India and England’s tour to South Africa will happen simultaneously in January. England’s Dawid Malan and Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza will also end their BPL contracts early in order to play in the UAE league.
The league will feature some of the top players from around the world and will be known for its high-quality cricket, nail-biting finishes and competitive matches. So look out for it and follow it closely!