The organizers of the six-year-old Abu Dhabi T10 League are planning to expand their reach to five different venues around the world. Rajeev Khanna, an IPL veteran who has worked extensively with Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings, is overseeing the league’s expansion plans after joining T Ten Sports Management as Chief Operating Officer earlier this year.
In partnership with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the first edition of the T10 League in the island nation has already been announced and will be held in June. Organizers are confident there will be one in Zimbabwe in March and two more in Europe and North America in the near future.
“The biggest thumbs up we have received is the first ever sanction from ICC member SLC. They have approved the competition and will be part of the competition. We are also in talks with Zimbabwe and closing that (deal)”, said Khanna. PTI on Saturday.
“If full members of ICC endorse this league, it shows there’s meat in it. I’m sure other boards, including the BCCI, will also consider it in the future.
“We are also planning one in Europe, Scotland or the Netherlands, and the fifth in North America,” he said.
The match is sanctioned by the International Cricket Council, although the world body has not yet recognized T10 as a format. However, the ICC has sent its anti-corruption unit to Abu Dhabi for the event.
There is a clear interest in the competition from the world’s leading players. Biggies like Kieron Pollard, Moeen Ali, David Miller, Nicholas Pooran, Tim David, Shakib Al Hasan are all part of the Abu Dhabi T10 League played here.
“1600 international players had entered the draft, but we could only choose 250. It shows that there is a lot of interest and that gives us more confidence in the future of the league,” Khanna referred to the interest in the Abu Dhabi -stage.
“We are not here to compete with the T20 format. T10 can work as a talent feeder series for T20. The players like the format because it is fast paced and it only lasts two weeks (the T20 competitions are much longer) .” Despite the growing interest, Khanna said the competition has its challenges.
“The biggest challenge is to bring this product to the market and to make it more sustainable.
There are also operational challenges as it is a new format and not everyone is aware of it, including the players.
The IPL has become a billion dollar product and the BCCI is determined to maintain its competitive market exclusivity. Given that, is there any way to ramp up T10 in India? “I recently came on board and I would talk to the BCCI to see if there is any opportunity and acceptance for it. Who wouldn’t love to have the league in India? We are also in talks with state associations,” added Khanna.
As India’s female players are allowed to play in foreign competitions, Khanna hopes they will be part of Sri Lanka’s inaugural women’s competition in June.
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