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UAE’s cashed-out T20 league hopes to inspire smaller cricketing nations to be financially stable

Emirates Cricket boss Mubashshir Usmani has passionately defended the new UAE-based T20 league, saying cricket should ‘not be monopolized’ and the six-team competition could serve as a model for associated nations often avoided by full members. .

He also dismissed concerns about teams potentially having only two locals, saying the number of foreign players in a squad is “arbitrary”.

The unveiling of the International League T20 (ILT20), which is expected to start in January and last around a month, caused a stir with top players offering whopping sums of $450,000 per season, which is roughly equal to the news South Africa’s T20 league but substantially more than the concurrent established competitions in Australia and Bangladesh.

The influx of T20 leagues is causing headaches for an already saturated international cricket calendar with the upcoming Future Tours schedule still delayed despite being slated for release shortly after the annual conference of the International Cricket Council (ICC ), which ended on July 29.

There was a bunch of think pieces on the primacy of international cricket in the wake of the ILT20, which is privately owned but sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board and has received backing from heavy hitters including several Indian Premier League franchises.

“We strongly believe in representing your country in any format at an elite level which is the pinnacle of our game,” Usmani told me. “But…it’s time for associates to find innovative and sustainable ways to secure their own reliable income streams.”

Emirates cricket chiefs have been frustrated over the years that their ambitions to become full members have been thwarted by the ICC’s strict criteria and the reluctance of full members to play in the UAE during bilateral meetings.

The UAE apparently ticks the boxes for the coveted full membership, which leads to a lot more funding and a prominent place on the all-powerful ICC board, aside from UAE men registering at least one victory over a full member in a World Cup or World Cup. Qualifying event and four wins against full members in bilateral matches over an eight-year period.

The UAE men are currently 14th in the ODI rankings and 12th in the T20I.

“Associate Members, who perceive at best 1/8e of funding (ICC) that a full member receives, has to constantly manage its cash flow and income streams,” said Usmani, a rising global administrator who surprisingly missed out on a spot in the ICC Board of Directors at the recent Associate Director election at the annual conference in Birmingham.

“Lack of funds affects all aspects of the business; play this tournament and earn valuable points to stay ICC compliant, miss this tournament and lose an opportunity to develop talent.

“It’s a delicate balancing act and, to be very transparent, the Associates are the future of world cricket.

“Our game should not be monopolized. UAE cricket has the opportunity to set an example for those who need to become self-reliant. »

The emergence of the UAE league has put pressure on the maligned Big Bash League (BBL), which is suffering a redesignforcing Cricket Australia to rapparently negotiate a big offer to star drummer David Warner, who had been targeted by ILT20.

While longtime BBL star Chris Lynn could compete in the UAE league blocked by Australia’s governing body, sparking debate over the legality of no-objection certificates.

The issue was much debated at the recent annual conference, with a focus on ILT20 teams potentially fielding nine foreign players versus the generally accepted rule of four foreigners per team in leagues. T20 franchise established.

The teams will consist of 18 players including 12 internationals, two associated players and four from the United Arab Emirates.

“The number of foreign players in a league is arbitrary,” said Usmani, who sits on the ICC’s General Managers Committee. “You will hear differing opinions on the exact number of foreign players in a league.

“Some would say that the current practice in other leagues of four foreign players playing XI comes at the expense of the opportunity of four talented local players.

“We believe that as an upcoming league, a guaranteed position for four UAE players in the official squad and two UAE players in the XI, as a start is just the right number in ILT20.

“We also believe that like Full Members, Associates should have the freedom to self-manage and create their national tournaments.”

There are also concerns about ensuring that money from private investment, leading some to label fledgling leagues as “IPL satellites”, genuinely flows back into grassroots and lane programs.

Usmani said there were “very clear goals” attached to sanctioning the competition, which was approved by the ICC.

“ILT20, as a first step, recently agreed to fund the first-year central contracts for the UAE women’s team and also to choose the cost of a full-time female development officer,” Usmani said then. that Emirates Cricket is considering a women’s T20 professional league, potentially within the next few years, in which few countries have invested.

“The development programs that franchisees commit to carrying out each year will have a significant impact on UAE cricket and save funds that would otherwise have to be spent by the ECB.”

Having perhaps felt somewhat neglected in the past, despite being based just meters from the ICC headquarters in Dubai, Emirates Cricket has caught the eye of full members and the wider community. world of cricket with its well-heeled upstart expected to grow in the years to come.

“Our team is very focused on this inaugural year and making it a resounding success – for everyone involved,” Usmani said.

“We offer both our UAE players and our fellow player associates the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best and allow those who play to benefit from these learning experiences in their own international matches.

“This model is far from threatening and keeps the game alive for us and other associates.”

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