Big stars back plans for UAE T10 league to go global

Bravo and Faulkner are both predicting big things for the new short-form of cricket. (AFP)
Updated 30 November 2018

Big stars back plans for UAE T10 league to go global

  • T10 chairman Shaji Ul-Mulk has grand designs to take T10 to the US.
  • Former Test stars say players are enjoying the new form of the game in the UAE.

LONDON: Dwayne Bravo and James Faulkner are confident that the T10 cricket league based in the UAE can become a big hit with fans around the globe.
Earlier this week the format’s organizers told ESPNcricinfo of their plans to expand the nascent short form of the game — its second season is currently taking place in the Emirates — with chairman Shaji Ul-Mulk confirming that he is in talks with three international cricket boards with a view to exporting T10 from its current base in the Gulf.
He told ESPNcricinfo that he sees great potential for the game in, among other countries, the US.
“The US market is great, the UK market is excellent for cricket, and South Africa, too, for that matter. With T10 the way it is, with 90 minutes (of) cricket, (it) actually opens up new markets that cricket doesn’t have now.
“For us, the US is one of those big markets where we feel that we can reconnect cricket there. Cricket can have a strong place in the US, which it doesn’t have at the moment.”
That grand plan has been given a big thumbs-up by two of the T10 leagues current stars who claim cricket’s shortest format could go the way of its older brother, Twenty20, which was treated with skepticism when it was created 15 years ago. Since then T20 has grown into the sport’s biggest, most popular format, selling out grounds around the world with cash-rich leagues such as the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash.
“I think it will grow. I think other countries and leagues around the world will buy into it because it’s just like T20 cricket,” said West India international Bravo, who has played both T10 editions for the Maratha Arabians. “No-one really trusted T20 when it first came about and it’s the hottest topic now. T10 has the potential to do the same. I think it’s just a matter of time before it reaches different countries around the world.”
His teammate, Australian all-rounder James Faulkner, said that the players currently smashing sixes and bowling bouncers in the second T10 league — big names such as Chris Gayle, Eion Morgan and Zaheer Khan — are already fans of the new format.
“It’ll be interesting to see where it is in three years,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “I think it’s going to take off, that’s my personal opinion on it. Speaking to other players I think it will. It’s short, it’s exciting for the fans and the players as well. I think you’ll see it developing all around the world pretty soon, pretty quickly.”
What will doubtless be music to the ears of Ul-Mulk is that Faulkner expects T10 leagues to pop up around the globe.
“I think that’s where it will go,” the Australian said when asked whether the game would go global.
“Players obviously love the format so far and also the spectators as well,” he said. “You want something quick like T20 that fans can come and watch. With T10, you can play a couple of double-headers like we have here and really engage the crowds, and also four different teams and their fans as well.
“I wouldn’t be surprised (if T10 became an international sport). I don’t think it’s going to happen 
too quickly but I think you’ll see other leagues in the next couple 
of years. I think we’re all 
interested to see where it is in five, 10 or 15 years.”

Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

Updated 21 February 2019

Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

  • Former world No.1 blames three-set loss on tiredness after nine matches in 13 days.
  • Halep has high hopes for the rest of 2019, saying her game is in good shape.

LONDON: Simona Halep is still certain a good year lies in store for her despite losing to Belinda Bencic in the Dubai quarterfinals.
The Romanian former world No. 1 was the favorite to win her second title in the emirate but ran out of steam as her Swiss opponent ran out 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner.
It was Halep’s ninth match in just 13 days and she admitted tiredness had caught up with her.
“It was really difficult physically. I was tired,” the world No. 2 said.

Bencic came from a set down to beat the favorite in the last-eight encounter in Dubai. (AFP) 

“After the second set, I felt like I’m getting cramping a little bit. It’s normal. I was sweating a lot.”
While, her fatigue was clear for all to see, Halep was not using it as an excuse, admitting Bencic, who has now beaten her in two of their three matches, was the deserved winner.
“Yeah, she played well. She played very well. In the end, she was a little bit stronger,” the Romanian said.
Having lost in the Qatar final last weekend and failed to make the last-four in Dubai you might think Halep would be disappointed with her Middle East stint. She was, however, far from glum and revealed she is looking forward to landing more titles to add to her collection during the rest of the year.

Cheerio from Halep after her defeat to the Swiss. (AFP) 

“I think were three good weeks. Tough weeks. A lot of tension, a lot of pressure. Also the Fed Cup,” she said.
“I take only positive things. I had great matches. My level is good. Physically also I’m good. But day by day I had to play, so is not easy.
“I’m confident for the next tournaments.”