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
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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.”


Interview: Turkish NBA star Enes Kanter on standing up to ‘ruthless’ Erdogan

Updated 23 May 2019
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Interview: Turkish NBA star Enes Kanter on standing up to ‘ruthless’ Erdogan

  • ‘I have an obligation to speak against atrocities,’ basketball star tells Arab News
  • ‘Whatever I am going through in my personal life doesn’t impact my performance on court’

CHICAGO: NBA superstar Enes Kanter says he loves his homeland Turkey as much as he loves professional basketball. 

Yet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has continuously attacked Kanter, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Erdogan has arrested Kanter’s father, and bullied his family after accusing the basketball player of being part of the Hizmet movement of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the president asserts was behind a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Two years ago this week, Erdogan demanded that Kanter be arrested, and fears of violence from the Turkish state have gotten so bad that the FBI installed a panic button to help protect the player.

Kanter said he will continue to play professional basketball, and will not be silent about the Turkish government’s repression.

“His (Erdogan’s) regime’s and his hostility to me began in 2013 when I first start criticizing (the) government on unjust, unfair and illegal closures of college preparatory centers linked to businesspeople in the Hizmet movement,” Kanter said.

 “This closure pretty much became the first public clash between the Erdogan regime and the Hizmet movement,” he added.

“It was obvious that there was something that Erdogan doesn’t like about the Hizmet movement. Up until the closures of college preparatory centers, no one knew about that,” Kanter said.

“The way Erdogan handled this relationship was brutal, ruthless, unjust and unfair. I can’t stand for any of these, so I stood up against this tyranny and started criticizing. Neither Erdogan stopped his approach nor I, and we’ve kept clashing since then.”

Kanter said he will continue to play professional basketball, and will not be silent about the Turkish government’s repression. (AFP)

Kanter played for the Turkish national team at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania, and for the Turkish U18 national team in 2009.

He led Turkey to the bronze medal at the European Championships in France, and was named Best Player and Best Center at the 2009 European Championships by Eurobasket.com. 

Kanter signed with the Utah Jazz in 2011, the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015, the New York Knicks in 2017, and the Portland Trail Blazers in February this year.

The Trail Blazers lost the Western Division Playoffs, the first step to the NBA Championships, to California’s Golden State Warriors in the final game on Monday.

Erdogan’s threats have placed enormous pressure on Kanter, but he insists it has not impacted his performance or his commitment to help the people of Turkey.

“I’m a successful professional athlete, and whatever I’m going through in my private life would never impact my performance on court,” he said.

“They’re two different worlds for me … I’ve known nothing else but basketball … since I was 13, so I guess it’s pretty important,” he added.

“I see basketball and my platform as a way to teach the younger generation how to be successful and hopeful for the future,” Kanter said.

“Once you’re a successful professional athlete, younger generations see you as a role model, so … I’m trying to do my best to set my life as a role model to them,” he added.

“I believe I have an obligation as a human being to speak up against any atrocities. I believe that as a human being I should be standing for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech … Me being a celebrity makes it easier for people to hear, see and experience what I believe.”

I believe I have an obligation as a human being to speak up against any atrocities.

Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers center

On Erdogan, Kanter does not mince words. “He’s a dictator by definition. He silences media, destroys opposition, demonizes his critics … so all these make him a dictator,” Kanter said.

“Turkey deserves a leader who’s open minded, democratic, progressive, intelligent, modest and forward thinking, a leader who embraces everybody in the community regardless of their political choices.”

The harassment from Erdogan has put Kanter’s family at risk too. “I can’t say they’re safe when my dad lost his job and got jailed based on terrorism charges because I’m his son,” Kanter said. “These allegations are baseless and ridiculous, so how could I feel they’re safe?”

He said he respects Gulen and the Hizmet movement, rejecting Erdogan’s claims against them.

“I’m so close to Mr. Fethullah Gulen in terms of his life philosophy and teachings. I admire his way of extracting an individual’s inner potential … in order to be a better person in his or her community,” Kanter said.

“Erdogan should know that he’ll be brought to justice one day and pay for his mistakes. First, he should stop all his unjust, inhumane acts against the people of Turkey. Second, he should start making everybody’s life better in Turkey.”

Before moving to the US in 2009 to attend college in California, Kanter was a star basketball player in Turkey’s premier leagues.

He said despite playing for the NBA in the US, he still sees himself as a champion for Turkey and its people.

“I was Turkey’s best basketball player, and I’m still Turkey’s best basketball player. The only difference is that I’m now representing my country in the US. I left Turkey for a better opportunity in my career, to play in the NBA,” he added.

“I think everyone in society has an obligation to speak out on issues of human rights and democracy, and to stand tall against atrocities, inhumane practices and dictatorships,” Kanter said.

Celebrities like himself “have a bigger opportunity to make a difference and to raise awareness on such issues because of our platforms,” he added.

Erdogan has continuously attacked Kanter, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. (AFP)