Abu Dhabi T10 League

The Abu Dhabi T10 League and the role of T10 Cricket in spreading the game

Feb. 5, 2021

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Ajai Kannan

T20 cricket played an essential role in the resurgence of cricket interest among the fans who were starting to get bored of the longer formats. Betting on this success, Cricket veterans tried to take this newer format of the games to places where it hadn’t been popular yet. However, in an increasingly hasty world, the attention span of the average sports enthusiasts in these places was just not enough. And thus, the crusade to spread cricket wielding T20 as the weapon failed miserably. Eventually, it occurred to the veterans that the game wouldn’t cross its existing boundaries unless the sports fans in these places are fascinated by it. It was indispensable to catch their attention span and keep them hooked till the very end of a game. And there was just one possible way to achieve all this — reducing the number of overs per side. The T10 format thus came into existence. Though experimented first in England domestic circuit, the T10 format made its first international debut through the Abu Dhabi T10 League in 2017. The Emirates Cricket Council did a tremendous job in popularising the tournament. Despite the lack of local players, the games witnessed an impressive number of spectators. The first edition of the League was immensely successful with the Kerala Kings winning the championship. Despite the pandemic and the threat it poses to the scheduling and hosting of sports tournaments, the Abu Dhabi T10 League is witnessing its fourth successful edition. The craze for the League has increased manifold over the years. This offers many lessons to the ICC, which has not enjoyed much success in selling the game in new countries. One striking difference between the approaches of the ICC and the ECC is strategy. While the ICC mostly tries to organise games with local players, the ECC is bringing big players and hosting the leagues in an exhibition style. The former’s approach could spark interest among athletes, but to get the general audience involved, the quality of entertainment is cardinal. People would hardly pay to watch a group of newbies play. On the other hand, when you make the best players play at new places, the local crowd would be curious at least to find out what all the hype is about. And the excellent quality of entertainment would also seriously encourage the locals to pick up the sport. It is by watching the Pakistanis and the Indians play, the Afghans picked up cricket. Today, they have risen to the status of a test-playing nation. Another important aspect the ICC should look into is marketing. The Future looks bright for the T10 format, and it could be of extreme help in spreading the popularity of the game. We’ve had the commonwealth countries play the sport for centuries now. It is high time we see newer teams get in and ramp up the competitiveness.
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