Emirates Cricket Board CEO upbeat about new International League T20
Mubashir Usmani, the secretary general of the Emirates Cricket Board, says the new league is encouraging especially as it has “progressive-minded partners”.
In an interview with Cricbuzz, Usmani said the initial feedback from stakeholders is “positive, encouraging and supportive. It is incredibly rewarding to have progressive-minded partners who have strong business foresight and acumen.”
“Not only have they invested financially, but they have invested intrinsically through their well-experienced resources and processes. The league’s strategy and planning committee is working closely with the stakeholders to assess and implement timely, effective measures to deliver a successful inaugural edition for all partners, as well as for the years to come,” he said.
He stated that owners of the league’s franchise teams are also actively involved in the league’s pro-active strategy and planning committee discussions, and they are very comfortable with how the league launched and with the delivery and the coverage – broadcast and media – of the first games.
Usmani also stated that the board is extremely pleased to see the interest shown by fans watching the televised event and “collectively the viewership is exceptionally encouraging”.
He said that for fans in the UAE, the board will be rolling-out a number of fun, engaging activities and initiatives for families and for cricket-loving adults alike.
“The intensity of the competition will heat-up as the teams aim to position themselves at the top of the league’s table, the viewer at home and abroad, through the top-quality production and broadcast, is in for an absolute feast of engaging, thrilling cricketing action,” he said.
He also said that the new league is part of the UAE’s “continual development strategy. It is important to recognise that Emirates Cricket already enjoys successful International UAE Cricket performances – our men have competed in a number of, including the recent, ICC T20 World Cup – Karthik Meiyappan who is a member of the Sharjah Warriors player set-up was the first player to achieve a hattrick, and our U19 women are currently competing in the first-ever ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup and won their opening match against Scotland.
“The base is there, exposing our men’s players to some of the best resources and minds in the cricketing world will definitely elevate their skills, and through commitment from the league, funds will be used to support central contracts for the UAE women’s team as well as pick the cost of full time women development officer,” he said.
How to watch the league matches
For fans in Afghanistan, Ariana Television is broadcasting each match live – so make sure to check the broadcasting schedule for the match line up.
CLICK HERE for the full broadcasting schedule
Shadab Khan defends young blood after series loss against Afghanistan
After Sunday night’s T20I series loss to Afghanistan, Pakistan’s skipper Shadab Khan said the team included their “youngsters” as they thought they would play better than they did.
This came after Afghanistan beat Pakistan by seven wickets in the second T20I and took an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series in Sharjah.
Speaking after the match, Shadab said that Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan will be welcomed when they return to the national team. The star duo has been rested for the ongoing three-match series against Afghanistan in Sharjah.
“People criticize Babar and Rizwan regardless of whether they perform or not. There is always a sword hanging over them of strike rate. As a nation, we wanted youngsters to come in international cricket, as they were performing in PSL (Pakistan Super League), so we thought they would play with a better strike rate,” Shadab said.
“But finally, our nation will realize that experience matters and our seniors didn’t get the respect they deserved considering their performances. So after this series, they will get a lot more respect from the media and the nation,” he added.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first in the second T20I on Sunday, March 26. After losing three wickets inside the first four overs the Men in Green posted a modest total of 130/6 in their 20 overs. Meanwhile, the Rashid Khan-led side chased down the target with one ball remaining, CricTracker reported.
“When you lose three wickets in powerplay, you lose 70 per cent of the games…the young players were nervous. They are playing for the first time for Pakistan, but we have to back them. Our motive for this series was to check out talented young players and we have to back them in the future,” Shadab said.
Earlier, on Friday, Afghanistan made history after beating Pakistan in the first T20I. It was Afghanistan’s first-ever victory over Pakistan in international cricket. The third and final T20I will be played on Monday, March 27.
Afghanistan makes history after beating Pakistan in T20I series
Afghanistan made history on Sunday night when they beat long-time rival Pakistan in their second successive T20I match in Sharjah to win the series.
Sunday’s match saw Afghanistan beat Pakistan by 7 wickets with one ball remaining.
This is the first time in Afghanistan’s cricketing history that they have beaten Pakistan in an international series and as fans back home and across the world erupted with joy after a nail-biting last two overs, congratulations started pouring in.
Afghanistan Cricket Board said it was a “momentous occasion for Afghanistan cricket!”
The board said in a tweet that the team had “created history by securing their first-ever T20I series win over traditional rivals Pakistan. It’s a triumph of grit, courage, and teamwork.”
Rashid Khan’s squad did indeed show grit, courage and teamwork and after winning the toss and opting to bat first, Pakistan faced an early blow from Fazalhaq Farooqi who dismissed Saim Ayub for a duck on the second ball of the innings.
He then trapped Abdullah Shafique LBW on the very next delivery to take Afghanistan to a dream start. Pakistan kept on losing wickets at regular intervals but Imad Wasim’s 64 not out off 57 and Shadab’s 32 off 25 took them to a respectable total.
Chasing a target of 131 runs, Afghanistan were calm and focused throughout the second innings but needing 30 runs off the last three overs, and 22 from the last two overs.
However Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi hit a six each off pace bowler Naseem Shah in the penultimate over to reduce the target to five runs. Zadran then hit the winning boundary off Zaman Khan’s last over to chase down the 131-run target with one ball to spare.
This was Afghanistan’s first bilateral T20I series against any of the top six teams — India, England, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
They have previously won a T20I series each against the West Indies and Bangladesh and five in five against Zimbabwe.
All eyes on Afghanistan as second T20I match looms
After Friday’s historic T20I win against Pakistan, Afghan fans are eagerly awaiting their team’s second match in the three-match series scheduled for Sunday.
The match will start at 8.30pm Kabul time and will take place at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE.
On Friday, the team’s captain Rashid Khan led his squad to a six wicket win against Pakistan – sealing their first ever win against the neighboring country in T20 International Cricket.
The third and last match between the two teams will be held on Monday, ACB said.
On Saturday, former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja, on his YouTube channel, slammed the team for their “lacklustre performance” against Afghanistan on Friday.
Pakistan fielded a relatively young side, with four debutants, as they have rested many of their senior players for the series. Raja said: “There is no problem with doing experiments but winning still remains your top priority. You can’t put up lacklustre performances, with so many mistakes, like these since it will give the world the impression that there is still room for improvement in our next best lot.” Raja said on his YouTube channel.
“There is a lot of talent in Pakistan but these players also need to make the necessary adjustments in accordance with the situation of the game,” he added.
Raja also suggested that Pakistan can include an additional spinner in the lineup for the remaining matches due to the slow pitch.
“If the pitch remains like this, I think it will be an exciting series. Now the pressure is on Pakistan and we have to see what they learn from this defeat,” he said.
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