The organisers of the UAE T20 League have unveiled a January-February window for their longstanding project’s inaugural edition next year. The window sets the tournament up for major clashes with Big Bash League, Bangladesh Premier League as well as South Africa’s newly-launched CSA T20 Challenge.
All the three rival leagues will be running in a parallel window to UAE’s T20 competition, backed up by multiple corporate giants, including ownership entities of three Indian Premier League franchises – Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals.
It would mean a tussle to get the best players from around the world, especially with the tournament’s conclusion immediately following the next edition of the Pakistan Super League.
The UAE T20 league, coined to be the International League T20, will be held between January 6 and February 12, which has been the preferred window for an extended BBL and is the slot identified in the calendar by BCB for the next iteration of BPL. Additionally, the CSA’s brainchild T20 league, featuring six teams, will also start in January and conclude in early February.
It’s a battle that the ILT20 may have lost to its established counterparts in BPL and BBL if not for the financial factors giving the first-of-its-kind tournament all the edge. It’s led by the team owners.
The tournament is backed by the biggest powerplay players of the market in Reliance Industries Limited subsidiary, which owns MI, DC co-owners GMR group, and global T20 brand Knight Riders group that owns KKR in the Premier League.
Apart from these three big-name IPL franchises, the sports initiative of Adani group – the Adani Sportsline, Lancer Capital – the owners of the Manchester United Football Club, and Capri Global, an India-based non-banking financial company, also own teams in the ILT20 league.
The MI and DC owners, along with those of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings and a consortium led by former England player Kevin Pietersen, are also interested in buying teams in the CSA T20 League, which would further mount the pressure on BBL and BPL, both of whom could be reduced into minor leagues going forward.