Abu Dhabi, Oct 9 (IANS) Bangla Tigers, Deccan Gladiators, Delhi Bulls and Karnataka Tuskers were all drawn into the same Group A, while last years champions, Northern Warriors, were joined in Group B by Maratha Arabians, Qalandars and the yet to be announced Team 8 in the Abu Dhabi T10 team draw here on Wednesday.
Chairman of Abu Dhabi T10, Shaji Ul Mulk, stood on behalf of Team 8 but would not reveal the league’s final member, creating a mystery around the future announcement.
With the draw behind them, team owners then awaited the formulation of the tournament match schedule which yielded a number of early standout marquee match-ups.
Team Qalandars will make their debut on opening day, November 15, led by former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi while Northern Warriors will also begin their title defence against Maratha Arabians on the opening day.
The rebranded Delhi Bulls will begin their title charge led by England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan on November 15 against Deccan Gladiators. Newcomers Bangla Tigers and Karnataka Tuskers face off for the first time on November 17.
Pakistani legend Shahid Afridi, who will headline the debut of Team Qalandars on November 15 said: “It’s an honour to play for The Qalandars, who have earned a global reputation through their play in the Pakistan Super League and their development of homegrown players from Pakistan. We hope to continue our winning tradition here in Abu Dhabi. The game is fast, only 10 overs and 90 minutes, so we can expect to reach new fans to continue to grow the game of cricket.”
Morgan spoke of leading the Delhi Bulls into competition: “Players don’t wait to announce their intentions in T10. They just go for it from the outset and that’s my mentality and I think it’s one shared by the Bulls ownership and Coach (Stephen) Fleming. I can’t wait for our first match on November 15 where fans will get to see our fiery brand of Delhi Bulls’ cricket.”
Afridi and Morgan headline a stellar line-up of international cricketing superstars set to take the field at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on November 15.
Among the other notable big names confirmed for the event are big-hitting Australian icons Shane Watson and Chris Lynn, West Indian favourites Andre Russell, Darren Sammy and Sunil Narine, Afghan sensation Mohammad Nabi and Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga. All eyes are now on the players’ draft, set for October 16, to determine the final playing rosters.