Change in the cricketing landscape can achieve success and the inaugural edition of the ILT20 Development tournament, which got off to a bright start at the ICC Academy grounds on Saturday, hopes to identify and nurture talent among the UAE’s young players,

ILT20 Blitzers defeated ILT20 Marvel by seven wickets while ILT20 Pearls scored a 19-run victory over ILT20 Dynamos in the opening matches.

The 18-match tournament will hope to provide a platform for UAE's domestic and international players and allow them to be selected by the ILT20 franchises for the second season of the league which will take place from January 19 to February 18, 2024.

So far, the six LT20 franchises have retained 11 UAE players for the second edition with there are 13 spots still up for grabs through the ILT20 Development tournament.

A total of 90 players (15 per side) qualified for the six squads playing in the September 30 – October 10 event following a player draft held earlier this week.

Each team, chosen by their respective head coaches and support staff, will play five matches in the group stage, with the top-four sides progressing to the semifinals. The final will be played on October 10.

UAE national team player Junaid Siddique, who represented Sharjah Warriors in the inaugural season of the DP World International League T20, is hopeful that the players will grab the opportunity to showcase their skills and get the attention of ILT20 franchise owners.

“This is a very good way to develop cricket in the UAE and also create opportunities for talented players to grow,” he said.

“I think there are many talented cricketers in the country and this tournament can provide them with the break that they are looking for.

“I’m really excited about it and look forward to seeing the talent on display here at the ICC Academy.”

Andy Russell, National Development Manager at Emirates Cricket Board, expressed confidence that the tournament will realise its goals and unearth the future stars of UAE cricket.

“I think we have got the top 90 players in the country participating in this Development tournament which gives them a chance to shine," said Russell.

“It’s also a great opportunity to showcase to the franchises of the ILT20 what the talent in the domestic game looks like and for them to choose who they want to recruit,” he added.

“We want players to perform here and get used to experiencing what an international game feels like.

“We started the process of identifying and nurturing our homegrown talent about six years ago and we hope we can build on that and create more robust pathways for them going forward.”

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