Shaji Ul Mulk, the man behind the all new T10 Cricket League, is confident that non-contracted Indian players will join the tournament for the next edition.
The inaugural edition of the tournament will be staged in the UAE in December this year. The league has been approved by the International Cricket Council and several cricket boards, including PCB, have already agreed to release their players for the shortest format of the game.
But BCCI, the richest cricket board in the world, will not allow its players to compete in the league.
Shaji Ul Mulk, chairman of the league, remains confident nevertheless. He says the tournament is likely to see a lot of Indian players in its second edition.
"See the BCCI has a policy of not releasing their players for any league in the world. It's not just our league, but they don't release their current players for any T20 league in the world. It has been their policy to protect the Indian Premier League," Shaji Ul Mulk told Khaleej Times at the 'Pick Order' Draw in Dubai on Tuesday night.
"But having said that, they have actually allowed retired players like Virender Sehwag to take part in our league. Now we are in talks with BCCI to release some of the non-contracted players like Suresh Raina, Robin Uthappa and the Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf. So far the response has been positive. We are hoping to have some big Indian names for our next edition of the tournament."
There was great excitement among the franchise owners on Friday at the Owners 'Pick Order' Draw - a system that will give one lucky team the chance to pick their favourite player first when the draft happens next month.
"Now there are only 45 days left for the start of the tournament. It's a big challenge to stage a league of this magnitude. It will be four days of exciting cricket. We have probably the highest number of international cricketers as 60-70 current cricketers will compete in the league," Shaji Ul Mulk said.
The Indian businessman then revealed how the idea of having a T10 tournament first came to his mind.
"It was basically the concept of having 90-minute cricket. You know the game has seen the rise of new formats over the years. First it was the one-day format, then came the T20s. But I felt there was still a chance to make the game even more exciting," he said.
"You know all big sports like football and basketball are played for only 90 minutes. So I thought even cricket can have a 90-minute format. So to complete a game in 90 minutes, it has to be 10-over format. So that's how the T10 concept came to my mind. I wanted to make it fast-paced.
"So far the interest has been huge. What's very satisfying is to see a concept being commercialised. It will be nice if we can make it a great success because we all want cricket to be fun and fast."
TEAMS, OWNERS AND STAR PLAYERS
(Owners: Inzamam-ul-Haq and Intizar-ul-Haq, key player: Misbah-ul-Haq)
(Owners: Habib Khan and Tajuddin Khan; key player: Shahid Afridi)
(Owners: Sohail Khan, Ali Tumbi, Parvez Khan; key player: Virender Sehwag)
(Owners: Shirajuddin Alam, Yasin Choudhary, Neelesh Bhatnager, Anis Sajan and Rizwan Sajan; key player: TBA)
(Owners: Kashif Shahzad and Vijay Vyas Dutt; key player: TBA)
(Owners Hussain Adam Ali and Dr. Shafi Ul Mulk; key player: Eoin Morgan)
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
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