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UAE set to become centre of the cricketing universe with magnificent seven tournaments in just five months

When is more and more cricket too much? Never, according to the ever increasing fixture list in the UAE

Alex Broun 2018/09/03

The UAE is set to become the centre of the cricket universe over the next six months as not one, not two, not three, not four but five different T20 tournaments, a T10 tournament, the Asia Cup and the Australia-Pakistan series take over cricket pitches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

It’s certainly exciting for local cricket lovers who will get a chance to see some of the world’s best up-close-and-personal, but is all this cricket in danger of killing the white-ball goose?

Here’s a rundown of all the tournaments so you can start working out your cricket watching schedule.

Asia Cup

Format: ODIs

Teams: 6 (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Qualifier)

Dates: September 15 – 28

Big names: Rohit Sharma, Rashid Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, MS Dhoni, Angelo Mathews, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Chandimal (but not Virat Kohli*)

Venues: Dubai, Abu Dhabi

This will be the 14th edition of the Asia Cup and the third time the tournament will be played in the UAE, after the 1984 and 1995 editions. India are the defending champions.

Pakistan latest series on UAE soil

Format: Tests, T20s, ODIs

Teams: 3 (Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand)

Dates: September 29 – December 7

Big names: Sarfraz Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Kane Williamson, Mitchell Marsh, Trent Boult, Ross Taylor, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon

Venues: Dubai, Sharjah, Pakistan

Pakistan start the season with next month’s Asia Cup in the UAE from September 15 and they will then host Australia for two Tests and three T20I clashes between October 7-28.

This will be Australia’s first Test series since the infamous ball-tampering row in Cape Town in March. Following the matches against the Baggy Green, Pakistan will host New Zealand for three T20Is, three ODIs and three Tests, taking place from October 31-December 7. Pakistan have been forced to play their matches in the UAE since terrorists attacked the bus of the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009.

Afghanistan Premier League (APL)

Format: 20 overs per side

Teams: 5 (Balkh, Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Paktia)

Dates: October 5 to 23

Big names: Rashid Khan, Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Brendon McCullum

Venue: Sharjah

Run by the Afghanistan Cricket Board the tournament will feature up to 40 overseas players. Five teams have been selected to compete, named after regions of Afghanistan. In its first year, the ICC only approved plans for the tournament in August 2018 but there are big hopes for this new competition which is expected to be the second most watched in India after the IPL.

Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy

Format: 20 overs per side

Teams: 6 (Boost Defenders, Afghanistan; Hobart Hurricanes, Australia; Lahore Qalandars, Pakistan; Titans, South Africa; Yorkshire Vikings, England; UAE team)

Dates: October 2018

Big names: George Bailey, Tymal Mills, Chris Lynn, Fakhar Zaman, Faf du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi, Kane Williamson, Gary Ballance, Albie Morkel, Chris Gayle

Venue: Abu Dhabi

This new franchise cricket tournament features five of the best teams from leagues around the world, including the Big Bash League, the Pakistan Super League and the T20 Blast, brought together for an international contest to be played exclusively in Abu Dhabi.

T10 League

Format: 10 overs per side

Teams: 8 (Kerala Kings, Punjabi Legends, Northern Warriors, Maratha Arabians, Pakhtoon Team, Bengal Tigers, Karachians, Rajputs)

Dates: November 23 – TBC

Big names: Shane Watson, Eoin Morgan, Kieron Pollard, Rashid Khan, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Sunil Narine, Darren Sammy, Brendon McCullum

Venue: Sharjah

Now in its second year, T10 is the first-ever internationally approved 10-over league. The duration of a match is 90 minutes and the tournament is played over four days, with a round-robin league followed by semi-finals and the final. Lots of big names have signed up ready to go hard or go home.

UAE T20X

Format: 20 overs per side

Teams: 5 (TBC)

Dates: December 19, 2019 to January 21, 2019

Big names: Andre Russell, David Miller, Eoin Morgan, AB de Villiers (non-playing ambassador)

Venues: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah

The UAE’s very own ambitious, big-money T20 league. Set to provide a welcome boost to cricket in the region as playing squads have to consist of four local emerging and junior players, three ICC Associate Member players and three UAE national team players – as well as a host of international stars.

England captain Eoin Morgan is the most well-known cricketer signed up to date.

Pakistan Super League (PSL)

Format: 20 overs per side

Teams: 6 (Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalanders, Multan Sultans, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators)

Dates: January 2019

Big names: Misbah-ul-Haq, Imad Wasim, Brendon McCullum, Shoaib Malik, Darren Sammy, Sarfraz Ahmed, AB de Villiers (rumour)

Venues: Dubai, Sharjah, Pakistan

A franchise T20 league established by the Pakistan Cricket Board in 2015. In 2017 it featured six teams, expanding from the previous five. In 2019 eight or more games will be held in Pakistan, with Lahore, Karachi, and another yet to be decided venue to host. The remaining games will be held in the UAE as in previous seasons.

Islamabad United celebrate victory in Karachi earlier this year.

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