In a low key press release on its website, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) “confirmed they are well into the final planning stages to bring an ECB elite, international T20 cricket league to home soil.” This comes just over six months after its first attempt was scuttled a month out from its scheduled start.

The UAE T20x was to feature Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell, David Miller and Kumar Sangakkara. AB DeVilliers adorned an impressive array of marketing materials as the event’s global ambassador. Then, only weeks before the first ball was due to be bowled, it was axed. David East, the longstanding (and highly respected) CEO of the ECB was announced as departing not long after.

Before the Englishman’s 6 years in the role, East had enjoyed a 30-year involvement with county side Essex. This begun on the field, he played 190 first-class matches across 11 summers as a wicket-keeper batsman. He then moved into administration and was the club’s CEO from 2000 – 2012.

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David East receiving the ICC award from ICC’s David Richardson (c) alongside ECB’s Zayed Abbas (r) in Dublin 2018

The UAE T20x CEO Salman Sarwat Butt was so confident in the concept even after its cancellation “T20x” was hastily marketed to numerous boards around the world including pitching for the new USA T20 league. At this stage, no such approaches have been successful.

The ECB release regarding the new league does not mention former partners OPi Sports or provide any substantive details beyond the following quotes.

“This league will be ECB’s official flagship tournament,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, Vice Chairman Emirates Cricket Board. “A long-term goal and vision of the Board has been to own and to deliver an international-standard T20 league, one we have remained exceptionally committed to.” Al Zarooni stated that the league will be played across the UAE’s world-renowned venues and added; “We have had, and continue to have, very positive and constructive discussions with various Full Member and Associate Nations, the ICC, as well as various stakeholders where their collective response has been incredibly encouraging (in support of the league).” 

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