Moeen Ali, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Wanindu Hasaranga and Shimron Hetmyer, along with Chris Jordan, Alex Hales, Colin Munro and Mujeeb Ur Rahman on Monday were unveiled as some of the big-ticket sign-ons for the inaugural edition of ILT20, to be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January-February next year.
"Over the past weeks, ILT20's six franchises have started discussions and engaged with players, and players' agents, to exercise their "Direct Acquisition" rights, and we are extremely delighted to be in a position today to announce the first set of players who will compete in UAE's Inaugural (T20) League," said Khalid Al Zarooni, Chairman, UAE ILT20.
The first marquee list of players doesn't include cricketers from Australia, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Other names featuring in the marquee list include Andre Russell, Dawid Malan, Evin Lewis, Fabien Allen, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Dushmantha Chameera, Akeal Hosein, Tom Banton, Sandeep Lamichhane, Rovman Powell, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Mujeeb Ul Rahman.
Commenting on the team structure, Mubashshir Usmani, Emirates Cricket's General Secretary said, "It's exciting to see how well the squads are shaping up for the first season of ILT20. Each team will consist of 18 players, including 4 UAE players and 2 other players from ICC Associate countries.
The quality of the names announced today is outstanding and so is the interest in our league from top players from all around the world."There is also a second list of players announced by the league which includes: Lahiru Kumara, Seekugge Prassanna, Charith Asalanka, Isuru Udana, Colin Ingram, Paul Stirling, Kennar Lewis, Ali Khan, Brandon Glover, Ravi Rampaul, Raymon Reifer, Blessing Muzarabani, Niroshan Dickwella, Hazaratullah Zazai, Frederick Klassen, Sikandar Raza, George Munsey, Dan Lawrence, Dominic Drakes, Jamie Overton, Liam Dawson, David Wiese, Qais Ahmed, Richard Gleeson, James Vince, Noor Ahmed, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Navin Ul Haq, Sherfane Rutherford, Saqib Mahmood, Ben Duckett, Benny Howell and Ruben Trumpelman.
"We are very excited that a select number of UAE representative-players, from our current pool, will also be considered and signed-on to participate in the League, it is also extremely important to note that these (UAE) players will form part of the team's playing XI."
"One of the key objectives for ILT20 is to provide opportunities for players from UAE and other Associate nations to perform on the big stage, and, ECB extends its deep appreciation to the six-franchises for their support of our vision to grow our game and create stronger, more competitive players," added Usmani.
The inaugural edition of ILT20 will be played in a 34-match format across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. The six teams in the league are owned by Reliance Industries Limited, Lancer Capital, the GMR Group, Adani Sportsline, Kolkata Knight Riders and Capri Global.