MI Emirates on Friday announced the signing of four local UAE players in its squad for the inaugural season of the International League T20 (ILT20) in January (2023). The new players who have been signed up by the franchise are Muhammad Waseem, Basil Hameed, Vriitya Aravind, and Zahoor Khan.
Waseem, 28, represents the UAE side in ODIs and T20Is. He is listed as the 14th-best batsman on the ICC men's T20 batting ratings. Hameed is an off-spin all-rounder, while Zahoor is a right-arm medium fast-bowler who debuted for the UAE in 2017.
Aravind, the 20-year-old is a top-order batsman with more than 500 runs in T20I, is also the vice-captain of the UAE team. MI Emirates, led by Kieron Pollard will be based in Abu Dhabi and feature star T20 players like Dwyane Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Imran Tahir and Trent Boult.
MI Emirates will play their first match on Saturday, January 14, at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi Knight Riders have signed Matiullah Khan, Fahad Nawaz, Sabir Ali and Zawar Farid. Desert Vipers have roped in Rohan Mustafa, Sheraz Ahmad, Ali Naseer, and Ronak Panoly.
Dubai Capitals have picked Hazrat Luqman, Chirag Suri, Jash Ginyani, and Raja Akif Ullah Khan. The Gulf Giants have acquired the services of Aayan Khan, Sanchit Sharma, UAE skipper CP Rizwaan, and Ashwanth Valthapa.
Sharjah Warriors have signed leg-spinner Karthik Meiyappan, who took a hat-trick in T20 World Cup, alongside Alishan Sharafu, Junaid Siddique, and Muhammad Jawadullah. In the ILT20, six teams are eligible to pick four UAE players each and have to get two local players in the starting XI of each side in every match of the tournament.
"Today is an extremely rewarding day. We continue to reiterate that at its heart the league is built on a foundation of development for UAE Cricket and the UAE players." "To be in the position to now share with the cricketing world that we have delivered on this mandate, with the support of and commitment from our franchises, that 24 of the best available UAE talent has been secured (by the franchises) is an incredible day for Emirates Cricket and the Board."
"We are delighted that alongside a number of capped players the performance and development teams identified a number of budding uncapped players from an exceptionally deep pool on offer," said Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary Emirates Cricket. Making its debut in January (2023), the inaugural ILT20 has received multi-year ICC approval.
It will be played across the UAE's world-class cricket facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Cricket fans across the world can catch the telecast o' the ILT20 on ZEE's linear channels, digital platform, Zee5 as well as Zee Cinema SD, Zee Cinema HD, Zee Anmol Cinema, &Pictures HD, &Flix SD, &Flix HD, Zee Zest SD, Zee Zest HD, Zee Bangla Cinema and Zee Thirai.