Pakistan’s cricket stars set for UAE’s ILT20 Season 2

Photo of Pakistan's cricket atars

Pakistan's cricket stars.

The organizers of the DP World International League T20 have disclosed that Pakistan players’ participation will add value to the tournament’s second season. In the inaugural season held earlier this year, Pakistani players were unable to participate due to certain restrictions. However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is anticipated to grant permission for its players to take part in the upcoming competition scheduled for January and February next year.

Subhan Ahmed, the Chief Operating Officer of the ILT20, expressed his enthusiasm about the possibility of top-quality Pakistani players featuring in the second season, affirming that it will undoubtedly elevate the competition’s standard.

Although the specific names of the participating Pakistan players have not been confirmed yet, it is known that the tournament’s schedule slightly overlaps with other cricket events such as the Pakistan Super League, the Big Bash League in Australia, the Bangladesh Premier League, and the new South African T20 event.

However, players like Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan, and Imad Wasim, who have been regulars in Australia’s Big Bash League in the past, may find the UAE competition appealing due to the lucrative salaries offered.

Subhan also highlighted that discussions have taken place with the PCB regarding player availability and scheduling. Provided there are no clashes in their commitments, the players are expected to be granted the opportunity to participate in the ILT20, which will undoubtedly provide an eagerly awaited boost to the overall competition.

The organizers of ILT20 acknowledge the challenges in finding a suitable window for all players to participate due to the crowded cricketing calendar. Nonetheless, they are actively working to identify favorable slots when Pakistani players can join the competition. Including star players from Pakistan is expected to increase stadium attendance.

While the first season of ILT20 received positive feedback from the players, overall match attendances were relatively low, with only over 20,000 fans witnessing the final between Gulf Giants and Desert Vipers.

In the past, expatriate supporters of Pakistan had ample opportunities to watch their fellow countrymen play in the UAE. For almost a decade after a 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus, the UAE hosted most of Pakistan’s home fixtures due to security concerns. Additionally, the early seasons of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) were held in the Emirates.

However, since international cricket has returned to Pakistan, visits to the UAE have reduced. Pakistan participated in the World T20 in 2021, followed by the Asia Cup the following year, and a bilateral series against Afghanistan in March of this year.

Subhan believes that having Pakistan’s cricket stars in action once again will attract fans back to the stadiums. With a substantial subcontinental expat population in the UAE, particularly from India and Pakistan, supporters are eagerly looking forward to witnessing their heroes play in the ILT20, making it a highly anticipated event.

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