It is Team Abu Dhabi owned by Abu Dhabi Sports Council,” Shaji Ul Mulk, Abu Dhabi T10 chairman, said during the players’ draft held in Abu Dhabi. Mulk presented a bat numbered ‘1’ to Mubarak Al Ameri, executive director of marketing and communication, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and Matthew Boucher, the CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket. “We are very privileged to support this event,” Boucher said.
Trevor Bayliss, World Cup-winning coach for England, will take charge of Team Abu Dhabi. And UAE national team coach Dougie Brown joins as the assistant coach.
“This is a new format for me. I haven’t studied this one yet but this is very exciting. It’s only been three days that I confirmed for this role. It is exciting to be part of a team owned by Abu Dhabi government,” Bayliss told Khaleej Times.
“Having backing of the government than few individual owners is a new development. It is bit different to the normal ownership of franchise cricket. It will be interesting to see how it goes.”
Bayliss has been to Abu Dhabi with different teams – Sri Lanka, England and Kolkata Knight Riders during the Indian Premier League season held in the UAE.
“I have been here for 10 times. I am very much looking forward to it.”
Talking about his contract, he noted: “At the moment I am coaching for this particular season.”
The well-travelled coach said that even though the shorter format of the game is touted as a batsman’s game, bowlers will be crucial.
“Batsmen have dominated in past few years. When that happens in any format of the game, the bowlers work the batsmen out and play catch up in the next few years. So it will be interesting to see how the bowlers respond this year. If you have five good bowlers, you might only have to score 50 runs to win.”
English all-rounder Moeen Ali was named Team Abu Dhabi’s icon player. Team Abu Dhabi picked Pakistan’s left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir, English fast bowlers Harry Gurney and Lewis Gregory, Australian fast-medium Ben Laughlin, all-rounders Luke Wright and Corey Anderson, Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella in the few rounds of the draft.
Teams picked a balance of pacers and spinners. Deccan Gladiators coach and spinner Mushtaq Ahmed had this to say: “Spinners are going to play a very crucial role. But I am happy I don’t have to bowl anymore but manage team.”
It was interesting drafting ceremony with each team having 3 minutes to decide on whom to pick. Some were busy over the phone before making the call and others went into huddle in a draft which ran till midnight.