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Marcus Stoinis has become the latest big-ticket T20 player to join the UAE's ILT20, signing with Sharjah Warriors for the month-long tournament starting on January 13. He is the second Australian cricketer in the inaugural edition of the tournament after Chris Lynn, who will link up with Gulf Giants after playing 11 games for Adelaide Strikers in the ongoing BBL.
Whether Stoinis' arrangement will be similar to Lynn's - split between the BBL and the ILT20 - is unclear, but ESPNcricinfo understands that with Stoinis' team Melbourne Stars currently bottom of the eight-team BBL table, Stoinis is likely to join the ILT20 when the league stage of the BBL ends on January 25. However, with five teams going into the finals there is still a chance Stars will qualify for the knockouts.
"It's a massive opportunity for me personally to notch up some crucial playtime at a tournament like this in the UAE ahead of a busy year that's going to be full of cricket," Stoinis said in a statement. "These are extremely exciting times for international franchise cricket and I am glad to be playing a part of a team like Sharjah Warriors in the league's history-making inaugural edition."
Stoinis has become one of the finishers in Australia's T20 side, playing a key role in their 2021 T20 World Cup title. In last year's tournament, he hammered 59 off 18 balls against Sri Lanka in Perth. He had a slow start to the current BBL, picking up Covid early in the competition, but returned to form against Adelaide Strikers 74 off 35 balls
Sharjah Warriors ILT20 squad: Moeen Ali (capt), Dawid Malan, Evin Lewis, Mohammad Nabi, Chris Woakes, Marcus Stoinis, Noor Ahmad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Naveen ul-Haq, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Chris Benjamin, Joe Denly, Karthik Meiyappan, M Javed Siddique, Alishan Sharafu, M Jawad Ullah, Mark Deyal, JJ Smit, Bilal Khan