The Abu Dhabi T10 has roped in former ICC Chief Executive Officer Haroon Lorgat as director of strategy and development to devise a strategy to globalise the format, as well as mend their relations with Pakistan so that their players can feature in the league from January 28 to February 6 in 2021.
The T10 League is a 10-overs-a-side format introduced by private cricket organisers in Sharjah in 2017, and later embraced by the Abu Dhabi government. It was rebranded as the Abu Dhabi T10 League and games were also moved out of Sharjah to the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The partnership also made Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) a party in the tournament.
"We thought it was time to move ahead with a much better professional management structure at the top by bringing in names of repute in the cricket world," Shaji ul Mulk, the league's founder and chairman, said while announcing Lorgat's appointment. "His role is to make this league a global one, as we feel there is an opportunity for us to create a truly global brand."
The PCB and the T10 League have had a troubled history since the latter came into being three years ago. Last season, the PCB unexpectedly revoked players' NOCs at the last minute, saying they needed to manage workloads. The ECB protested strongly, with the board's vice-chairman Khalid Al Zarooni sending a letter directly to PCB chairman Ehsan Mani to say that the decision would hurt the UAE government's stakes in the tournament, and urged the PCB to change its mind. Mani is believed to have told the ECB vice-chairman about Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's role in the decision. The ECB was also thought to be weighing its options, including raising the issue of government interference in the PCB's affairs with the ICC.
Mulk said he wanted to move on from past hiccups, and was hoping for a fresh start. Lorgat was optimistic that the format could be adapted as one of the official formats in world cricket. "Last year was an unfortunate development [between PCB and ECB] which happened quite late," Lorgat said.
"It was commendable that Qalandars still managed to get together a team that participated, and actually played well. That indicated to me the interest in the league. In spite of the late withdrawal, there were still many players who were willing to come and participate at short notice. We would appeal to all the member boards to afford this opportunity to their players. The ICC has already sanctioned the T10 format. I want to explore whether this is something that can be played by international member countries."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent