Cricket-UAE T20 league organisers hoping to minimise schedule clashes

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Organisers of a new Twenty20 league in the United Arab Emirates are working with their counterparts in Australia and South Africa to minimise the impact of scheduling clashes with their competitions, a top official has told Reuters.

The International League T20 (ILT20), which launches in January, will be the second most lucrative Twenty20 tournament after the trend-setting Indian Premier League (IPL) in terms of player remuneration.

The inaugural edition of the six-team competition, however, coincides with another new Twenty20 league in South Africa, Cricket Australia (CA)'s Big Bash League and the Bangladesh Premier League.

Mubashshir Usmani, general secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), said the Jan. 6 to Feb. 12 window for the tournament had been selected because it presented "optimal playing conditions in the UAE".

"While this window suits our purpose, we are closely working with different boards toward minimising date clashes," he added.

The money on offer at ILT20 has caused some consternation in Australia.

It has prompted Cricket Australia (CA) to enter negotiation with its top players to retain them for the Big Bash League, which is scheduled to run between Dec. 13 and Feb. 12.

Media reports in Australia said CA might block Chris Lynn, who was among the first of list of marquee names released by ILT20 last week, from joining the league by denying the big-hitting batsman the necessary clearance.

"We are working with Cricket Australia, in fact we are in touch with all the relevant cricket boards, to minimise any major clashes," Usmani said.

"We do want Australian as well as any other available players to be involved with the league."

Among the other marquee players announced by the ILT20 were England internationals Moeen Ali, Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan as well as West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell and Afghan bowler Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Usmani said the franchises had been empowered to sign overseas players directly, although the ECB were ready to help.

"Our team has been working alongside players, players' agents and various boards to seek and secure the necessary approvals for those identified to participate in the league's inaugural edition," he said.

Although the franchises are likely to be mostly made up of players from outside the Emirates, two local players must feature in every starting team.

Usmani said ILT20 was "special" as it afforded players from the UAE, and other associate nations, "an incomparable experience" of sharing the dressing room with top players in "one of the most attractive destinations in the world".

The owners of the Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals teams in the IPL have purchased ILT20 franchises.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Nick Mulvenney and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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