South Africa’s AB de Villers is now a mentor for the UAE T20x which will begin from December 18, 2018- January 11, 2019. The South African will not participate in the league as a player. He will continue to play T20 cricket in South Africa and India. De Villiers is obviously excited to be a part of the league and will be looking forward to sharing his experience with players who want to make it big.
“The main thing that attracted me the most to this tournament is what it will do for young, emerging players. It will give them a great opportunity to play alongside some of the world’s best players,” said de Villiers to The National.
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“Not long ago, I was a youngster when I started playing cricket. I made my IPL (Indian Premier League) debut 10 or 11 years ago. One of my fondest memories of the tournament was spending time with guys like Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne – some legends of the game – who I did not have a reach-out to, you know.”
Though the organisers wish to opt for top international players but also intend to spread the game to the grassroots talent. “Because of this [long-term approach], it (ECB) has made the grassroots development of the game at the heart of [this] tournament. I think it will generate new income streams for UAE cricket for the coming years, and that can be reinvested directly into the grassroots of the game – into coaching, facilities, for the infrastructure of cricket in the UAE. So I think locally, for UAE and UAE cricket, it's a great, great concept.
“I think we can expect lots of international stars playing, but a big focus [will be] on young and upcoming players, which is what I really love about the tournament. I can’t wait to see how it goes in the first year,” explained de Villiers.
24 matches will be held across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah and a few members from International Cricket Council have also agreed to support the league.