No Warner but many stars sign up for new Emirati T20 league
Australian Chris Lynn will play Twenty20 cricket in the United Arab Emirates rather than his home Big Bash League (BBL) early next year, but David Warner was not included among the marquee players announced by the new International League T20 (ILT20).
Media reports had strongly linked Warner with a spot in the ILT20, which clashes with the Cricket Australia-owned BBL but is bankrolled in part by Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise owners and pays better.
In the event, Lynn was the only Australian on the list of 21 marquee players named late on Monday by the ILT20, in which up to 12 of the 18 members of each team squad can be from outside the country.
Bit-hitting Lynn, once one of the major stars of BBL but recently dropped by the Brisbane Heat for the next edition, will need the permission of Cricket Australia in the shape of a "No Objection Certificate" to play in the UAE.
The proliferation of T20 leagues around the world, not least the new South African league backed by IPL cash which will also be played in January, has set the stage for an intense battle to get the best players on board.
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.
India's governing BCCI forbids its players from taking part in T20 leagues outside the IPL, while Bangladesh hosts its own tournament in the new year and Pakistan has international matches over the period.
The ILT20 said it would announce more international players later in the week.
"The quality of the names announced today is outstanding and so is the interest in our league from top players from all around the world," Mubashshir Usmani of Emirates Cricket said in a news release.
Australian batsman Usman Khawaja, who according to local media reports turned down an offer to play in the league, last month reiterated his view that the BBL needs to be privatised to compete in the newly crowded T20 marketplace.