The great warrior race of Marathas is all set to resume battle, but on a fresh battle ground, the cricket fields of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Named the Maratha Arabians, a franchise in the upcoming T10 Cricket League to be played over 10-overs-a-side, the squad featuring some of the world’s best known cricketers will do battle in the six-team tournament from 14-17 December.
Maratha Arabians is co-owned by Parvez Khan of Pacific Ventures, Bollywood Actor/Producer/Director Sohail Khan and Ali Tumbi of Aqua Properties.
Legendary India Opener Virender Sehwag was unveiled as the icon and captain of the franchise at the launch of the jersey of the side in Mumbai on Thursday.
Sehwag leads a squad featuring a number of stars including former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, Pakistan’s stars Mohammed Amir and Kamran Akmal. Former Pakistan captain.
Wasim Akram is the head coach and mentor of the squad with former England/Scotland cricketer Dougie Brown supporting him as the assistant coach. The squad consists of players from nine countries including India, England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa, Netherlands and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The tournament is being staged under the aegis of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), with official approval of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Speaking at the launch of the jersey, Sehwag said: “It is indeed a fresh start for cricket. I am excited about this format because it will be a lot of fun to play the kind of cricket I love. The fact that the tournament aims to entertain the fans at large fits in well with me because that has been my philosophy always. I look forward to rubbing shoulders with the best in the world once again at a historic venue like Sharjah.”
Maratha Arabians Co-owner Sohail Khan said: “Cricket has always been close to my heart. So when this opportunity came along, I was only too happy to get associated. It is a brilliant concept and as a team owner it provides us an excellent opportunity to maximise the popularity of the sport further. We have a fantastic squad with an iconic captain. It cannot get better than this.”
Maratha Arabians Co-owner Parvez Khan said: “At Pacific Ventures we have always been closely associated with cricket. We have a number of initiatives in the sport which confirms our love for the game. Owning a franchise in the format is a special honour for us because it takes us back to our roots in Maharashtra. The presence of a legend like Virender Sehwag as the captain provides us an excellent opportunity to put our best foot forward in a brand new format.”
This is the second such association for Parvez Khan with a legendary Indian cricketer, after Pacific Ventures recently launched a Cricket Academy in Dubai with Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The MS Dhoni Cricket Academy (MSDCA) has been in operation for a couple of months at the Springdales School in Dubai. The former India captain, Dhoni, himself inaugurated the Academy during his recent visit to Dubai.
Maratha Arabians Co-owner Ali Tumbi said: “Maratha Arabians is an excellent marriage of two different regions and cultures. The franchise represents the warriors of two historic regions and will fight for every inch on the cricket field during the tournament. We have assembled the best possible squad in what will be the start of a new era for cricket.”
Squad: Virender Sehwag (captain/icon/India), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), Mohammed Amir (Pakistan), Alex Hales (England), Lendl Simmons (West Indies), Imad Wasim (Pakistan), Krishmar Santokie (West Indies), Rilee Rousouw (South Africa), Roelof van der Merwe (Netherlands), Kamran Akmal (Pakistan), Mohammed Sami (Pakistan), Hardus Viljoen (South Africa), Ross Whiteley (England), Shaiman Anwar (UAE), Zahoor Khan (UAE); Head Coach and Mentor: Wasim Akram; Assistant coach: Dougie Brown (England); Manager: Abdul Latif Khan
UAE: Sehwag to lead Maratha Arabians in the T10 Cricket League; Wasim Akram is Coach