Do you find those dull middle overs of T20 too much? Well, turn your attention to the UAE this week for the inaugural Ten10 league. Eoin Morgan, England’s limited-overs captain, sees the tournament as potentially ‘ground-breaking’ and a possible route for a further push to take cricket into the Olympics.
Morgan is among the marquee players signed for the competition which will take place from December 14 in Sharjah, th
Do you find those dull middle overs of T20 too much? Well, turn your attention to the UAE this week e ground which holds the record for hosting the most one-day internationals. The 10-over-a-side matches will last 90 minutes and include two-over Powerplays.
The debate around cricket and the Olympics has rumbled on for a long time. The case for advancing the game to larger audiences in new markets has been tempered by the reluctance of some of the major cricket boards to relinquish any control, while the conditions attached by the IOC have been prohibitive, even before practical issues have been addressed, such as a lack of infrastructure in countries where the game is less extensively played.
T20 had at least provided a format that, time-wise, could be more feasible than one-day cricket – and even beach cricket has been throw around as an idea – but Morgan believes T10 could be an even better vehicle.
“I think T10 could be something you could potentially propose to an Olympic committee,” Morgan told ESPNcricinfo. “When you look at T20 game, it goes for a little bit longer, so if you are talking about playing a role in the Olympics then you’d probably have ten teams or more and that would probably last five or six weeks, but a 10-over league could be done in about eight days which could be right.”
Cricket has seen shorter formats – for example the Hong Kong Sixes – but in terms of retaining the eleven-per-side element of the game, this is as brief as the game has ever gone without the intervention of the weather.
“I think we have reached a limit, I think T10 is as short as the game can go but certainly there is huge potential for a T10 game,” Morgan said. “It’s 90 minutes, very exciting entertainment and exposing the game to different people around the world who would not come and watch one-day or T20 cricket.’
In the first tournament there will be multiple matches played in the course of a single day, so for fans who choose to see more than one match, it will remain more than a 90-minute commitment at the ground. The Sharjah ground is often the best attended of the UAE venues when Pakistan play their international matches in the region.
“It will be interesting to see how well we sell the game,” Morgan said. “We still have to create a good product and also put on a good show around it for those that buy tickets. Everyone has a part to play but it’s potentially ground-breaking if it goes well.”
With just 60 legal deliveries available in a T10 innings, can we expect any player to score a century in the course of the tournament? “Well, Shahid Afridi is playing and he had one off  balls so if you hog the strike, maybe,” Morgan said.