Akram, Vengsarkar Is Optimistic About The Success Of The Euro-Slam T20 > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Akram, Vengsarkar optimistic about success of Euro T20 Slam

Akram and Vengsarkar at the launch in Dublin (Pic: Euro T20 Slam)

When it first came to life, Twenty20 cricket was meant to be the sport's newly devised potion to attract a newer audience. To a large extent, it did bring in that - the family audience but whether it has helped cricket penetrate untapped geographies, or even compete with a global sport like football, is doubtful. However, the upsurge of T20 cricket leagues meant that the sporting bodies were not stepping back from furthering their ambition of finding newer territories, cashing in on the game's popularity, and laying a platform for budding talent at the same time.

The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) travelling to the Unites States of America and Canada hosting a Global T20 League were some of the steps taken towards promoting the sport in new territories. The newest league to hop onto that bandwagon is the Euro T20 Slam, which was launched in Dublin on Tuesday (April 30) by World Cup-winning players Wasim Akram and Dileep Vengsarkar. The six-team league's biggest USP is that it will be played across three countries - Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands, the first of its kind. Six cities have been awarded a franchise - Dublin Chiefs, Belfast Titans, Amsterdam Kings, Rotterdam Rhinos, Glasgow Giants and Edinburgh Rocks.

The league also announced three icon players - Shane Watson, Brendon McCullum and Rashid Khan, and three marquee players Chris Lynn, Babar Azam and Luke Ronchi during the launch event. More names are expected to be announced next month.

Akram, who's a Board member of the Advisory Committee of the tournament, while speaking to Cricbuzz, expressed optimism that this tournament will help benefit the cricketers of Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands massively, given the influx of overseas stars during this period of one month. "These teams should now be able to come up to the international standards because they hardly play the big teams, and even when they do, it is one off," Akram told Cricbuzz. "Now these teams will have six of their own players and five international players. Shane Watson, Chris Lynn, Brendon McCullum, Babar Azam and a few more...they will be here for a month, so spending time with them during the training, going for practice sessions, drills. It should help their confidence."

Akram also believes that the fact that this tournament will be played across three countries is its biggest selling point and that this is the right way of taking the sport global. He also mentioned that T20 is the ideal format to introduce the new geographies to, as it promises action every ball. "Imagine taking a Test match to America or Germany, nobody would understand, especially for youth, they don't have time these days. This is the ideal format to introduce them to the game, it's action, nail-biting finishes, last-ball finishes, sixes, wickets, it's action every delivery."

Vengsarkar, who too is a member of the advisory committee, stated that Euro T20 has taken up the challenge of taking cricket to the football-crazy territories and that there can't be a better format than T20 cricket to achieve so. "The rise of T20 cricket leagues around the world is surely a sign of the growth of this beautiful game. What sets the Euro T20 Slam different from other leagues, is the fact that it is taking cricket in the most entertaining form to these soccer-crazy nations. I hope the local players will make full use of this opportunity and aim to bring their countries laurels in the near future."

The timing of the tournament is something that fills the tournament's promoters with optimism. "We have been planning this day for a long time along with the cricket boards of Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands. We are glad that we have found a window right before the Ireland vs England ODI series to launch this tournament. In this World Cup year, the awareness and excitement around cricket will be immense. The Euro T20 Slam will be a perfect culmination for the most enthralling cricket season in the region," Mr. Prashant Mishra, Woods Entertainment, said.

The tournament is slated to run from August 30 to September 22. There will be a total of 33 matches between these six sides, with each franchise made up of a minimum of nine domestic players and a maximum of seven overseas players, with each XI fielding a maximum up to five overseas players.

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