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As the D-Day for the world’s marquee T10 cricket league draws closer, the anticipation for the latest season is at its peak and the excitement has gripped fans and players alike.
Over the 15-day-long season, six teams – Northern Warriors, The Chennai Braves, Delhi Bulls, Team Abu Dhabi, Bangla Tigers and Deccan Gladiators - will be vying for the coveted trophy. Northern Warriors, two-time champions and current title holders, will be playing to hold on to their perch, albeit with a very new-look squad.
The biggest change for the reigning champs will be at the helm with Jamaica’s Rovman Powell taking over the captaincy duties from fellow West Indian cricketer Nicholas Pooran.
Rovman Powell’s involvement with Northern Warriors has always produced outstanding results with the West Indian helping the team win the trophy in both the editions he has been with them.
Fulfilling the expectations as captain this season, however, will be a different challenge, Powell feels.
“Winning the trophy both the times for Northern Warriors was a highlight as a player in my cricketing career. But now I have the opportunity to lift that cup this year as a captain! I am thankful for the Northern Warriors management for trusting in me and providing me this opportunity. Looking forward to the tournament to begin! I want all our fans to Keep supporting and keep cheering the Warriors,” Rovman Powell says.
While the Northern Warriors will look to continue their dominance in the league, The Chennai Braves – the latest Abu Dhabi T10 team on the block – will be out to make a ‘stormy’ first impression.
The honour of leading the Braves in their maiden Abu Dhabi T10 campaign has been entrusted to Sri Lankan international Dasun Shanaka.
The devastating pinch-hitter is relishing the task at hand. “We have a good combination of all-rounders, fast bowlers and both left and right-handed batsmen in the team. Not just that, The Chennai Clan also strikes a perfect balance of experienced and young players. With Douglas Brown and Ian Bell by our side to coach, the boys are ready to take the field by storm!”
Another highly-anticipated debut at the Abu Dhabi T10 season 5 will be South African ace Faf du Plessis, who has signed on to captain the Bangla Tigers.
“My role as a captain would be to get the team together and create an environment wherein the players are having fun and being themselves. We have a good mix of players and I am confident of the Bangla Tigers doing well in the tournament,” Faf says.
On the other hand, bringing his trademark Caribbean flamboyance and ‘champions’ mindset to the Delhi Bulls this season will be Dwayne Bravo, one of Abu Dhabi T10’s old guards. The West Indian dynamo led the Bulls to the final last season and has set his goals a notch higher this time around.
“We came so close to being champions last season, and we have identified the areas we needed to improve this time around. So we have a good balance in the squad and it will now be about playing consistent cricket,” Dwayne Bravo said.
Dwayne Bravo, however, will need to be wary of Wahab Riaz, who is leading the Deccan Gladiators this season.
“This season is crucial for the Deccan Gladiators. We had a great team last season, but couldn't go far in the tournament. But this season we aim to win it and perform well right from the first game. Our squad combination is solid. We have some very experienced players who are match-winners and some raw talent who can change the game,” Wahab Riaz stated.
English cricketer Liam Livingstone, meanwhile, will have the honours of leading the home team, Team Abu Dhabi.
“I can’t wait to get started in the Abu Dhabi T10 and I’m extremely proud to be captaining Team Abu Dhabi,” Livingstone said. “It’s a real pleasure to not only be representing the home team in the tournament but also captaining them, and I’m sure we’ll have superb support from fans across the entire country.
“Everyone should expect an exciting brand of cricket from Team Abu Dhabi that reflects this wonderful emirate and we have both world-class coaches and world-class players in our squad so our sights are firmly set on lifting the trophy for the first time,” the Englishman added.
With six ace captains, in charge of equally talented squads, having set their sights on the Abu Dhabi T10 trophy this season, not an inch will be given without a battle on the road to the final on December 4.