Australian batter Chris Lynn is one of 54 players unveiled as the first batch of signings for the UAE Twenty20 league that has caused a multitude of headaches for cricket’s custodians.
After the Brisbane Heat elected not to renew Lynn’s $200,000-per-season deal in the Big Bash League, he has been unable to find another club willing to meet his asking price, although he had recently been in talks with the Adelaide Strikers.
Chris Lynn during his Brisbane Heat days.Credit:Getty Images
As a marquee player in the UAE, Lynn is in line to earn as much as $700,000 for the tournament, the same terms under which David Warner and around 15 other Australians were courted by clubs. All the UAE teams have been snapped up by Indian corporate owners, three of which already have stakes in IPL teams.
The move by Lynn, the only Australian cricketer named among a host of other notable players, to the UAE league effectively means that he will not be seen playing in the BBL this summer.
Under the regulations set by the UAE league, each privately owned team is able to recruit as many as 12 overseas players from full member countries, including Australia, with nine overseas players and only two local players required in the playing XI.
That ratio, a topic of testy discussion at the recent ICC annual conference in Birmingham, has led to calls from Cricket Australia’s chief executive Nick Hockley and others for a cap on the number of overseas players allowed in any league.
While sanctioned by the UAE cricket board, the Twenty20 league is privately owned by two of its directors. Mubashshir Usmani, the UAE board’s secretary, argued that the new tournament would still be geared at developing cricket in the region, despite its lopsided playing squads.
“We are very excited that a select number of UAE representative-players, from our current pool, will also be considered and signed-on to participate in the league,” he said. “It is also extremely important to note that these players will form part of the team’s playing XI.
“One of the key objectives for ILT20 is to provide opportunities for players from UAE and other associate nations to perform on the big stage, and, ECB extends its deep appreciation to the six-franchises for their support of our vision to grow our game and create stronger, more competitive players.”
The likes of Andre Russell, Moeen Ali, Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Alex Hales, Tom Banton, Sandeep Lamichhane, Colin Ingram and James Vince have all made significant contributions to past editions of the BBL, but now have far more bidders for their time.
In parallel to the BBL and the UAE league is another privately owned Twenty20 tournament to be played in South Africa, where players such as Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler and Jason Holder are expected to take part.
The six-team tournament, to be played over 34 matches, is expected to start in mid-January.
UAE T20 marquee players: Moeen Ali, Andre Russell, Dawid Malan, Wanindu Hasiranga, Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis, Colin Munro, Fabien Allen, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Dushmantha Chameera, Shimron Hetmyer, Akeal Hosein, Chris Jordan, Tom Banton, Sandeep Lamichhane, Chris Lynn, Rovman Powell, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Mujeeb Ul Rahman
Other signings: Lahiru Kumara, Seekugge Prassanna, Charith Asalanka, Colin Ingram, Paul Stirling, Kennar Lewis, Ali Khan, Brandon Glover, Ravi Rampaul, Raymon Reifer, Isuru Udana, Blessing Muzarabani, Niroshan Dickwella, Hazaratullah Zazai, Frederick Klassen, Sikandar Raja, George Munsey, Dan Lawrence, Dominic Drakes, Jamie Overton, Liam Dawson, David Wiese, Qais Ahmed, Richard Gleeson, James Vince, Noor Ahmed, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Navin Ul Haq, Sherfane Rutherford, Saqib Mahmood, Ben Duckett, Benny Howell, Ruben Trumpelman.
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