Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands on Wednesday announced a joint franchise-based European T20 cricket league. In a first-of-its-kind venture in cricket, the three boards have decided to come together to launch a brand new T20 league, with each country set to field two teams.
The inaugural edition of the European T20 cricket league will take place from August 30 to September 22. There will be 33 matches played between city-based franchises across all three countries. The teams will have a minimum of nine domestic players and up to seven foreign players. The playing XI will have to feature a minimum of six home players, ICC reported.
"Cricket Scotland is always looking for more fixtures against high-quality opposition to develop the talent in our national team. The proposal for a six-team European tournament featuring teams from Ireland and Netherlands provides an excellent basis for Scottish cricket to prosper," Malcolm Cannon, the Cricket Scotland chief executive said.
"Off the back of our highest ever global T20I ranking of 11th, the tournament comes at a fantastic time for Scottish cricket. The chance to play alongside some of the best in the business will provide a great opportunity for our players to learn and develop their own skill set as we strive to achieve Full Membership and climb the ICC team rankings."
Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom said that the project had been 18 months in the making, and he feels it gives Ireland the platform to raise their game in the shortest format.
"We are very excited that what has essentially been an 18-month project in planning is across the line. The quality and competitive performances in white-ball cricket played by the three nations involved has been on full display over recent years, and we saw a joint competition as the best means of ensuring that there would be high-quality cricket for the players and fans to enjoy."
"The global rise of T20 franchise cricket is a phenomenon within our sport, and there is no secret that Ireland's performances at this format of the game have not been where we have wanted over the last few years. That, for us, was one of the prime motivators for such a competition."
The Netherlands cricket chair Betty Timmer said: "This new T20 league is a great opportunity for the Dutch players to gain more T20 experience at a high level and to play in a team with highly experienced international cricketers.
"This event will certainly contribute to the development of Dutch cricket talent and further expansion of cricket in the Netherlands, some of the objectives of KNCB's new strategic plan." (ANI)