Pakistan legend Waqar Younis predicts bright future for Abu Dhabi T20 tournament
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Former Pakistan coach and captain Waqar Younis predicts a bright future for the Abu Dhabi T20, saying it has the potential to become a mega event on the cricketing calendar.

The inaugural competition, which saw different sides from around the globe descend on the UAE capital, ended with Pakistan Super League franchise Lahore Qalandars being crowned champions.

Runners-up Multiply Titans of South Africa, England’s Yorkshire Vikings, New Zealand’s Auckland Aces, Afghanistan’s Boost Defenders and Big Bash League’s Hobart Hurricanes completed the six-team line-up that saw the likes of Albie Morkel and Colin Munro in action at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

The Abu Dhabi T20 was launched by Abu Dhabi Cricket in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council with a vision of making it the sport’s version of the FIFA Club World Cup.

And Waqar, who was commentating during the Abu Dhabi T20 matches, believes the tournament will go from strength to strength.

“It’s a wonderful event,” said the 46-year-old. “The facilities  are now oustanding and the pitches are really good. I think it is one of the best venues to host a tournament like this. You have teams coming from all over the world. It is the first time it’s being staged and if it carries on for the next few years, this can become a mega event where all the teams can compete. It’s an ideal centre. There is no home advantage to anyone and it’s a big plus plus.”

Thumbs up: Waqar Younis

Thumbs up: Waqar Younis

Qalandars fielded a squad that was majority made up of players from their development programme. Waqar, who took more than 700 international wickets, believes the Abu Dhabi T20 is a great platform for players to gain experience.

“It’s a perfect place to groom the youngsters and for the kids in the UAE to watch these superstars,” he said. “It’s a learning situation as well and Lahore Qalandars have a lot of new youngsters coming through and are looking to groom. Hopefully these players will go on and play in Pakistan Super League one day.”

The Abu Dhabi T20 was held over three days with a minimum of two matches played per day. Waqar feels it’s best not to expand the tournament to ‘three or four weeks’ if there exist plans to invite more teams.

“It’s only a three day tournament and you don’t want to extend it to three or four weeks because there’s so much cricket happening around the world,” he added. “If you keep it short and sweet, people will love it. It’s an ideal place and I don’t really see any reason why this tournament cannot be successful.”

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