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  • T20 legends announced as the first Icon Players, each representing one of the five franchises later this year

UAE T20x, the newly launched T20 cricket league owned by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), today revealed white ball legends Andre Russell and David Miller as the first of five Icon Players to sign up to play in the inaugural competition this December. The two all-rounders, South African Miller and big hitting Jamaican Russell, will each represent one of the five franchise teams during the tournament, which will run from 19th December – 11th January in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

News of their participation comes shortly after the announcement of AB de Villiers as the global ambassador for UAE T20x, and builds upon the league’s commitment to recruit the most internationally diverse player make-up of all the franchise tournaments.

Miller, an aggressive left-handed middle order batsman has been an international player for South Africa since 2010. He has played 109 ODI matches and also chalked up 61 international T20 caps for his country. His batting form speaks for itself, with over 2,500 runs in ODIs – with an innings record of 138 and over 1,000 runs in T20I cricket with a top score of 101.

Miller said, “I grew up in a country that is crazy about cricket and it meant there were a lot of opportunities to learn and develop as a player. What I love about UAE T20x is the legacy it aims to leave, not just in the UAE, but across the broader Middle East region, and around the world, especially amongst emerging and junior players from both ICC Test and Associate member countries.

He continued: “Not only will the league be an amazing spectacle for fans to watch, but it has the potential to inspire a new generation of players who will help grow the game across this region. It’s something I am passionate about and want to be involved in.”

Russell, widely regarded as the biggest hitter of the cricket ball in the game today, made his ODI and T20 debuts for the West Indies in 2011. An explosive all-rounder, the Jamaican born player has been known to hit a T20 century in just 42 balls and in 2013 became the first T20 bowler to take four wickets in four successive deliveries.

Andre Russell said: “UAE T20x has to be one of the most exciting and entertaining tournaments to launch in a long time. It’s got everything- a star studded line up of players and icons, amazing facilities in a progressive country and passionate fans who come from all over the world. I’m really looking forward to seeing it all come to life this December.”

As an ICC Associate Member, the ECB has put the growth of the sport at its heart, and a key aim of UAE T20x is to not only generate new income streams that can be reinvested directly into the grassroots of the game, but to provide a platform where local and international emerging talent can develop through coaching and competition.

Zayed Abbas, Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) Board Member and Official Spokesperson said: “Whilst development of emerging talent – both local and international – is at the heart of our vision for UAE T20x, we are still committed to attracting the very best players from across the cricketing world. There are very few people who can match Russell’s big hitting prowess or Miller’s aggressive battling style, so having these two legends playing in the league will add a very exciting dimension for our fans.”

UAE T20x will make its debut this December with five new franchise teams vying for the inaugural title in a 22-match format to be played over 24 days. The five franchises will comprise a squad of 16 featuring six international star players, four emerging and junior players, three ICC Associate Member players, and three UAE national team players. No other T20 competition has been established with these developmental goals at their core, and no other event will showcase such a wide array of international talent.

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