T10 League: Abu Dhabi sign Liam Livingstone and retain Chris Gayle

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Chris Gayle (Photo/ Windies Cricket Twitter)
Chris Gayle (Photo/ Windies Cricket Twitter)

Abu Dhabi [UAE], October 8 (ANI): Team Abu Dhabi stepped up preparations for the 2021 Abu Dhabi T10 by retaining the services of West Indies legend Chris Gayle and signing eye-catching England batsman Liam Livingstone as the home side's icon player.

Gayle, who this year became the first player in history to reach 14,000 runs in T20 cricket alone, lit up the Abu Dhabi T10's fourth edition at the first attempt with a brutal 84 not out against Maratha Arabians at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in February.

Coming off just 22 balls, it is the kind of devastating innings fans all over the world have come to expect of the left-hander with two ICC Men's T20 World Cup winners' medals to his name. Meanwhile, Livingstone is quickly establishing himself in a similar fashion and has emerged as one of the most exciting players in short-form cricket.

New Team Abu Dhabi coach, Paul Farbrace, is looking forward to working with both players that will form one of the most destructive top-orders in world cricket.

"Chris Gayle is box office," said Farbrace. "When he walks into bat, people make sure they are there as he could do something so special, so stunning, in any game.

"We've got someone who not only do we know will win us a couple of games, but he will inspire the team to win games, too, because there will be players in our team who have looked up to him for many years as a batting idol and they will want to impress him."

"I've been on the wrong end of far too many Chris Gayle onslaughts so it will be lovely to sit back, watch him and enjoy having him in our team for the first time in my career."

"Liam Livingstone is the new name on everyone's lips, he's the one that everyone in England is talking about as the bloke that can play a fundamental part in the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup and I'm excited that he's in our team. He is destructive, he's desperate to succeed, and we're really lucky that the name that's on everyone's lips is in our team."

Most recently, Farbrace helped Warwickshire lift a County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy double in the U.K. this summer, as the county side's director of cricket. The former Kent and Middlesex player is now excited to be at the helm of the UAE capital's home team, with further announcements on Farbrace's backroom staff to follow.

"I think it's a very exciting opportunity," added Farbrace from the draft at W Abu Dhabi on Yas Island. "Players are genuinely excited to play in the Abu Dhabi T10 and coaches want be part of it because it is innovative, it's cutting edge and it's in a spectacular place. I think it's got all the ingredients as a tournament; it's standalone and it's already one of the big tournaments on the calendar."

"It doesn't get any better than being with the home team, it's where you want to be. You want the best home support and to be with people who know what the tournament is all about and what it means for people here in Abu Dhabi."

Farbrace also oversaw the retentions of Obed McCoy, Rohan Mustafa, Naveen-ul-Haq, Jamie Overton, and Paul Stirling - all of which made a considerable impression last time around.

Only McCoy had a better economy rate than Naveen in the Team Abu Dhabi squad last season, while the West Indian quick was one of only four bowlers to reach double figures in the wickets column and Overton topped league charts with 12 scalps.

Stirling, meanwhile, was the tournament's sixth-highest run scorer and the Ireland opener's 15 sixes were only bettered by three players across the entire competition.

Mustafa played a key role in taking the new ball and again spearheads Team Abu Dhabi's UAE contingent, which also includes 20-year-old spinner Muhammad Farazuddin.

"It's really nice to be retained by Team Abu Dhabi as I've had two good seasons with them, and it feels like it's my own team. Paul Farbrace is a very good coach so taking experience from him will be great for us UAE players," said Mustafa.

Among the new faces in Team Abu Dhabi are South Africa duo Colin Ingram and Marchant de Lange, England internationals Danny Briggs and Phil Salt, and West Indies quick Fidel Edwards.

The Abu Dhabi T10's fifth iteration takes place at the UAE's world-renowned Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium from November 19 to December 4.

Team Abu Dhabi squad in full: Chris Benjamin, Danny Briggs, Ahmed Daniyal, Fidel Edwards, Muhammad Farazuddin, Chris Gayle, Colin Ingram, Marchant de Lange, Liam Livingstone, Obed Mccoy, Rohan Mustafa, Naveen-ul-Haq, Phil Salt, and Paul Stirling. (ANI)

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