Abu Dhabi T10: Deccan Gladiators set to lose Jofra Archer but will welcome back Shane Watson

The newest T10 League franchise owner is resigned to losing England Ashes star Jofra Archer from his ranks, but says Shane Watson will be back when the tournament returns in November.

The 10-over competition will stage its third season later this year, when it moves from Sharjah to the capital and is renamed Abu Dhabi T10.

Despite boasting players like Archer, Watson, Colin de Grandhomme and Thisara Perera, Sindhis finished last of the eight teams in Season 2 last December.

The problems were many for the franchise. They had been known as Karachians in the inaugural edition in 2017. However, a court order in Pakistan blocked the use of that name of the eve of the second tournament, as a consequence of a dispute with the erstwhile president of the league, Salman Iqbal.

The switch happened so late that the previous name had to be spray painted over on the official branding around Sharjah Cricket Stadium, even after the play had been started. It also prompted the withdrawal of the team’s owner.

Gaurav Grover, an Indian IT businessman, took over the running of the franchise midway through the competition.

It was too late to effect the side’s progress back then, but he is confident his team, which has been newly re-branded as Deccan Gladiators, will be vying for honours in Season 3.

The side will retain Watson, who was captain last season, although Archer will be absent as England will be on tour in New Zealand at the time.

“We want big names, whoever is available in the draft, but it is all about strategy,” Grover said.

“We have retained a few players, like the legendary Shane Watson, as well as Anton Devcich and Ben Cutting.

“We have plans, and we are looking to have more talent coming in from India, and if they are available we will definitely hire them.

“I’m not sure whether we will win it or not, as it will be a tough competition, but we will put everything into it.

“We can perform much better than last year. Sindhis were at the bottom of the table last time, but we are aiming for finals this time.”

Grover is hopeful of recruiting players from India, even though the game’s administrators rarely permit their players to play in leagues overseas.

Shaji Ul Mulk, the T10 chairman, said last month that the league have been in talks about recruiting recently retired Indian internationals like Yuvraj Singh and Ambati Rayudu for this season.

“This is the only league where you will see ex-India players playing with current Pakistan players,” Grover said.

“You will only ever see Indian and Pakistani players in opposition, not playing together. This will be different cricket altogether.”

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