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In a bid to compete with the Indian T20 League - the biggest, most lucrative, and entertaining T20 League in the world - multiple reports have suggested that Saudi Arabia will create their own T20 league with the aim of going toe-to-toe with the best franchise leagues across the globe.

Prince Saud bin Mishal al-Saud, the chairman of the Saudi cricket board, had previously expressed his desire of transforming his nation into a global destination for top-quality cricket.

This latest development comes against the backdrop of the recently launched International League T20 in the UAE. 

Furthermore, it must be noted Saudi Arabia is already experiencing a sporting revolution with Cristiano Ronaldo signing for football club Al Nassr in a lucrative deal that made the Portuguese star the highest-earning player on the planet.

Add to that, the acquisition of English club Newcastle United FC by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman and it is clear to see that the oil-rich nation wants to transform itself into a top-quality sporting hub with the best talents in the world on display.

When will Saudi Arabia’s Cricket League start?

As per multiple reports, Saudi Arabia’s government officials have initiated contact with the owners of Indian T20 League teams to gauge their interest in the project. However, there’s no clear date that has been set yet for the commencement of the Saudi Arabia Cricket League.

What’s worth noting is that should Indian T20 League franchise owners show interest in acquiring the teams from Saudi Arabia, it wouldn’t be the first time that they have bought a side on foreign shores.

As many as six out of the six teams in SA20 - South Africa’s top domestic T20 league - are owned by Indian T20 League franchise owners.

Similarly, three out of six teams in the ILT20 in UAE are owned by Indian T20 League franchise owners.

With Saudi Arabia targeting mission ‘Vision 2030’ which aims at making sports and entertainment a big part of the nation’s ethos, starting the Saudi Arabia cricket league seems to be the next logical step on the path to realising the country’s goal.

A few partnerships and tie-ups suggest that Saudi Arabia has already put their plan to make the nation into a global sporting hub in motion.

Having signed partnership agreements with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Saudi tourism authority had previously also announced their sponsorship agreement with Indian T20 League 2023 in February.

That said, Indian players’ participation in the Saudi Arabia Cricket League seems highly unlikely, primarily due to the BCCI’s stance which doesn’t usually allow players under the board any sort of participation in foreign leagues.

However, this does not affect Indian T20 League franchise owners from exploring their options for owning new T20 teams from other countries.

Photo credit: Unsplash

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