India captain MS Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings teammate Suresh Raina will launch a seven-a-side, seven team corporate cricket league in Dubai this week. According to a report in the Times of India, the 7 Premier League (7PL) will be financed by a United Arab Emirates-based conglomerate and its first edition is scheduled to take place in March this year.
The league will feature seven teams from the seven Emirates in the region – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Qaiwain. Matches will be of seven overs per innings and players from seven countries will take part. According to the report, the cricket Boards of India, Australia, England, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have agreed to allow their players to participate in the league.
While 7PL has reportedly received the blessings of the International Cricket Council and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, it will not be an ICC-recognized tournament. Although the league will have a high-profile launch, it is not likely to feature any marquee names. Players participating in the league will be those who are not involved in the Indian Premier League or Australia’s Big Bash League. However organizers will make an effort to rope in an international star from time to time.