It is one of the biggest and best-promoted sports in the world and we got to see another taste of just how big cricket can be yesterday with the showbiz style launch of the Euro T20 Slam which will land in Dublin later this summer.
The Tournament has been created by Woods Entertainment and backed by GS Holdings, two major Indian enterprises and will seek to emulate in Europe what has been created with similar T20 tournaments in India, Australia and the West Indies.
They approached Cricket Ireland a little under two years ago with the idea for a City based tournament that would incorporate teams from Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands and give a greater opportunity for players from those three countries to play the game.
The T20 format is less than 20 years in existence and is a short form of the sport that leads to more explosive play, games that run for a few hours as opposed to days and where music and entertainment are very much to the fore.
Think of it like Rugby Sevens or Beach Volleyball and you get a sense of the blend of top-class sport and a great day out.
Details of the new Euro T20 Slam cricket tournament were unveiled yesterday at the Westin Hotel in Dublin and gave a preview of what we might expect.
Verve The Live Agency who would run many of the launch and promotional events behind the Guinness Six Nations and other global events were brought in to manage the presentation and it was some show to lay down a marker.
The details were revealed by Pakistan cricket legend Wasim Akram, former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar and Bollywood star Yami Gautam.
There were LED Screens and strong video content, the smashing of a glass box on stage to reveal the Tournament Logo and a demonstration in sand art that was surely a first for an Irish sporting occasion.
The Tournament will have six teams, including the Dublin Chiefs and the Belfast Titans from Ireland, the Glasgow Giants and the Edinburgh Rocks from Scotland and the Rotterdam Rhinos and the Amsterdam Kings from the Netherlands.
It will take in three phases with the first ten matches taking place over seven days in Amsterdam between August 30th and September 5th.
The action will then move to The Grange Club in Edinburgh for another ten matches between the 6th and 12th September.
The concluding ten group matches followed by the semi-finals and the final will take place at Malahide Cricket Club from the 13th to the 22nd September.
There will be unveilings if team kits and teams of players, mainly drawn from each of the participating countries but with a number of star players brought in as well, over the coming months.
“We are very excited that nearly 20 months of planning has brought us to this day,” said Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom.
“From an Irish perspective, one of the prime motivators for the Slam is to provide greater opportunities for Irish players to play top quality T20 cricket. The opportunity for all of our players – as well as coaches and officials – to operate alongside some of the best in the world will only benefit both our established and emerging talent for at least the next decade.”
“Our colleagues at Scotland and Netherlands view this the event the same – and collectively we view the event as an opportunity to help properly popularise the game of cricket in our 3 nations through the vehicle of T20 franchise cricket.”
“It’s an honour to be a part of the launch of Euro T20 Slam and I want to congratulate all the cricket boards and the promoters to start a league like this in this part of the world,” added Akram.
“Over the years, I have seen immense talent emerging out of this continent and to see them getting a platform like this is nothing but a great opportunity.”
“We have been planning this day for a long time along with the cricket boards of Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands,” said Prashant Mishri of Woods Entertainment who conceived the idea.
“In this World Cup year, the awareness and excitement around cricket will be immense. The Euro T20 Slam will be a perfect culmination for the most enthralling cricket season in the region.”
Join us next week when we will have an interview with Mishri on the hopes and ambitions for the tournament.
“It’s a pleasure to be part of the launch of the Euro T20 Slam today in Dublin,” said Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross who may well have been introduced by a Bollywood star for the first time in his career.
“This is an exciting time for cricket in Europe. The hard work done by the cricket boards of Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands has come to fruition and this new league promises to be a great addition to the cricketing calendar.”
About that, there is little doubt. When the GAA vacated September for the Club game as opposed to the All Ireland Finals, who could have guessed that Cricket, alongside Ladies Football and Camogie would be the leaders looking to pick up the slack of sporting attention.