MI Emirates, the Mumbai Indians-owned team in the UAE's ILT20, have announced their roster of non-UAE [overseas] players, headlined by old favourite Kieron Pollard, and Trent Boult, who opted out of a New Zealand central contract on Wednesday to spend more time with his family and focus on T20 franchise cricket.
The league has allowed the six participating franchises to pick as "direct acquisitions" up to 14 overseas players for their line-ups - with up to nine allowed in the playing XIs. For MI Emirates, the 14 are Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Nicholas Pooran and Andre Fletcher (from the West Indies); Boult (from New Zealand); Imran Tahir (from South Africa); Najibullah Zadran, Zahir Khan and Fazalhaq Farooqi (from Afghanistan); Samit Patel, Will Smeed and Jordan Thompson (from England); Brad Wheal (from Scotland); and Bas de Leede (from the Netherlands).
While Pollard has been a one-team man in the IPL, turning out for Mumbai Indians every season since starting out with them in 2010, Boult was traded to Mumbai Indians ahead of the 2020 season by Delhi Capitals and went on to play a starring role in their title run. He picked up 25 wickets that season, second only to Jasprit Bumrah's 27, and was the Player of the Final as Mumbai Indians won their fifth title. Bravo and Pooran have also represented Mumbai Indians in the past.
"I am delighted with our dynamic group of 14 players that will be part of our #Onefamily and represent 'MI Emirates'," Akash M Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio, the owners of the franchise, said in a statement. "We are glad to have one of our key pillars, Kieron Pollard continue with MI Emirates. Joining us back are Dwayne Bravo, Trent Boult and Nicholas Pooran."
On Thursday, the franchise owned by the same group in the yet-to-be-named South African T20 league - MI Cape Town - had announced their pre-signings for the inaugural edition, to run more or less concurrently with the ILT20. That list reads: Rashid Khan, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada and Dewald Brevis.
The MI Emirates team will be based in Abu Dhabi. The local UAE players will be added to the squad in the near future.