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Tom Moody: ILT20 side Desert Vipers owner Lancer Capital are very serious about cricket

With the advent of T20 cricket and franchise leagues evolving around the globe, new ventures and new teams are being witnessed. The Lancer Capital-owned Desert Vipers franchise incorporated under UAE’s International League T20 (ILT20) is one such franchise.

Lancer Capital are new to the cricketing circles but have brought on board some known faces that include players as well as the management team. In an exclusive conversation with Firstpost, Lancer Capital’s cricket director Tom Moody talks about how the league will benefit the UAE and its players and how this cricketing venture is just the start for Lancer Capital in the world of cricket.

Excerpts from the conversation 

How do you think ILT20 will help in the growth of cricket overall in the world, since many new T20 leagues are coming up? So how do you think this League will help in that aspect?

Sure, Yeah. Look, I think the ILT20 is a very important league that’s obviously making its debut in January-February next year. I think it’s important mainly because of how it’s embracing, cricket in the region and the UAE. They haven’t had their own standalone franchise tournament. Yes, they’ve had a lot of tournaments and international events take place in the UAE, but nothing of their own. So this is going to enable a wonderful opportunity for the local players to rub shoulders with some of the best cricketers in the world and learn from their experiences and help with the development and growth of the game in the region.

Okay. And how do you think will it be different from other leagues? Especially because, when we talk about the Big Bash or the IPL, the majority of the players are local players, IPL has at seven Indian players in the team, and similar for Big Bash, but in UAE there will be only two players from their region. So how would this thing make a difference?

I think it’s going to be a very strong tournament, because you’ve got those nine overseas players in each team, with the two UAE players. But I think it also emphasizes how important those two UAE players are to each playing 11 because they’re gonna have to play obviously key important roles in the playing 11. You have obviously four UAE players in each squad, so there’s a great opportunity for those players to have that exposure to a high-quality tournament.

So in general I think the tournament itself is a great window of opportunity for it to be a high caliber, high-quality tournament or franchise tournament compared to other tournaments in the world. Obviously, the IPL is the premium franchise tournament at the moment. And understandably, it’s been established for many years and it has its own international window where it tracks the very best internationals here along with a vastly, well, let me put it this way, an Indian talent pool, which is bigger than what most countries would ever dream of.

How satisfied are you with the squad of the Desert Vipers? Like, do you think you have covered all the bases?

Yeah, look we obviously are very excited about the squad that we’ve built. We’ve taken a lot of time and effort along with the CricViz which is one of our partners, you know, to help us with, our, research on players and, looking to provide or create the right balance in a squad. We’ve obviously been very happy with what we’ve secured. We’ve secured players from all parts of the world. And obviously, during that time in January – February, one of the key issues or concerns was making sure that we, we got as many players that were going to be available for the majority of the tournament.

Okay. One more thing – the owners of Desert Vipers, Lancer Capital have traditionally not been into cricket like they have been into some other sports. So does that add an additional responsibility on you and other teammates of yours?

Yeah look, I don’t think it’s an additional responsibility. I think it’s an exhausting opportunity. Having an owner that has got some sporting history in other sports, you know, they’ve been terrific to work with. They’ve given us the opportunity to build the foundation that we are trying to create in the UAE with Desert Vipers. And they’ve been thorough in recruiting a management team that has got a lot of cricketing experience. They’re very serious about getting involved in cricket. And this UAE venture is the beginning of something that they’re hoping is going to grow over the next few years.

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