Having dominated the South African T20 scene for the last few years, Multiply Titans coach Mark Boucher is looking forward to the Abu Dhabi T20 Championship in October, as it provides a rare opportunity to test his side against international opposition.
“It’s going to be exciting for a lot of our players, and we’re going to have to take a number of top international players. It will be really exciting for a couple of the junior guys to get a bit of exposure,” Boucher enthused.
Looking over his player options, Boucher said it was very important to get the right balance when they head over to Abu Dhabi.
“We’ve got a lot of international players, who we know can play well together. But wearing the Titans Sky Blue is very different. We have a very strong culture here, but we haven’t been tested against any competition in the world.”
Boucher, himself a veteran who visited every Test-playing nation during his stellar career with the Proteas, added that the challenge of playing on foreign turf would be very good for his players.
"It’s going to be a good test to see where our players are, and the challenge of playing abroad is also welcome. T20 has turned cricket around worldwide. It’s the most popular format right now, and has changed the way people see the game," he said of the interest in the competition itself.
“Teams will no doubt put out strong squads, and it’s a good opportunity for franchises to put their name forward in world cricket. There are often debates about which is the best franchise in the world. We feel that we have a good shout at it, and now there’s a tournament that can hopefully judge it as well.”
Boucher added that the experience of playing in an international tournament of sorts can only bode well for the Titans when they come back to defend their domestic hat-trick of T20 titles.
“It will be good for us to judge where we are as a franchise, and also to raise the bar when we come back to South Africa. These competitions are great because they’re nice and short; you can play two or three games in one day. You’re playing some exciting cricket, where there will be a lot of exposure through television. People will definitely be interested in seeing someone like Chris Gayle up against Dale Steyn in franchise cricket, which will be great to see," Boucher added.
As for the venue itself, the Titans coach said it was very encouraging to see the strides that the city had taken, and that it was also taking cricket development in the area seriously.
"Abu Dhabi is a great city, and a great place to play. It's looking to expand its cricketing landscape, so it seems a great fit to hold such an exciting tournament in Abu Dhabi. It’s an opportunity for our players to experience a different culture - which is just as exciting – and we’re really looking forward to it."