Moeen Ali, Henry Brookes and Jake Lintott are in the UAE as the sixth edition of the Abu Dhabi T10 got underway on Wednesday.
Ali, who was part of England ODI squad that followed their T20 World Cup triumph, flew straight out to the middle east to captain the USA based side – Morrisville Samp Army.
Coached by Lance Klusener, the Army defeated Jake Lintott’s Bangla Tigers by 18 runs in their first ever fixture of the tournament, having signed up earlier this year.
Brookes meanwhile was a late addition to the Chennai Braves, who are led by Dougie Brown and coached by Ian Bell. The 23-year-old started their opening fixture against the New York Strikers, taking a wicket and catch in the first innings.
“I’ve played a little bit of franchise cricket with Birmingham Phoenix and loved every minute of it,” Brookes said before departing.
“I’m heading out to play for the Chennai Braves with ex-Warwickshire Head Coach Dougie Brown leading the side, Ian Bell and some other great coaches. It will be great to out there and gain some more game time in franchise cricket.
“It would be silly not to go out there and learn from the icons of the game. You go into these competitions preparing to play against the best players in the world at that time and my ambition is to be one of those top players.
“You’ve got to take and learn what you can and try to implement it into your game, so it’ll be a great all-round experience.”
The tournament sees eight teams play 33 matches through a round-robin tournament and playoff finale with each match taking part in a 10-over-a-side format (90 minute duration).
There’s plenty of Bears flavour throughout the competition with 2022 overseas stars Carlos Brathwaite and Paul Stirling taking part, alongside former Bears Adam Hose, Olly Stone and Paul Farbrace, the Head Coach of Team Abu Dhabi.
Four Teams. Two Matches. It’s Blast Off!
2023 Vitality Blast competition is set to start in spectacular style with a new double-header at Edgbaston Stadium on Saturday 20 May.
Blast Off will see Bears host Yorkshire Vikings and Derbyshire Falcons host Lancashire Lightning as part of an action-packed day of T20 entertainment. Early Bird tickets are on sale now from £25.