Shahid Afridi is excited about the T10 format. Photo: Bikas Das/AP

DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates will introduce a new cricket format when big hitters Shahid Afridi of Pakistan, India’s Virender Sehwag, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and England’s Eoin Morgan feature in a T10 league in December.

The 10-over-a-side matches will spread over 90 minutes (45 minutes for each innings) in Sharjah, the details of which were announced here on Tuesday.

Twenty20 cricket was introduced in England in 2003, while the first international T20 match was held between Australia and New Zealand at Auckland in February 2005.

Since then, the shortest format – the other two are five-day Tests and 50-over internationals – has become the most popular amongst the fans around the world.

The league’s president Salman Iqbal hoped the idea will kick off.

“Everyone has played T10 cricket on the streets, and this will give more fire to cricket and will be a big step forward, and people will definitely enjoy it,” said Iqbal.

The tournament will be as swift as the format, lasting just four days from December 21-24, with former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan also featuring.

Afridi, who retired from international cricket last year, said he was thrilled at the idea. “When I was told of the idea, I was thrilled and requested that I want to play,” said Afridi, famous as Boom Boom for his big hitting.

England’s current one-day and Twenty20 captain Morgan was confident that T10 cricket will have an impact.

“The whole concept is exciting,” said Morgan. “We all remember when the first time Twenty20 cricket was played and since then, it has impacted the other formats.

“If this new idea takes off, then I am sure it will also impact the other forms of the game.”

The four teams will be selected through drafts later this month.

Misbah said the new formats will be easy for ageing players as well. “It’s an exciting idea and a good thing for players like me,” said 43-year-old Misbah, who retired in May this year.

“It will need just 10 overs of batting and then fielding, and at this age, I can afford that.”