EXCLUSIVE: Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali in talks with Saudi chiefs over playing in the world’s richest T20 tournament… with more England stars set to be approached
- Moeen Ali approached about playing in new Saudi T20 tournament
- Fast bowler Chris Woakes also held talks with Saudi representatives
- The move could present further issues for the ECB over player availability
Leading England cricket stars have held talks with Saudi chiefs about becoming ambassadors for the Kingdom’s new Twenty20 tournament in the Middle East.
Mail Sport can reveal that discussions took place between Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali and Saudi representatives earlier this year about the prospect of playing in the competition, which is expected to be launched next year, along with an ambassadorial remit. It will be the world’s richest T20 tournament.
In addition to Woakes and Ali, more England stars are set to be approached, presenting further issues for the ECB over player availability.
Jason Roy was the first England player to walk away from an ECB central contract to sign a lucrative deal to play Major League Cricket in the US and other players could follow, given the riches on offer in franchise leagues around the world.
Saudi oil giant Aramco is sponsoring next month’s World Cup in India.
England star Moeen Ali has been approached about playing in the new Saudi T20 tournament
Chris Woakes (above) and Moeen Ali held talks with Saudi representatives earlier this year
Indian players are banned from playing in overseas competitions but Saudi government officials and Indian Premier League team owners held talks earlier this year about the new T20 tournament, to discuss the possibility of them participating.
Last month, chairman of the Saudi Cricket Board, Prince Saud bin Mishal al-Saud, said the nation are planning multiple cricket leagues.
‘There will be leagues on all levels, not just one league. We’ve developed great relationships with the ICC and the Asian Cricket Council, as well as some successful international cricket boards and big cricketers globally.
‘And then we hired experts to help us develop a model of a league. Of course, a lot of infrastructure and development are required, but we’ll announce when it’s time.’
Representatives for Woakes and Ali were approached for comment.
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