Once T-20 cricket made its appearance and became immensely popular it was only a matter of time before T-10 made an appearance. And now that it has in the UAE where the second edition of the T-10 league is currently on there is little doubt that the format is already popular going by the crowds that have thronged the stadium in Sharjah.

By contrast a well fought Test series between New Zealand and Pakistan in nearby Dubai and Abu Dhabi has seen empty stands. The question now is where to draw the line on abbreviated forms of the sport. Should five over matches be the next logical step?

Whether cricket comes to that one can never tell with any certainty but the fact remains that that success of the T-10 league has prompted those responsible for conducting the UAE event to look ahead for an international expansion and that was always going to be the next inevitable step. Reports have it that the league’s chairman Shaji Ul Mulk is already in discussions with a few international boards to take the tournament abroad in 2019.

The ICC-sanctioned event currently operates with the approval of the Emirates Cricket Board and Ul Mulk is clear in his stand that the game’s newest and shortest format will only exist in commercially viable markets, where it is held with the collaboration of the respective national boards.

According to him boards have already approached him and it is about how the tournaments will be fitted in commercially. But he is confident that there will be at least one more T-10 competition in 2019.

Ul Mulk has spoken favourably of the USA, England and South Africa as potential markets. The USA, in particular can certainly benefit from the infiltration of the league, which can help in the growth of the sport in the country. But one cannot rule out Australia as another potential market given the popularity of the short formats in that country. It must not be forgotten that Australia played a pioneering role in popularizing both ODIs and T-20 cricket.

The introduction of T-10 does raise questions of cricket’s desire for easily digestible versions for the masses. Where will this dilution end? At what point do we say enough is enough? This question was asked when T-20 made its appearance and it is no surprise that it is being raised again regarding T-10. That of course should not mean that T-20 will not spread globally or became as popular as T-20. Indeed once it gains global momentum perhaps we will see the inaugural edition of the T-10 World Cup.

Yes, there will be question marks over the validity of such shrunken cricket but I don’t think it will fail to win legitimacy and acceptance by the masses who increasingly are looking for ''cricketainment’’ – the phrase coined by the IPL and being used in the UAE. And if T-10 is played between countries then the competition will gain further acceptance.

The format may have its detractors but so did ODIs and T-20 when they were first played. The first was dismissed as ''pyjama cricket’’ and the second was ''slam bang cricket’’. Over time they have come to be accepted even as competitions which involve skill and matters of strategy and tactics. If in T-20 the margin for error is very small one can imagine what it will be in T-10.

Just ask Nepal legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane. He says T-10 is proving to be a new challenge demanding greater skill in implementing every one of the variations that has seen the youngster become one of the hottest emerging players on the T-20 circuit. "You have to make every plan very quickly in T10 and you have to be more aware than T20," he says. "It is really hard to combine all the things from planning to then implement them. The more I can use my variations, the more it will work for me."

The players themselves are hugely enjoying the challenges and popularity of T-10 cricket. Playing with freedom has brought the best out of batsmen in particular and the fun they are having on the pitch has certainly infiltrated the supporters in the stands.

As another cricketer Richard Gleeson put it "It was a great experience to get out there in front of the crowd and experience it first hand. It was everything I thought it would be, it's quick, it's fast, it's a bit chaotic but it's good fun."

England allrounder Liam Dawson is another who has had to adapt, explaining how alterations in pace are aiding his T-10 game. ''Each ball of the maximum two overs a bowler can send down is treated essentially as a death over,’’ as he puts it.

The extended format and structure of the second edition of the T10 League provides added substance. Yes, it is watered down cricket but two league stages, comprehensive eliminators and a showpiece final mean that every match counts.

The competitiveness is fierce and initial indications are that T-10 is here to stay and even stretch its wings.