Rob Cross one of four debutants in line-up for 2018 Premier League Darts
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 03/01/18 8:40pm
Newly crowned world champion Rob Cross will feature as one of four debutants in the 10-man line-up for this year's Premier League Darts.
Cross produced one of the greatest performances of all time to lift the World Championship title on debut with an incredible 7-2 victory over the departing Phil Taylor in the final, averaging 107.67 to triumph in stunning fashion.
World No 1 Michael van Gerwen begins the defence of his Premier League title on February 1, live on Sky Sports, in the biggest shake-up the tournament has ever seen, with only four of last year's participants returning.
Last year's finalist Peter Wright joins Van Gerwen from last year's field, alongside former Premier League winners Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld.
However, Cross headlines the list of debutants in this year's fresh-looking field. Daryl Gurney and Mensur Suljovic are both included after winning their maiden televised titles at the World Grand Prix and Champions League respectively.
Gerwyn Price is the fourth and final debutant having reached two televised finals at the UK Open and World Cup earlier this year.
Elsewhere, Michael Smith and Simon Whitlock will both return to Premier League action in 2018. Smith made his Premier League debut back in 2016, finishing in 10th position.
Whitlock, a finalist back in 2012, returns to the competition for the first time since being relegated in 2014, having reached the World Grand Prix final back in October.
PDC chairman Barry Hearn told Sky Sports: "We welcome back two players in Michael Smith and Simon Whitlock and we welcome four debutants- I think it's the biggest number of debutants we've had for a number of years now.
"Obviously Rob Cross, Mensur Suljovic, Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney are all their on merit, but it was such a tough decision to make, with so many top players.
"We have an abundance of talent but these 10 players are going to entertain over 125,000 people up and down the country live and exclusive on Sky and I for one can't wait to see it, as that's one hell of a line-up."
Premier League line-up 2018
Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld
The 2018 Premier League is the next major darting event on Sky Sports, running from February to May. Dublin's hugely popular 3Arena will open the 2018 season on Thursday, February 1 from 7pm on Sky Sports Action with the season concluding at the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London.
Keep up to date with the latest darts news, previews, reports, reaction and expert analysis. Get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts- don't forget to use #LoveTheDarts
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