Dubai: Blue-collar workers are being treated to cricket matches as players and spectators this Ramadan in Dubai.
The matches, organised by Innovative Production Group, are being held every Thursday and Friday night in Dulsco Arena in Al Qouz.
Sixteen teams from as many workers’ accommodation complexes in Al Qouz and Muhaisnah are competing in the tournament, sponsored by HBL Corporate Pakistan.
Players have been provided “international standard” cricket kits bearing their company name, as well as food and refreshments, free of charge. Even spectators are gifted snacks such as samosas, fruit, juice and water.
On Thursdays, matches in the HBL Fast Transfer Cricket Tournament – Ramadan 2017 start on 8pm and end at midnight. On Fridays, they end at 3am. At least 300 people come to see each match, according to the organisers.
Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE, had visited the venue during a match in the inaugural weekend of the series last month. He played a few overs alongside the workers and socialised with them.
“This is a rare opportunity for us workers to enjoy nights filled with fun, sports, exercise, entertainment, food and socialising. We’re usually very busy during the year and there are hardly any such events held especially for us,” said Aamir Khan, 33, a Pakistani bus driver who is the captain of Al Nabooda team.
“We’re sharing the experience with loved ones on social media and everyone is eager to follow the latest developments, pictures and videos. I’m happy to announce our team has won two matches and has also qualified for the quarter finals,” added Khan, who has been working in the UAE for 11 years.
The event is “completely non-commercial” and also comes in line with the Year of Giving initiative of the UAE, said Jawad Ghulam Rasool, spokesperson of Innovative Production Group. He added that the event also provides an opportunity to raise awareness on the need to remit money through proper banking channels.
Every Man of the Match is awarded and at the end of the series, there will be recognition for the Man of the Series and Best Bowler, Batsman and Fielder as well. The tournament’s winning team and runner-up will also be awarded.