Dubai: Dubai, which has been reeling from a shortage of cricket grounds, has got a new top-class turf wicket.
The turf wicket, with a lush green outfield, has been created at the Higher College of Technology Dubai Men’s College Campus out of an initiative by former cricketer Roop K Razdan.
The FairGrounds Oval, as it will be known, was inaugurated by David Richardson, the International Cricket Council Chief Executive, yesterday (September 7) along with Dav Whatmore, the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team. Also present was Dr Howard Reed, the Senior Director of Higher Colleges of Technology and Director of Dubai Men’s College. The inauguration was followed by a match between G Force Cricket Academy and Max Talent Cricket Academy.
“It’s a privilege to open a new cricket ground. A great deal of gratitude to all those who worked tirelessly and selflessly to create such an impressive facility. I am sure in the coming years many budding cricketers will develop their skills on this ground,” said Richardson.
Razdan said he had created the ground for the common man. “We have kept the price for using this facility very low so that everyone can afford to come and play,” said Razdan.
“This is not just a ground for big corporate companies and academies, but one for everyone who want to enjoy playing the game in an excellent facility.”
His wife Sheila was instrumental in giving the name FairGrounds to the venue.
“Cricket is a game where fair play and sportsmanship have to be to the fore and we wanted everyone to remember that while playing in this ground. In fact, our ground slogan is ‘Play Hard, Play Fair,’” said Sheila.
Meanwhile, Reed welcomed the addition of cricket to the college campus.
“We welcome cricket to Men’s College. This is the most-talked-about sport and we are happy to be part of it,” he said after conducting the toss for the match.
The ground will also have two turf and three cement practice pitches.
Already the ground has been booked by many teams.
“In December teams from United Kingdom will be playing here and it will be followed by the Prestige Maxtalent inter-schools and inter-university tournaments,” said Razdan.
“We are making all arrangements for day-night cricket, with floodlights being installed soon.
“An electronic scoreboard is on its way from Hong Kong and we have created a small pavilion with two dressing rooms with shower facilities,” he added.
“There will be also an umpire’s room, a dining area and seating for VIPs.”
The idea for such a ground came up following Razdan’s interaction with Essam Barakat, the sports co-ordinator of the Dubai Men’s College.
“Once I measured and found that the ground has 65 yards, we set about creating the wicket. Dubai Cricket Council’s Farukkh Seddiqui helped to prepare this wicket according to international standards,” he added.
Mohammad Lokhandwala, the secretary of the Dubai Cricket Council (DCC), said: “We at Dubai Cricket Council are delighted to tie-up with the management of FairGrounds to conduct our local cricket as there is a shortage of grounds in Dubai. Since they have affordable rates, it will be a big boost for local teams and players.”