Dubai: Greg Donnelly, World Indoor Cricket Federation (WICF) President is hoping to get International Cricket Council (ICC) recognition for the sport.
Speaking to Gulf News before the start of the 10th edition of the WICF Indoor World Cup at Insportz in UAE, where the headquarters of the ICC is also located, Donnelly said: “To make indoor cricket more popular, what we would really like to see and we are hoping that we can get recognition from the ICC. We firmly believe that anything cricket, does not matter what form of cricket be it T20, Test cricket, indoor cricket or beach cricket should be controlled by the ICC and once that happens we think we can get an injection of funds and the recognition and that will help us to develop the sports worldwide.”
Donnelly, is hoping that there could be some discussions with the ICC in the coming days. “Sarah Harris from Cricket Australia has invited some members of the ICC to come down. Emirates Cricket Board has made similar invitation and we are hoping to converse with them over the course of the week.”
Donnelly feels that indoor cricket has huge potential to get popular in the UAE. “It is a wonderful sport for this region as it is active, fast, exciting and top of all of that there are nationals from other countries that work in the UAE that look to play indoor cricket.”
Indoor cricket tournaments have been on the rise in the UAE in the last few years as many prefer to play indoor cricket during the hot summer weather here. “We want on to reach out to more Middle East countries, Asia, Indonesia and Vietnam. We think there is a wonderful opportunity to grow the sport,” added Donnelly.
“Indoor cricket is growing around the world. The more recognition we get the quicker it grows. It is little slower in some countries than others. In Australia it is massive with 186,000 players and they are leading the way. Emerging countries like the UAE can come on board and help grow the sport.”
When asked whether indoor cricket is spreading faster in countries where the weather is harsh, Donnelly said: “It is getting more popular in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and England like where the weather is different. We came to the UAE with flying expectations and here we are playing in Insportz in air-conditioned. There are no air-condition in other countries.”
Does indoor cricket need super stars like in outdoor cricket? “New Zealand have (Test player) Jesse Ryder and he is a big name in outdoors too. In Australia, (former Australian skipper) Michael Clarke grew up playing indoor cricket. There are a lot of top cricketers around the world that have played indoor cricket.”
So is indoor cricket a stepping stone to outdoor cricket?: In indoor cricket, the youngsters get to bat more and bowl more so they can develop their skills a lot quicker. By the time they get to outdoor they already got a particular level of skill which will help them do well at outdoor.”
To a query whether indoor cricket focuses on promoting the game at the grassroot, Donnelly said: “In Australia, since Cricket Australia has taken us on board. We are now merged fully with Cricket Australia as so with their assistance nobody now frowns upon indoor cricket.”.