Dubai: The excitement among the huge cricket-loving expatriate community here ever since the UAE was announced as a IPL venue is likely to ensure full houses at all the venues, according to both the Indian cricket board bosses and local organisers.
Speaking at the launch press conference of the UAE leg of IPL VII at The Oberoi Dubai on Wednesday, Ranjib Biswal, chairman of IPL governing council said that they have kept the pricing of the tickets “very reasonable” with an eye to ensure capacity crowds at all three venues at Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. Online sales for tickets will commence on Thursday on IPLt20.com and www.ticketmaster.ae.
“I want to thank the UAE government, the Emirates Cricket Board, the administrations of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi as well as the three sports councils, for their support and commitment to host the IPL. The first 20 matches to be played in the UAE will feature top cricketers from all over the world. I am sure that the opportunity to witness their heroes in action will prompt the UAE fans to flock to the stadiums,” he said.
Reigning champions Mumbai Indians will take on Kolkata Knight Riders, the 2012 winners, in Abu Dhabi in the first of the 20 matches to be held here from April 16-30. While Abu Dhabi and Dubai will host seven matches each, including two double-headers, Sharjah will host of six including a double-header. Each of the eight teams will play their first five matches here.
Asked if the April heat can be a point of concern for both the players and fans alike, Sunil Gavaskar, the legendary Indian batsman and now interim president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) showed his team has done their homework. “The temperature in the UAE is quite manageable till the end of April and the forecast for the second half of this time is around 30-32 Celsius. Around that time, some parts of India where the IPL is played is even hotter,” he said.
Recalling his association with the UAE, where he had been a regular visitor as a player in the mid ‘80s, Gavaskar said: “I have spent a lot of time over the years in this wonderful country and it is great to see the excitement and buzz being generated prior to a tournament of this magnitude.”
The teams will start arriving from the second week of this month and will be training at the ICC’s state-of-the art facilities at the global academy. “We are excited to see the best players in the world play on our shores and in front of the UAE fans. The Emirates Cricket Board will work tirelessly with the BCCI to deliver a memorable experience,” said David East, chief executive of the ECB.
“We are sure that the UAE leg of the Pepsi IPL 2014 will demonstrate the UAE’s ability to host major events and welcome visitors to our lands,” Dr Ahmad Al Sharif, secretary general of Dubai Sports Council.