Abu Dhabi: You can see why Abu Dhabi is already one of the world’s top sporting destinations. From superstars of tennis, golf and Formula One to top administrators who are leaving their high-profile jobs in their home countries to take up coveted positions in sports bodies in the emirate, Abu Dhabi has successfully managed to attract the best in business.
Among the latest is David East who after an illustrious 30-year stint with Essex cricket both as a player and senior official, took over as the chief executive at Emirates Cricket Board and the Abu Dhabi Cricket Club at the start of this year.
East spoke to XPRESS as Zayed Cricket Stadium prepares to host the MCC vs Warwickshire Test match from 2.30pm, Sunday, March 24, using a day/night format and the pink ball and talked about the best way to drive interest in the sport in the run up to the showpiece event in the UAE capital. And while the 53-year-old is certain the club, which is based at the impressive Zayed Cricket Stadium, has a bright future, he believes that to fulfill its full potential it must be welcoming to as many fans as possible who live not only in Abu Dhabi but across the country.
At the centre of the plan to attract supporters is the decision to make entry free with Dh250 tickets also available which provide a view from the corporate boxes and a food and soft drink package included.
“Abu Dhabi Cricket Club has hosted some really important contests in the last few years and it is something to be very proud of,” East said.
“But there is more work to do here and we want as many people as possible to know we are here and what we have to offer.
“That is why free entry will be on offer for the MCC game and we hope to create as great an atmosphere as possible. It is the traditional way to signal the start of the English cricket season and with the day/night format and the pink ball, Abu Dhabi Cricket Club is all set for a great four days of cricket.
“We are exploring a number of options post-summer to bring in plenty more cricket and I hope this will help build the buzz around the sport in the emirate.”
The MCC team is captained by South African star Dale Benkenstein and features a mix of young talent and experienced professionals. They will take on Warwickshire – the county champions of England.