Dubai: UAE is today a hub of international cricket — not only is it the home of the International Cricket Council (ICC), it is also a country which boasts some of the best facilities for the game with three state-of-the-art stadiums in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
For years the UAE had only the Sharjah Cricket Stadium for staging top class matches, but in May 2004 Abu Dhabi completed a stadium costing $22 million (Dh80 million). Four years later, Dubai Sports City built the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Soon these two new venues became as popular as Sharjah and in May 2006 top international teams began playing in Abu Dhabi, with India taking on arch-rivals Pakistan in a one-day match. The Zayed Stadium also went on to become a Test match venue in November 2010 by staging a Pakistan-South Africa match.
Dubai became an international match venue on April 22, 2009, when it staged a One Day International between Pakistan and Australia. This venue also became a Test venue in 2010 through another Pakistan-South Africa match.
The ICC’s headquarters are located at Dubai Sports City, not far from the stadium. Next to the ICC’s offices is the state-of-the-art ICC Global Cricket Academy, which has two oval grounds and practice pitches replicating various types of wickets from around the world. It also has an indoor stadium with modern training facilities and a world-class gymnasium.
Today many international teams fly into the country to stage coaching camps, with England the latest to practise here on their way to the ongoing series in India.