Dubai: Veteran sports administrator Abdul Rahman Falaknaz feels proud that the UAE has become the first Arab country to hold a cricket World Cup.
Speaking to a select media persons after the conclusion of the successful T20 World Cup, held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah after hosts India moved the championship to the UAE due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Falaknaz, one of the partners of Dubai Sports City, which houses the Dubai International Stadium, said: “The most amazing thing is that an Arab country is holding a cricket World Cup. This is this was not understood at all by anybody, before nobody even thought that there would be facilities in an Arab world to hold cricket.”
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This year it’s been a double delight for the cricket fans as Dubai and the UAE hosted the season 14 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) before hosting the international showpiece.
The UAE also hosted the previous edition of the IPL and has been the home venue for several countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, hosting many Tests, ODIs and T20s.
“First of all as an Emirati I’m very proud because UAE as a whole and Dubai in particular host anything to the best level,” Falaknaz said. “Of course, the cricket T20 World Cup is also a sign of good organisation. I would say we are as lucky as the participating countries to have an alternative to India. We are happy to be able to host for our brothers in India and in Pakistan. It says a lot for Dubai and its organisation.”
The first time the IPL was held in 2014 when the Indian Parliamentary elections were held.
“There was no Covid at that time and 19 of those games were fully sold out,” Falaknaz added. “There were four prime matches and that took place in Dubai Sports City, which was the best because of the capacity and due to the state-of-the-art stadium.”
Falaknaz is ready to support the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the future, if required.
“They know our potential,” he said. “They have been happy with us after we looked after their needs in such a friendly and brotherly way. I spoke to Jay Shah and Sourav Ganguly. We can still help and do what we can for cricket, as much as our friends and our neighbours want us to do.”