Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Afghanistan and Bangladesh clash in the DP World Asia Cup game at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on August 20, 2022. The stadium set a new record of hosting the most number of international games, when Sri Lanka played Afghanistan on September 3, 2022. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Sharjah: Saturday’s Sri Lanka-Afghanistan game was the 281st international match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The fixture in the DP World Asia Cup 2022 helped the venue to break the Guinness World Record of hosting the most number of international cricket matches — a record held by the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.

The Sharjah stadium has been the venue for 9 Tests and 28 T20 One-Day Internationals. It also holds the Guinness record for the most One-Day Internationals played at a single venue — 244 matches so far. Two world records are an incredible feat for a stadium in a country which is an Associate member of the International Cricket Council.

Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mabarak Al Nahyan (right), the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Chairman of the Emirates Cricket Council, and Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, Sharjah-based businessman and UAE cricket pioneer, with the Guinness World Record certificate after the Sharjah Cricket Stadium hosted the most number of international cricket games with the Sri Lanka-Afghanistan match on September 3, 2022. Image Credit: Supplied

As Sharjah claimed the record, Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, the Sharjah-based businessman, cricket enthusiast and former chief of the Asian Cricket Council who brought cricket fever to the UAE, said it was a very satisfying feeling and thanked all those thousands who have enjoyed the games these past 40 years.

The first shoots of cricket in the UAE sprung in the northern emirate of Sharjah in the eighties with invitational games between India and Pakistan. These events were the brainchild of Abdul Rahman Bukhatir. Double-wicket tournaments followed before the Cricket Benefit Fund Series matches were hosted regularly.

The Sharjah Cricket Stadium, the home of cricket in the UAE. The venue hosted the first Asia Cup in 1984. Image Credit: Supplied

One-Day Internationals were soon played in the desert outpost, and Tests followed as the UAE stadiums became the neutral venue for Pakistan. Sharjah was also the home ground for the Afghan national team.

The historic T20 game also saw a record-breaking effort from Sri Lanka, who completed the highest T20 International run-chase at the Sharjah stadium and the highest chase against Afghanistan in T20Is.