Dubai: The city-based Shyam Bhatia Cricket Museum may become a tourist destination soon.
Bhatia, a cricket enthusiast who has honoured outstanding performers in the UAE cricket for 19 years through his awards and built up an unique cricket museum at his villa premises, may soon be allotted a space by the Dubai government with support from Dubai Sports Council.
Speaking during the 19th Bhatia awards function, Saeed Hareb, secretary general of the Dubai Sports Council, said on Sunday: “Over 14 million tourists visit the UAE and majority are from the subcontinent countries. Their favourite sport is cricket and we feel that such a museum can attract many tourists and hence the government and the sports council will try and find space for this museum. We hope that with Shaikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance also being the Chairman of Emirates Cricket Board, such an initiative will happen.”
The awards were given away by legendary Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara in the presence of Dubai Cricket Council (DCC) officials, who organised the function.
Speaking to Gulf News, almost all the promising cricketers who bagged the awards for outstanding performance in junior category, revealed that they idolise Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
Mohammad Faraazuddin, the Under-19 winner from Ajman, said: “I always dream of playing like Kohli.”
Ansh Tandon, the best junior player from Sharjah, said: “I play with the aim of one day representing India and hopefully emulating Kohli.”
Osama Hussain, who won the best Under-19 player from Abu Dhabi and is from Pakistan, said: “I too idolise Kohli but my aim is to play for the UAE one day.”
It was special moment for Kavisha Kumari, the Women Cricketer of the Year, who hails from Sri Lanka. “To receive an award from my idol Sangakkara was special. I thank my father, who taught me cricket and my coaches Presley Polonowitta and Indika Batuwita for grooming me.” Kumari, who is Grade XI student of Arab Unity, had hit an unbeaten 57 against Malaysia in Thailand T20 event.
Abdul Rehman Falaknaz, the chairman of the DCC, was presented the Lifetime Achievement award by Hareb.
Varun Nayanar, who won a spot in the India Under-19 Indian team recently, was presented the DCC’s outstanding Performer of the Year award. “It’s a privilege to win this award which has been won by many top players here. Having won a place in the India Under-19 team, my focus is to play for Team India one day,” he said.
Ahsan Riaz, who won the Abu Dhabi’s senior player award, said: “I am happy that my 10 centuries this season for Environmental Agency and Abu Dhabi Gymkhana has been acknowledged. I hope to play for UAE one day.”