DUBAI: The ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England has queer the pitch for South Asian expats in the UAE planning to host festive parties during the long Eid break.
Many said they have been forced to postpone or cancel their Eid get-togethers after cricket-crazy guests declined invitations saying they would be busy watching matches at home.
We were hoping to host about six families on Monday. … we ticked off everything on the checklist. I should have paid attention to the date.
Hosts England clash with Pakistan on the first day (Monday) of Eid holidays while Afghanistan take on Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
On the third day (Wednesday), India locks horn with South Africa in the afternoon while Bangladesh meets New Zealand in the evening.
Most of these matches start from 1.30pm (UAE time) and run until 9.30pm, potentially hitting Eid get-togethers over lunch and dinner for a six.
Families preparing for the festive feasts said they’ve been caught unawares.
I have extended invites to many of my friends and relatives and they are all very excited.
“I sent out invites to my relatives for an Eid Open House at my place in Al Majaz, Sharjah, from 2pm on June 3,” said Pakistani expat Nikhat Alam. “As it turned out, most of them have responded saying they can’t make it because of the match between England and Pakistan,” she added. Another Pakistani housewife, Hiba Nasir, who lives in the University City area of Sharjah, said her Eid party plans have gone for a toss. “We were hoping to host about six families on Monday. From the menu to the number of guests, we ticked off everything on the checklist. I should have paid attention to the date,” she said.
PASSION RUNS HIGH
Cricket has over one billion fans globally, with the Indian subcontinent alone constituting over 90 per cent of them, according to a research by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Understandably so, passion for the sport runs high in the UAE which is home to roughly two million Indians, 1.2 million Pakistanis and 500,000 Bangladeshis.
Why take the trouble when I know none of my friends or relatives would be able to make it.
Avid cricket enthusiast Imad Malik from India, who heads a leading financial institution in Dubai, said he’s looking to make the most of the sporting extravaganza during the Eid break. “The festival of cricket has started around the same time as the festival of Eid. I am not stepping out of my house during the matches,” he said.
Indian school teacher Sumna Rizvi, who was planning an Eid party at her Al Ghusais apartment on June 5, said she has shelved the idea as her home country plays against South Africa that day. “Why take the trouble when I know none of my friends or relatives would be able to make it.” she reasoned.
For the same reason, another Indian, Juhi Yasmeen Khan is contemplating calling off the Eid function at her Dubai South apartment.
A similar dilemma faces Bangladeshi businessman Amin Chaudhury and Sri Lankan sales executive A. Ashraff when their favourite teams play their group stage matches.
However, there are no such concerns for people like Qadeer Siddiqui. The Pakistani businessman is hosting an Eid function at his Sharjah apartment on June 3 where guests can have the best of both worlds — savour home-cooked mouthwatering delights as they watch the match on a large screen TV. .
The festival of cricket has started around the same time as the festival of Eid. I am not stepping out of my house during the matches.
“I have extended invites to many my friends and relatives and they are all very excited,” said Qadeer.
Imad Malik said he’s hoping to book a restaurant to watch Cricket World Cup but said he’d rather do it on June 16 when arch-rivals India and Pakistan face each other in one of the most highly anticipated encounters of the tournament.