Dubai: The now-homeless Dubai Cricket Council (DCC) used to stage some of the most competitive tournaments in UAE domestic cricket, with nearly 70 per cent of the cricketers that represent the national team are products of these events.
The Al Rawabi inter-school competition, contested by 40 UAE schools every year, stood out as the best among all junior tournaments, with scholarships being offered to the top performers.
Farrukh Siddiqui, convenor of the DCC’s grounds and umpires committee and the former face of the organisation as he used to be present every day at the Al Jaddaf grounds, told Gulf News: “Cricketers unable to play in Dubai now to travel to far off places like Umm Al Quwain and Ajman to play in tournaments. We used to charge just Dh3,000 for the use of our grounds for a full tournament, but today one has to play Dh15,000, which is unaffordable.
“I feel now is the right time to approach the sports authorities to grant space for a ground. We have qualified for three World Cups and cricket has brought glory for the UAE, so hopefully our request will be considered.”
The DCC used to have 1,700 registered cricketers and 180 clubs playing under its umbrella. Eight top teams regularly played in its A division events and, on average, 82 clubs played in B division tournaments.
“More than 2,000 cricketers used to use the facilities,” Siddiqui said. “All the grounds used to be fully booked. A minimum of 25 tournaments and 900 matches used to be played through the season.”
The DCC had no shortage of sponsorship support from companies, with Emirates airline, Consolidated Shipping Services and Mobil regularly getting involved. All the leading companies in the UAE also played in DCC events, with inter-corporate tournaments contested by 32 teams.