Suniel Shetty
Bollywood A-lister Suniel Shetty will be participating in the UAE Friendship Cup next month. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan

Dubai: Former Indian Cricket Captain Mohammad Azharuddin, Bollywood star Suniel Shetty, former Pakistani cricket sensation Imran Nazir and Sri Lankan star cricketer Ajantha Mendis will lead four star-studded teams that will fight for the first UAE Friendship Cup that will take place at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium from March 5-7, 2022.

Four teams – Bollywood Kings, India Legends, Pakistan Legends and World Legends – will bring the leading cricket stars of the yesteryears on field to evoke the memories of the cricket’s golden era and blended with the Bollywood glamour – it will bring cricket lovers from all over the world in one place to celebrate friendship, love and respect.

Organised by Arba Sports Services, the UAE Friendship Cup is supported by Dubai Police. The tournament will be telecast live on Sony6 Television channel.

Sanctioned by Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), the three-day tournament will be a fun-filled affair where businesses, cricket and Bollywood glamour mix to create a region-wide excitement among the cricket lovers and Bollywood movie lovers through a competitive tournament where four teams will play to win the UAE Friendship Cup.

Celebration of cricket

The cricket tournament offers a golden opportunity to some talented and terrific cricket players to expose their abilities to the world. UAE Friendship Cup is intended to conduct with an aim to enrich many young cricket players, support cricket players, and provide seamless entertainment to cricket fans. The four teams playing in this tournament are former Test cricketers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“This is a celebration of cricket, Bollywood, entertainment and above all, friendship. We are pleased to bring the best cricketing legends of the world including those from India and Pakistan in one place – in the UAE and specifically at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium where most of these legends played some great innings,” Aslam Gurukkal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arba Sports Services, organiser of the UAE Friendship Cup, said.

“Ever since we launched the idea of the UAE Friendship Cup, we were overwhelmed with public interest as well as interest from stakeholders such as Dubai Police, and I am confident this tournament will eventually become an annual celebration of cricket and friendship. Cricket lovers from all over the world will join us to celebrate friendship and we look forward to a great show.”

Among the four teams, Bollywood Kings will be led by actor Suniel Shetty and will feature Sohail Khan, Aftab Shivdasani, Saqib Saleem, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Jay Bhanushali and Salil Ankola.

India Legends will be led by Mohammad Azharuddin which will feature Ajay Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Mohammad Kaif and Venkatesh Prasad among others.

Seven matches

Pakistan Legends will be led by Imran Nazir. The team comprises some of the most bankable Pakistani cricketers such as Salman Butt, Mohammad Yousuf, Mohammad Irfan and Yasir Hameed.

World Legends team is led by Ajantha Mendis from Sri Lanka. It includes Brendan Taylor and Elton Chigumbura from Zimbabwe, Abdul Razzak from Bangladesh and Samiullah Shinwari from Afghanistan.

These teams will play seven matches in three days. The UAE Friendship Cup concludes with the final match on March 7, 2022.

“We expect packed crowd at the stadium which will dress up for this colourful event where everyone will have fun. In such an event, there won’t be any losers, everyone will be winner. Our biggest achievement will be to bring people from all the cultures in one place and celebrate friendship,” Gurukkal, who envisioned the concept, says.