Kolkata: Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Chairman of both the Emirates Cricket Board and Abu Dhabi Cricket Club, said there was a similarity between cricket and the ethos of his country - as both serves as a ‘melting pot’ of the richness and diversity of world cultures.
Speaking on the landmark occasion of Abu Dhabi Cricket celebrating hosting of a record number of ICC-approved matches (81) during the 2020-21 season - which was ravaged everywhere by the Covid-19 pandemic, Nahayan said: “The sport (cricket), like our nation, epitomizes the melting pot of the richness and diversity of our world’s cultures. I am gratified that we have acted in harmony and unity with our global friends and colleagues to proffer a pillar of support to international cricket this season.
“I would like to thank all government entities and parties involved for their tireless efforts and diligence in applying the highest global safety standards to ensure that all matches, tournaments and training sessions took place in a safe and bio-secure environment,” he said in a statement.
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Over the 11-month season, ADC hosted 81 ICC-approved matches while the UAE hosted a total of 123 matches – a combined tally unsurpassed by any other nation. The events were the Dream 11 Indian Premier League 2020, Alubond Abu Dhabi T10, HBL Pakistan Super League 6 and international teams Afghanistan, Ireland, UAE, and Zimbabwe across Test, One Day Internationals, T20s and T10 formats.
The crowning glory, however, will come later this year when they will play hosts to the T20 World Cup between October 17 and November 14 - along with Dubai and Sharjah - on the back of hosting IPL 2021 matches.
“The hosting of such a large amount of cricket in the context of the pandemic is testament to the UAE’s leadership in the hosting and organising of high calibre, global tournaments. Abu Dhabi Cricket has further bolstered the UAE capital’s flourishing reputation as an unmissable cricketing destination this season,” Nahayan said.
Historical year: Aref Al Awani
Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Abu Dhabi Cricket’s historic, record-setting year demonstrates how fully cricket is now integrated into Abu Dhabi’s thriving sports calendar; from the fast-paced Abu Dhabi T10 to the exciting drama of international Test matches, cricket now takes centre stage with a burgeoning audience.”
Matt Boucher, CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket, added: “It is with immense gratitude that I thank the team at Abu Dhabi Cricket and the government stakeholders including Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Police, Department of Culture & Tourism – Abu Dhabi, Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and the National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority for spearheading our strategic and collaborative response to the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presented, which resulted in such great success.”