Anis Sajan, Managing Director, Danube Image Credit: Supplied

UAE is known for its numerous cricket fans, and some of them are unique. Restrictions on watching the IPL matches from the stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped them from living their passion. Some wear their favourite team’s jersey or cap while watching the match on television while some have painted their rooms with the IPL teams’ colours and share their thrills with friends during the match through video chats. There are others who visit lounges and cafes with friends to watch the live telecast.

Leading the pack is cricket enthusiast and businessman Anis Sajan, the Managing Director of Danube. He has come up with innovative ways to live his passion and also shares his excitement not only with his friends but thousands of cricket lovers too. Speaking to Gulf News, he revealed that he has more than made up for not being able to watch the IPL live from the stadium.”Every day I pick the colour of my jacket based on the team I support in that day’s contest.”

Sajan is probably one of the busiest IPL fans. “I give my pre and post-match comments on Radio4 FM, Oman Radio, appear on NDTV sometimes reviewing or previewing the match, and also post my views and videos from all teams on my facebook page that is called ‘Mr. Cricket UAE’. We invite fans to contests and give away prizes, and I also write my column on some days for a daily in the UAE. “The fact that IPL is being held in the UAE is one of the greatest news for any fan like me and for all those who love cricket in this part of the world. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we are not able to go to the stadium. But nothing can stop a fan from being part of the event in many other ways. Every day I post IPL material on my facebook page, which is followed by nearly 80,000 people and is active throughout the day.

Sajan now wonders how much more he could have done had he been going to the stadium.. “While there may be many who speak because they get paid to do that, I do it for the passion for the game. It was after seeing my interview with Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan that Oman Radio approached me and I readily obliged.”

To keep the excitement going, Sajan has introduced some contests for the fans. “I wanted fans to get the most out of my page. We picked one winner through a draw and gifted T-shirts and masks. Since the IPL is an unpredictable format, I am trying to make it as predictable as possible for the fans and myself.”

Though Sajan interacts with the IPL players once in a while, he respects their privacy too. “I do like to share what a few have expressed on being in the bubble. According to them, being in the bubble has helped create great bonding between them”. In all the previous IPL editions, after every match it would be a mad rush to reach the next venue. But in the UAE they have enough time to get to know each other better. And when a team bonds well together, their skills will be visible clearly on the ground.