Dubai: A delegation of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Rajasthan Royals led by its chairman Ranjit Barthakur, visited the Dubai Sports Council to discuss mutual cooperation and ways of promoting and developing cricket in the UAE.
Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council (DSC), received Barthakur in the presence of Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant General Secretary and other officials of the council. Rajeev Khanna, Vice President, Operations at Rajasthan Royals, was also present at the meeting.
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During the meeting, Barthakur — whose team cruised to the title in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, under the inspirational leadership of Australian spin wizard Shane Warne — thanked the UAE and Dubai Governments for hosting the 2020 IPL in the country, as well as DSC for their support in organising the mega event.
Warne is now the brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals as well as one of the co-owners, while his Australian compatriot Steve Smith, one of the best batsmen of this generation, will captain the Royals here in the UAE.
The Royals’ roster also boasts top international stars such as England’s Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Tom Curran, South African David Miller and Jamaica’s Oshane Thomas alongside young Indian talents led by Kerala’s Sanju Samson.
Barthakur also said that Rajasthan Royals are keen to work with the DSC to promote cricket in the UAE, especially among the Emiratis and women and has offered to sponsor UAE’s six top junior women’s cricketers and take them to India for specialised training.
“At the outset, I would like to thank the UAE and Dubai governments, for being such wonderful and gracious hosts. The UAE’s great leadership, and their vision and ambition is an inspiration for us. We thank them for hosting the Indian Premier League, which is one of the most important sports events in India and in the world of cricket, and a source of pride for India as a country,” Barthakur said.
“I also want to thank Dubai Sports Council for all their support, and Saeed Hareb for inviting me to the council. We are really keen to work with the council, especially on the women’s cricket side. The nurturing of women’s cricket is critical and there can be nobody better than Dubai Sports Council to encourage women’s cricket. We want Dubai to be the centre of excellence for children’s’ cricket and women’s cricket, and we have offered — from the Royal Academy at the Rajasthan Royals — to sponsor, every year, six female players below the age of 18 to train in India.
“The UAE is such a diverse country with so many nationalities living here. They do provide everybody with equal opportunities. So if we can promote Emirati cricketers, it will go a long way in promoting cricket here. I think they have a fantastic establishment.”
The brand value of the 2019 IPL was estimated to be $6.7 billion (Dhs24.59 billion), according to New York-based financial consultancy firm Duff & Phelps, and it has viewership in excess of 462 million.