Kolkata Knight Riders captain Dinesh Karthik trains in the UAE.
Kolkata Knight Riders' senior star Dinesh Karthik says the facilities at Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Stadium makes it a ''no-brainer'' for his team to choose Abu Dhabi as their base again. Image Credit: Twitter

Kolkata: The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, which is geared up to host eight matches of the UAE leg of IPL, got a huge thumbs up from a senior Kolkata Knight Riders star on Thursday.

Dinesh Karthik, a former KKR captain and Indian wicketkeeper-batsman, felt it’s a “no-brainer” for him and his side to base themselves at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. The Knights have been based out of Abu Dhabi for two seasons on the trot and they will be opening their campaign against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore there on Monday.

“The facilities are top notch and when you come here, you know that the Abu Dhabi Sports Council has set it up so well that you just can’t say that it’s not the best facilities that you’ve ever been part of,” said Karthik.


“It’s a no-brainer from our side to keep coming here because we get the best facilities, the wickets are good throughout and I hope [Abu Dhabi Cricket] go from strength to strength.”

‘DK,’ as he is popular as, is also delighted that he and his team will be playing in front of fans in Abu Dhabi as the IPL will be welcoming fans in this leg after one and-a-half seasons. “I’m very, very excited. There’s no doubt that every one of us is excited to be playing to a crowd. That is something we have really missed and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said in a press release.

Having previously hosted seven games in 2014 when the first half of the tournament was held in the UAE and 22 matches of last year’s competition that played out entirely across the emirates, Abu Dhabi is the backdrop for eight of this year’s remaining fixtures.

Following approval from The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) and Abu Dhabi Sports Council and with the support of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the stadiums will operate at a maximum of 2200 fans for the initial matches out the tournament with Zayed Cricket Stadium opening the doors of its iconic main south grandstand along with the north to cricket and entertainment fans alike in the capital.

“We’re excited to be hosting the VIVO Indian Premier League back in Abu Dhabi and absolutely thrilled to be able to safely welcome fans to the Zayed Cricket Stadium ahead of an action-packed start to the season that also includes the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and our third edition of the firecracker Abu Dhabi T10,” said Matt Boucher, CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket.

Fans looking to buy tickets for Abu Dhabi matches can do so at: https://abu-dhabi.platinumlist.net/event-tickets/82125/ipl-abu-dhabi while the full schedule of matches and timings can be found at https://www.iplt20.com/matches/schedule/men.