Sharjah: The Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE grabbed a place in history books by equalling Australia’s Sydney Cricket Ground in hosting the most number of international games. The DP World Asia Cup match between Pakistan and Hong Kong was Sharjah’s 280th international cricket contest. That is an incredible record for a country, which is only an Associate member of the International Cricket Council.
Cricket fever in the UAE sprouted in the northern emirate of Sharjah in the eighties with invitational games between India and Pakistan. These events were the brainchild of UAE businessman and cricket enthusiast Abdul Rahman Bukhatir. Double-wicket tournaments followed before the Cricket Benefit Fund Series matches were hosted regularly.
One-Day Internationals were soon played in the desert outpost, and Tests followed as the UAE stadiums became the neutral venue for Pakistan. Sharjah was also the home ground for the Afghan national team.
So far, Sharjah has hosted 244 One-Day Internationals, 9 Tests and 27 T20 Internationals. On Saturday, the Sharjah Cricket Stadium will beat SCG to become the venue that has hosted the most number of international games when Sri Lanka play Afghanistan in the first Super 4 game of the Asia Cup.