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The Sri Lanka Indoor squad who will be playing against Emirates Indoor UAE at U-Pro in a bilateral series from March 4-7. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: U-Pro, formerly United Pro Sports, will host the first Indoor Cricket bilateral series between Emirates Indoor UAE and Sri Lanka Indoor Cricket.

Sanctioned by the World Indoor Cricket Federation (WICF), the two national teams will contest in a five-match series from March 4-7 at U-Pro in Al Quoz.

Manish Kishore, Managing Director of U-Pro said: “We are proud to host the Sri Lankan Indoor National Team for what will be the first bilateral series between the two nations. Moreover, this is also the return of international indoor cricket since the pandemic and the indoor cricket community around the world have been eagerly anticipating for the start of this series.”

The organisers have also announced that the winners of the series will be awarded “The Anis Sajan Trophy” in recognition of Sajan’s contribution to indoor cricket in UAE as well as Sri Lanka.

Further elaborating, Manish said: “Mr Cricket Anis Sajan is the true representation of indoor cricket in the UAE. He played an active role in promoting the game between 1997 to 2018 and championed the media attention towards the sport. His Danube team remained undisputed winners for two decades and during this time he gave jobs to several UAE and Sri Lankan indoor cricketers. So to honour his contributions by naming the trophy after him is the least we could do. I would also like to thank Hiran de Mel for whole heartedly supporting the initiative.”

Momentous series

Hiran de Mel, Technical Director of Sri Lanka Indoor Cricket, commented: “We are extremely pleased to arrive here in the UAE and I take this opportunity to thank WICF and U-Pro for making this tour possible. Everyone world over is excited that International Indoor Cricket is back, and I am sure this momentous series will gain lots of attention.”

Mr Cricket Anis Sajan said: “Indoor cricket will always have a special place in my heart. I enjoy playing and watching this version of cricket, and I am certain that those who will watch these games for the first time will be equally enthralled and impressed by it.”

The team to represent Emirates Indoor UAE was picked through a selection tournament hosted at U-Pro in January. Aqib Malik will lead the side and Hariharan Gurumurthy will deputise. U-Pro has appointed Matt Henderson, a five-time Indoor World Cup player from New Zealand, to coach the Emirates Indoor UAE side.

Additional match

Matches will be at 9pm on each of the days, with an additional match at 5pm on Sunday. Limited seating arrangements are also being made while those watching from around the world can watch the games live on the U-Pro Facebook and YouTube pages, courtesy Nikon Middle East.

The sponsors include, Rasasi Perfumes, Khind Middle East, Nikon, Mai Dubai, IPU Sports, Thambapanni, Direct Trading Technologies, Chrysels, Sri Lankan Business Council & Team Evention.

Emirates Indoor UAE Squad: Aqib Malik (captain), Hariharan Gurumurthy (vice-captain), Dilisara Sasanka, Hatim Patwa, Isusu Umesh, Jay Joshi, Krishna Karate, Nashwan Nasir, Prashath Kumara, Rishi Ramchandani, Rohan Nayak, Saad Aslam. Matt Henderson (coach).

Sri Lanka Indoor squad: Kolitha Hapuarachchi (captain), Rumesh Perera (vice-captain), Malshan Rodrigo, Nilantha Wijekoon, Heshal Silva, Shewon Fonseka, Sheehan Wijetunge, Ranusha Perera, Kanishke Jayasumane, Andrew Parys, Nalaka De Silva, Chalitha Subasinghe, Chrishantha Peries. Asela Pathirana (coach).