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UAE deserves the tag of hub of world cricket

Non-Test playing nation to host Asia Cup thrice and four nation’s T20 leagues soon

Gulf News

Two days ago, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) signed an agreement with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to host the Asia Cup next month in the UAE on their behalf.

In June, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and ECB had come to an agreement to stage Pakistan’s international matches, including their popular Pakistan Super League (PSL) during the coming days.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board is also gearing up to host their first ever T20 League in Sharjah in October.

The role the UAE plays in ensuring that cricket is held without any break is valuable and deserves to be lauded.

For many Test playing countries, UAE is the ideal venue to stage their events when they face any inconvenience, be it security reasons or elections.

In 2019, UAE may, for the second time, host BCCI’s Indian Premier League (IPL), hailed as the world’s most popular T20 event.

Despite being a non- Test playing nation, this country’s contribution in spreading the popularity of the game has been immense. The UAE has done yeomen service especially in popularising the limited over formats.

It would be worth recalling that when international cricket was to be staged for the first time in Sharjah in the early eighties, many had questioned as to how the game could be played in a desert.

Despite sceptics being proved wrong, there were again doubts when Test cricket was to be staged here, the issue was whether wickets here would last five days.

Today, except UAE, there is no non-Test playing nation in the world that has staged all three formats of the game.

The UAE deserves to be accepted as the hub of world cricket. When ECB stages their own Twenty20 league in December, UAE will become the only nation in the world to have staged the Twenty20 leagues of four nations.

Next month, the UAE will become the only non-Test playing nation to have staged the Asia Cup thrice. These unique achievements have been made possible mainly due to the cricket loving fraternity here. It is not the revenue gained from staging these events that has made the UAE always a welcome host. One must remember maintaining three international stadiums in a desert is by no means an easy task.

Every country that has played in the UAE acknowledges the facilities here as among the best in the world.

All venues are easy to reach by road for the teams.

Countries that have benefited from this nation hosting their events would do well to remember the UAE when the World Cup is allocated to them and stage at least a couple of matches here.

That will be an ideal gift to a nation made up of fans that has always welcomed cricket and cricketers with reverence.