Dubai: The green grass turf in immaculate condition and several legends and present day cricketers were well warmed up for a game under the Dubai sun. But with a difference. A game of golf at The Els Club Dubai on Tuesday. The DP World ILT20 Power 9 Golf Day gave the players, commentators a day to relax and have some fun, along with representatives of the DP World, and a taste of one of the finest golfing destinations in the Middle East.
A nice break for all to get away from the competitive cricket field to the golf course, where they spent some time perfecting their golf game. It is something, which at first glance, should come naturally to these players, who already have the hand-eye coordination, among many similarities between the two sports.
Plenty of similarities
“I am very excited. It’s an awesome course. Not played a golf much, but my dad played golf quite a lot when he was younger. So since I was young, I have seen either a golf club or cricket bat, some form of sport. I have played a lot at other places and only a couple rounds in Dubai so far,” said Chris Benjamin of Sharjah Warriors.
Talking about the similarities between the two sports, the 23-year-old feels the club swing and the bat swing are getting closer in Twenty20 formats.
“Absolutely, there are lots of similarities, especially with T20 cricket now. Test match probably not so much as it is more traditional. Lot more players try to make their cricket swing similar to the golf swing and try to hit out of the park. They are getting closer and closer every year,” he added “Sharjah Warriors got knocked out in the first round. I had played in Abu Dhabi and It is the first time I played in Dubai and Sharjah, a great experience.”
It was the day after the end of the league phase of the DP World ILT20 where top four teams, Gulf Giants, Desert Vipers, MI Emirates and Dubai Capitals, have advanced to the next stage.
Gulf Giants skipper James Vince prepared for the crucial Qualifier 1 against Desert Vipers with a game of golf, something he really enjoyed.
“I’ve got a few rounds in here. Lots of golf courses over in UAE.
“I feel nice to come to a golf event, something away from cricket as well. It feels fantastic,” said the Giants skipper, who plays off a handicap of 9 and feels there is room for improvement in his golf.
“Nice to change from the cricket gear to be on the golf course. A mental break from cricket, though we still enjoy being competitive. But less pressure than the cricket ground. It’s great be outdoors,” he added. “I try to separate cricket and golf techniques as much as possible.”
When it came to the results of the DP World ILT20 Power 9 Golf Day there were some very impressive scores over the nine hole Texas scramble tournament.
Mohamed Abu Hamra, COO Dubai Trade, DP World, was in attendance to announce the results and hand out the prizes.
In third place, with a score of -9 was the team captained by Vickram Manchanda, James Vince, Colin de Grandhomme and David Wiese. In second spot was the four-man team captained by Vivian Verma, Dheeraj Baruah, Mohan De Silva and Debjit Snegupta with -9.7.
While taking the spoils over the Els Club in first place was the team consisting of Rohit Gupta, Nikhil Chopra, Ishan Chopra and Chris Benjamin with a score of -10.
Plenty of other challenges and prizes were on offer:
Hole 1: Ladies Longest Drive — Alexandra Jordan
Hole 2: Nearest the Pin — Colin De Grandhomme
Hole 4: Nearest the Pin — Kipyo Hong
Hole 7: Longest Drive (Fore or Six) — Simon Doull
Hole 9: Men’s Longest Drive — Otis Gibson
Knock me the putt out — Vivek Bhatia and Dheeraj Sharma
Chipping Challenge — Mark Watt