Ganguly visits Sharjah facility in IPL run-up


UAE Sharjah Cricket Stadium Image: Sharjah Cricket Stadium

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President, Sourav Ganguly, visited the Sharjah Cricket Stadium (UAE) on Monday, praising the authorities concerned for lending a new look and feel to the legendary facility and declaring it Indian Premier League (IPL)-ready.

The cricket showpiece will start from September 19th, 2020, in UAE and will end on November 8th, 2020. It was earlier scheduled to be held in India but was shifted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the COVID-19 situation has spiraled out of control in India and is taking a heavy toll on lives.

The BCCI is the governing body for cricket in India. The former Indian cricket team captain Ganguly commented that the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) young guns are eagerly looking forward to playing on this hallowed cricket ground where cricketing legends like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar (both are Indian cricketers) scripted history.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a professional Twenty20 cricket league in India contested during March or April and May of every year by eight teams representing eight different cities in India. The league was founded by the BCCI in 2008.

The Sharjah Cricket Stadium is in Sharjah, UAE. It holds the record for the most number of One Day Internationals (ODIs) (read limited over cricket) hosted in a venue with 236 ODIs up to February 19th, 2018. It was originally constructed in the early 1980s and has been refurbished several times over the years.

The historic venue recently announced major redevelopment works including new canopies, an upgraded royal suite, commentary box and VIP hospitality boxes.

Ganguly was accompanied by IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel, former IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla, and Hemang Amin, Chief Operating Officer (COO), IPL.

Other officials who were present included BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal, BCCI Joint Secretary Jayesh George and Mubashir Usmani, General Secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB).

They were hosted by Waleed Bukhatir, Vice-Chairman of Sharjah Cricket Stadium, and Khalaf Bukhatir, Managing Director, Bukhatir Group and CEO, Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

The visitors reminisced and shared many great memories from events at Sharjah Stadium.

The stadium will be staging some classic IPL rivalries this season such as Royal Challengers Bangalore versus Kolkata Knight Riders on October 12th and Chennai Super Kings versus Mumbai Indians on October 23rd.

A full of beans Waleed Bukhatir, Vice-Chairman, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, stated that he was delighted to have got the chance to host the IPL again, having staged 14 matches in the 2014 edition of the world’s richest T20 league.

“Hosting one of the world-class sporting events like Indian Premier League (IPL) in our historic Sharjah Cricket Stadium is a great privilege for us and we cannot wait to be on board with the most exciting franchise teams in the world,” Bukhatir had remarked last month.

“For Sharjah Cricket Stadium we have always been ready for such events as we have state of the art facilities and we are all glad to welcome this exhilarating tournament to Sharjah,” he added.

Bukhatir informed that stringent health protocols would be put in place keeping in mind the coronavirus scenario for the sporting extraordinaire.

“As per the directives and guidance of the UAE Government, the safety of the public should come first for any event. We will follow the protocols laid out by the Government and officials,” the IPL Vice-Chairman asserted.

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