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UAE pitch perfect to host IPL matches

Dubai: UAE cricket fans will be in for a grand spectacle from April 16 to 30, when the Indian Premier League (IPL) comes to town.

The UAE was on Wednesday named as the host of 16 preliminary matches due to general elections in India. Rising above strong contenders like South Africa and Bangladesh, who were also considered, the UAE won the day with its world class venues and facilities.

The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has projected all three of its stadiums in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah for the showpiece and the IPL management team will soon fly in to the UAE for the assigning of matches to the venues.

David East, Chief Executive of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), told Gulf News: “All our venues here will be available for the matches. It’s a great honour to be selected to host IPL matches. Our board will now work closely with the IPL’s event management team to deliver 16 games of high-quality cricket entertainment.”

East went on to state that the IPL has redefined cricket in the modern era, and to be hosting it in the UAE is a tremendous honour and a privilege for everyone connected to cricket in the country. “The unwavering support of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development and the Chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board, has been crucial to this decision taking place and I would like to thank him for his dedication and commitment to cricket in the UAE.”

Maqbul Dudhia, General Manager Sports Business of Dubai Sports City, said: “It’s great news for the UAE. We are hungry to see IPL talent on our doorstep and we thank the BCCI and IPL governing council for choosing the UAE. We will provide all the support for the event and our stadium will be ready as per the high international standards.”

Sharjah Cricket Stadium, which has hosted some of the greatest one-day matches in history, is also ready for the event, with General Manager Mazhar Khan saying: “We will be delighted to host IPL matches here and give the fans another opportunity to enjoy cricket at a venue that has entered the Guinness Book of World Records through hosting the highest number of One Day Internationals.”

David Richardson, the International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive, was among the first to laud the BCCI’s decision to choose the UAE. “The IPL 2014 matches will complete a remarkable season of cricket in the UAE,” he said. “This news comes on the back of the on-field success of the UAE national team, which has qualified for both the ICC World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand and has the potential to propel cricket’s profile to new heights in the country.”

With the ICC based in Dubai, Richardson assured the organisation’s full support. “Recognising the importance of the integrity of the competition, the ICC will provide its full support for the matches in the UAE, including through the provision of anti-corruption services.

“It will also be a good opportunity for both the BCCI and the ICC to share knowledge and experience as we both strive to deliver memorable events to cricket fans around the world.”