UAE wants to host cricket World Cup

Having hosted matches since the 80s, and with the IPL taking place next month, local authorities now want the big one.

Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi will host the 2014 IPL opener next month [GALLO/GETTY]

Cricket authorities in the United Arab Emirates are eyeing the 2027 World Cup.

The UAE has been hosting cricket tournaments since the 1980s and Sharjah holds the record of the most number of One-Day Internationals played at a single venue. Pakistan, since the 2009 Lahore attacks, play their home series in the UAE while Afghanistan also play their home matches in Sharjah.

Qatar’s ambitions

With Qatar scheduled to host football’s World Cup in 2022, its cricket authorities are keen to join hands with the UAE for the 2027 World Cup.

Doha held a women’s Twenty20 and ODI tournament featuring Pakistan, South Africa and Ireland in a brand new, 20,000-seater stadium under lights earlier this year. The matches were well attended which has given Qatar Cricket Association (QCA) hopes of hosting future events.

The matches were ‘hosted’ by the PCB and discussions are underway with the board, who were keen to schedule women’s ‘home’ matches in Doha, but QCA has also expressed an interest in aiming higher.

“We’re open to collaboration with the ECB if they want us to work together on this,” QCA General Secretary Manzoor Ahmed told Al Jazeera. “We have a great stadium, great facilities and although there’s a lot of work to be done, we have the infrastructure and the interest to make it work.”

The seventh edition of the India Premier League kicks off in Abu Dhabi next month with Dubai and Sharjah also hosting a total of 20 matches after the opening part of the event was moved out of India due to general elections.

Bidding plans

Venues for the next three cricket World Cups have already been confirmed – Australia/New Zealand, England and India – but the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is keen to enter a bid when planning for the 2027 World Cup starts.

“Although there is no ongoing process right now, we can certainly have a look at it when the bidding starts,” ECB chief David East told Al Jazeera. “That is certainly part of our aim and ambition and we can use our world-class facilities to make it happen.

“The UAE is a desirable location for many reasons and we have three world-class locations at short travel distance that we can offer. The weather here during winter also works in our favour. Just like the IPL, we can consider whatever opportunities present themselves to us.”

The UAE recently hosted the U-19 World Cup and is Pakistan’s home series against Australia is scheduled to be held there later this year.

PCB’s plans 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi was also recently quoted saying that the board was looking into not only playing a series against India in the region but also scheduling their Twenty20 league in the UAE as well.

“With India now deciding to host IPL matches in the UAE, it is a good sign for us as we can also play India at these venues if they don’t want to tour Pakistan,” Sethi had said.

“We are working fast track on having the Super League T20 soon even if we have to organise it in the UAE because this is one way of improving our financial health.”

Source: Al Jazeera

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