Dubai: Emirates, the Dubai based international airlines has stepped forward to the rescue of the Dubai cricket fans, who are reeling under the impact of lack of grounds.
“We will soon create seven cricket grounds in Dubai. It will be made in a land that our company is having near Silicon Oasis,” remarked Maurice Flanagan, the executive vice chairman, Emirates airlines and Group.
Cricket in Dubai had come to standstill ever since the seven grounds of the Dubai Cricket Council (DCC) ground in the Al Jadaf area were taken away for the construction of the Dubai Health City in 2005.
Tournaments used to be held regularly at the Al Jadaf grounds since 1990. In 1997, Emirates airline helped DCC to build two turf ground investing Dhs 800,000.
The International Cricket Council and Asian Cricket Council matches used to be held on these grounds. The Sri Lankan national team and Lord’s Taverners team from London had played on these grounds.
“It has been very difficult for our team (Fly Emirates) to practice. We have over five players who represent the UAE team and we badly needed a place for them to play as well as practice.
“We also host matches against foreign team like Lord’s Taverners and so we decided to have our own grounds,” said Flanagan, who also signed a sponsorship deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) as their official partner till 2015, yesterday.
Flanagan, who is keen lover of the game, had assured all support to the DCC officials soon after their grounds were evicted.
“We will have turf wickets and some grounds with imported clay. It may be completed in a year and a half,” added Flanagan.
Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, applauded the Emirates airlines initiative to create ground in Dubai.
“We are happy to see cricket grounds being built anywhere around the world. It has been a problem for the cricketers in Dubai and so it is great to hear that Emirates sporting complex is willing to accommodate cricket,” said Speed, who also appreciated Emirates’ contribution to the promotion of the game around the world.