While many sports fans are currently absorbed with the Ashes series between England and Australia, another keenly contested cricket battle will soon ensue on UAE shores.
The Colors Middle East channel is about to broadcast the Danube Cricket Quiz, a weekly television show produced in Dubai.
The eight-week contest will see some of the country’s most ardent fans of the sport test their knowledge against each other.
The show was devised by Anis Sajan, the managing director of the construction company Danube, who will also act as the co-host of the programme. We found out what the viewing public can expect.
As well as Sajan, the show will be hosted by Mayanti Langer, an Indian television presenter who works for the sports channel ESPN.
Joining them will be Zaheer Abbas, one of Pakistan’s greatest batsmen. Such is his run-scoring record – he knocked more than 100 first class centuries and 16,000 runs during his career – that he’s often referred to as the Asian Don Bradman.
Sajan created the programme to share his passion for cricket with the UAE public.
“I’ve loved cricket ever since India won the 1983 World Cup. Now, I just eat, sleep and drink cricket,” he admits.
Sajan was a decent opening batsman in his younger days, but now maintains his involvement in the game by managing the successful Danube Lions cricket team in Dubai.
The quiz show will see 15 pairs of cricket fans compete in four rounds of questioning.
The first round will be a series of questions about cricket. For example, one of the questions is: when were the Ashes first contested between England and Australia?
Next up, the contestants will watch a short footage of a cricket match, which will be paused at an optimum moment. The contestants will then be asked what happened next. Something amusing or unusual will undoubtedly be the answer.
For the third round, they will be read a quote from a cricketer’s autobiography and be asked to guess who wrote those words.
Finally, there’s a quick-fire buzzer round. The overall champions of the show will win an all-expenses paid holiday to Malaysia.
Sajan says one of the highlights of the filming was getting to meet one of his heroes, Zaheer Abbas.
“Even though Abbas is such a famous star, he’s a very likeable, humble guy, who likes to keep a low profile,” explains Sajan.
“But he was very good in front of the camera and his knowledge of cricket is second to none.
“You know, he can tell you every detail about the 274 he made against England at Edgbaston, or the 240 he made against England at The Oval. Working with him was such a -pleasure.”
Sajan is also hoping to popularise a different kind of television show in the Emirates.
“We’ve had reality shows and documentaries made in the UAE, but never a quiz show,” he contends.
“Hopefully, we can lead the way for more of this kind of programme.”
He also believes the series will have mass appeal among the various nationalities who reside in this country.
“Cricket is huge in the UAE. It’s kind of an international language,” he contends.
“We have all the expats from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, plus lots of South Africans, Brits and Australians.
“If you’re from one of these countries and you like cricket, it helps us all communicate with each other. So I’m hoping they will all tune in.”
• The Danube Cricket Quiz will be broadcast on the Colors Middle East channel at 7.30pm tonight, with a repeat at 11pm on Wednesday
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