One of the busiest seasons in recent memory for UAE cricket might culminate with Bangladesh's version of the Indian Premier League being played at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The organisers of the eight franchise Port-city Cricket League (PCL), which was staged for the first time in April, hope to use this country's oldest cricket venue to host their event next year.
Bangladesh's grounds will be out of commission at the time as they are taken over for maintenance work ahead of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, necessitating the switch. "A three-member delegation will visit Sharjah later this week for further discussion," said AJM Nasiruddin, the chairman of the tournament's organising committee. However, the extra obligation of the 20-over competition provides a further logistical headache amid an already packed schedule of events. The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) are currently finalising plans for a 12-team Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 competition, which is likely to include a Chinese national team for the first time, in November.
That event will go some way to readying the UAE side for their bid to reach next year's World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, via a qualifying competition which is also to be staged in the Emirates in February. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are preparing for the return of big match international cricket. Pakistan are most likely to host New Zealand on these shores for four 50-over matches and two Twenty20 internationals.
Tony Hemming, the curator of the stadium at Dubai Sports City, is also tasked with preparing a football pitch on which the curtain-raiser for the UAE football league season, the Super Cup, will be played this month. The Emirates Airline ProArch Trophy, which has become an established pre-season tournament for county sides, is also scheduled for March, after which the Bangladesh Cricket Board-sanctioned PCL could take place.
Mazhar Khan, the ECB administrator, said: "We still have to sit down across a table and sort out what we can provide for them and what we cannot provide. "They have had approval from the Bangladesh board, but nothing has been finalised as yet." Some of the burden of staging domestic matches will be eased by the installation of new floodlit facilities at Al Dhaid Cricket Village who are in the third year of operations.