x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Advantage cricket

The IPL matches will not only bring cheer to the cricketing fraternity, but will boost business as well

Cricket fans in the UAE could not have been more delighted when it was announced that the country will host 20 matches of the Indian Premier League’s first leg and that the matches, to be played from April 16-30, will not be at one particular stadium but at venues in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

That’s not all. With the price of tickets kept as low as Dh25, the chance to watch some of the world’s top cricketers in action is affordable for low-income workers. As a bonus, there is a possibility that fans will get a glimpse of the Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan when the team he owns, Kolkata Knight Riders, squares off against Mumbai Indians in the opening match at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Stadium.

Thanks to the short distance between the UAE and the cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, Indian cricket enthusiasts are likely to descend on the country in large numbers, meaning the nation’s hospitality and leisure industries stand to benefit greatly.

More importantly, the hugely successful tournament will provide a major fillip to cricket in this country, which has already seen the successful staging of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier last year and the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup this year.