x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dubai 'can bring unity'

As relations between a variety of cricket nations grow increasingly tense, the chief executive of the ICC believes Dubai could help to "unite the international cricket community".

DUBAI // As relations between a variety of cricket nations grow increasingly tense, the chief executive of the ICC, Haroon Lorgat, believes Dubai could help to "unite the international cricket community" in the future. The UAE has been mooted as a potential neutral venue if India choose not to tour Pakistan for their series next year, in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan are likely to play an increasing number of matches in the Emirates, both in Abu Dhabi and the new stadium in Dubai Sports City, as sides continue to stay away from the strife-torn nation because of security concerns. Lorgat, the South African boss of the game's ruling body, believes the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Sports City could become a symbol of unity in the game. The academy is set to become an important focal point for international cricket education when it opens its doors next year. The inclusive ideal of the academy is reflected in the cosmopolitan make-up of its staff.

Rod Marsh, the former Australia wicket-keeper, heads their coaching team, which also includes the New Zealander Dayle Hadlee and Mudassar Nazar, the former Pakistan all-rounder. "A goal of the ICC Global Cricket Academy should be to unite the international cricket community and share information from around the world," said Lorgat. "By putting these principles into the academy we can raise the bar all the time.

"The package at Dubai Sports City is fantastic. "Other sports can learn a lot from cricket and vice-versa. There is real value in an integrated sports city which will enhance the game." The academy's bosses will initially focus on developing the game at a grassroots level locally in addition to offering coaching programs and hosting leagues. The ICC will also move into its new headquarters at Dubai Sports City in the early part of 2009.

"The ICC Global Cricket Academy will become the most important centre of excellence for aspiring and developing cricketers in the world," said Khalid al Zarooni, the president of Dubai Sports City. "We are developing a vision for the future of sport with the best coaches, facilities and technology all in one place." @Email:pradley@thenational.ae