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Dubai cricket council offers to host Pakistan-India bilateral series

Dubai cricket chief also offers to host more IPL games. (Source: Khaleej Times)

DUBAI: After having hosted the second half of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) season and the ICC T20 World Cup, Dubai Cricket Council has now offered to host Pakistan-India bilateral cricket series.

The recently-concluded T20 World Cup, claimed by Australia, was staged across three venues — Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi — in the UAE while some matches of the preliminary round matches were played in Oman.

“The best thing would be to get India-Pakistan matches here. When Sharjah used to host India and Pakistan all those years ago, it was like a war. But it was a good war, it was a sporting war,” Dubai Cricket Council Chairman Abdul Rahman Falaknaz said while speaking to local media.

Falaknaz is confident that the country could in fact be the perfect neutral venue for India and Pakistan who might agree on playing there rather than on each other’s home soils due to the ever-so-increasing strained political relations.

“I remember Bollywood actor Raj Kapoor came once with his family. During the awards night, he took the mic and said, ‘How wonderful it is to have these India-Pakistan battles in Sharjah. Cricket brings people together, cricket has brought us together,'” he added.

“So this is what we would like to do. If we can convince India to come and play here against Pakistan once a year or twice a year, it would be fantastic,” concluded the Dubai Cricket Council chairman.

Owing to political tensions, Pakistan and India haven’t played bilateral cricket series since 2013, when the Green Shirts visited India to play three T20s and two One Day Internationals. Ever since then, they have only met in ICC events and their latest encounter happened at the T20 World Cup 2021 in Dubai.

‘More IPL matches in Dubai’

The DCC chief also expressed willingness to host more Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in future. “In 2014, when they shifted the IPL to the UAE due to elections, we gave them a warm reception. It all depends on the BCCI to decide what they want to do,” Falaknaz recalled.

“We are very friendly with them,” he said, adding that the BCCI had seen “our potential in 2014 and more this year. In 2014, they played 20 matches. Out of the 20 matches, 19 were fully sold”.

“So, I would invite BCCI to come and hold their IPL matches. Even if it is part of IPL to start here and finish in India or to start in India and finish in Dubai,” he suggested.

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