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Dubai cricket chief offers to host Pakistan-India bilateral series

Dubai Cricket Council Chairman Abdul Rahman Falaknaz has offered to host Pakistan-India bilateral cricket series — almost a month after the arch-rivals played an ICC T20 World Cup match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

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 and it was fantastic,” Falaknaz was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.

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.

“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 and let us remain this way,’” recalled the DCC chief.

This undated file photo shows late Bollywood star Raj Kapoor with legendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar at the Sharjah cricket stadium – Photo courtesy: *Gulf News*
This undated file photo shows late Bollywood star Raj Kapoor with legendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar at the Sharjah cricket stadium – Photo courtesy: Gulf News

“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.”

‘India welcome to play 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.

Ahmed Mukhtar Naqshbandi

Media person and communication expert for over 25 years. Worked with Dow Jones News, World Bank, CNBC Pakistan, Aaj TV, ARY TV, Abbtakk TV, Business Recorder, Pakistan Observer, Online News Network, TTI Magazine and other local and world Publications.

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