An impressive campaign against the coronavirus pandemic has elevated the country to cult status as a sporting destination.
Cricket and sport in general in the United Arab Emirates have come a long way from a crashing start in the deserts of Sharjah in the 1980s to the ongoing T20 World Cup. The game has seen a (miniature) evolution since then, and fans (and the game) are richer in the experience.
Indeed, cricket has become shorter, but its influence has only grown in the UAE. The game is more powerful and dynamic with the advent of the latest format which attracts more people to the stadiums even during the pandemic.
Tickets for the matches have been sold, including the flagship India-Pakistan match on October 24. Such a development was unthinkable just last year. But the impressive campaign against the coronavirus pandemic has elevated the country to cult destination as a sports destination.
And here it wouldn’t be wrong to call the UAE the world’s sportiest nation. In 2020, as the pandemic raged, the United Arab Emirates took the risk of hosting the Indian Premier League and the F1 race in Abu Dhabi without fans.
When the IPL was suspended earlier this year in India, the United Arab Emirates were the natural choice for the event to be completed, and they did so appropriately, with the Chennai Super Kings taking home the trophy. For many countries, the United Arab Emirates has become the home of athletic action. Why? Because sport here is unadulterated and is not a victim of politics, conflicts, personalities and their tantrums.
The United Arab Emirates offers sport in its true spirit; there is entertainment and passion. What more could the average fan want? The country has over the years built state-of-the-art stadiums and offers the best facilities for spectators and stars.
Getting to UAE is easy as it connects East and West like no other country in the world. The aviation industry is booming, so is commerce, and there is business to be done. The hospitality industry is world class; it’s a celebrity hangout while offering something for the budget-conscious traveler and resident.
The country has remained an attractive destination and a hive of activity even during the pandemic. Now that the worst is over, sport is coming back with renewed vigor in the country. There are scores to be settled – on the cricket pitch as the action spreads to Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
IPL cricket’s success in a bubble last year has given the country the confidence to put on this spectacle with crowds packed into the stadiums. Nothing like a game of cricket has hit the coronavirus for six years.