Browsing 'cricket' News

All photos by Baba Tamim

When 43-year-old Indian expat Farooq gets homesick in Qatar, he heads to the beach with his family – not to swim, but to play cricket.

Speaking to Doha News over the weekend while playing a friendly match in Al Khor, the doctor said:

“Most of us here are friends from India and work for Hamad Hospital. We are playing this game and cherishing our memories from childhood.”

In Qatar, cricket doesn’t seem to get as much love as other sports. There are few official pitches in the country, and the cost of equipment can be prohibitive. But many of the nation’s cricket fans don’t mind getting creative.

Cricket weekend

Baba Tamim

Cricket weekend

In part as a way to remember home, South Asians across Qatar can be seen playing the game in makeshift parking lots and dirt roads, parks or industrial areas.

Shabir Gani from Indian-administered Kashmir told Doha News that he plays for a company cricket team, and doesn’t even let the summer slow him down.

“We mostly play community or corporate level cricket. I would love to play as a professional but I think cricket in Doha is in transition phase and lot of work needs to be done to promote domestic and international cricket.”

Other players echoed those sentiments.

Gowhar, 28, is a cab driver from Peshawar, Pakistan. He played cricket professionally, but began working as a cab driver to make ends meet and now practices the sport during his free time.

“Qatar wants all sports to be popular, but the game of professional cricket has no introduction here like we have in Asia,” he said.

How do you satisfy your cricket cravings? Thoughts?

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Via ILoveQatar.net

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A high-profile cricket tournament that was scheduled to be held in Qatar next year may be headed for the UAE after all, according to multiple reports.

Organizers announced less than a month ago that the first edition of the Pakistan Twenty20 cricket Super League (PSL) would be held at Asian Town (previously known as West End Park) in the Industrial Area.

Cricket at Asian Town

Navin Sam

Cricket at Asian Town

The league was originally going to be hosted by the UAE, but was moved to Qatar after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) found that all the venues were already booked for the February 2016 slot for the Masters Champions League, a tournament for retired cricketers, media reports said last month.

Pakistan has played all of its international matches in the UAE since 2009, when gunmen in Lahore fired upon a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team.

Now, however, ESPN cricinfo reports that the PCB said it was in talks with the Emirates Cricket Board over the possibility of hosting the tournament in the UAE after all.

Other media, such as The Indian Express, cited anonymous sources as saying an agreement has been in reached in principle between the Pakistan and UAE cricket associations to share venues in Dubai and Sharjah with the planned Masters Cricket League.

‘No official news’

The report added that holding the tournament in Qatar was still under consideration.

An official from Qatar Cricket Association told Doha News that they had not been notified of any changes.

For illustrative purposes only

Olympic Committee

For illustrative purposes only

“There are lots of rumors going on,” said Gul Khan, the association’s head of events and tournaments. “Everybody is talking … but there is no official news,” he added.

The choice of Qatar as tournament host was criticized by some commentators who argued that the UAE was more prepared to host the Pakistan Super League.

Relying on a sole stadium to hold all the matches and practices would present logistical headaches, some said, adding that the UAE would be a more financially lucrative host country that could accommodate larger crowds.

Even if the T20 league was moved to the UAE, Khan said he was confident that Qatar would be able to secure another high-caliber tournament in the near future:

“We have big grounds. We have good support from the government. We have everything. We want cricket here in Qatar … Very soon, you will see a big tournament here. We’ll prove to the world that we can do it,” he said.

PCB officials were not immediately available to comment this afternoon.

Hosting ambitions

T20 cricket is a short form of the game, where two teams have a single innings each up to a maximum of 20 overs. With the average match lasting up to three hours rather than over several days as in Test cricket, it is a faster-paced game developed to attract more spectators to grounds and to boost TV viewership.

The PSL was expected to bring many big-name players and international sponsors to Qatar, where matches would have been played at the Asian Town international cricket stadium. The facility was expected to undergo modifications to make it suitable.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

QSports

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The Asian Town ground, which was opened in 2013 and can hold approximately 13,000 spectators, hosted two smaller T20 tournaments for Qatar-based clubs last summer.

Meanwhile, local officials continue to work on positioning Qatar as a global sports hub. The country is hosting several major international tournaments ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Some 89 local, regional and international sporting events were scheduled to take place in Qatar between April 2015 and March 2016 alone, according to the Qatar Olympic Committee.

That includes next month’s AIBA World Boxing Championship for Men, which is expected to take place at Al Sadd Sports Club from Oct. 5 to 15 – the first time the tournament is coming to the region.

Thoughts?

Cricket at Asian Town

Navin Sam

Cricket at Asian Town

World cricket stars are expected to head to Doha next year to compete in the first edition of the Pakistan Twenty20 cricket Super League, after Qatar agreed to host the tournament, Pakistan’s Cricket Board has announced.

The franchised tournament will be played in February 2016 at the Asian Town (previously known as West End Park) international cricket stadium in the Industrial Area, which is likely to have to undergo modifications to make it suitable.

From Feb. 4-24, five teams will play 24 matches, competing for up to $1 million in prize money, the PCB said.

Najam Sethi, PCB executive commitree Chairman

PCB

Najam Sethi, PCB executive committee Chairman

Najam Sethi, chairman of the PCB’s executive committee, announced the deal in a press conference in Lahore yesterday.

The PCB has for some years been trying to set up a T20 league, but the launch has been postponed twice due to sponsorship and other issues.

The league was originally going to be hosted by the UAE, which is where Pakistan has played all of its international matches since a terrorist attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team in 2009.

However, when the PCB attempted to confirm venues with the Emirates Cricket Board earlier this summer, they discovered that the stadiums had already been booked for the February slot for the Masters Champions League, a tournament for retired cricketers, ESPN cricinfo reports.

Rather than again delaying the launch of the league until April, when players may not be available, Sethi said Doha was chosen to host the tournament.

“The wait is now over and we are here to tell you of our intent to stage the PSL. The way we see it, PSL is not just about cricket. It is a unique blend of entertainment and cricket which will be the most exciting Pakistani product,” Sethi said.

What is Twenty20?

T20 cricket is a short form of the game, where two teams have a single innings each up to a maximum of 20 overs.

With the average match lasting up to three hours rather than over several days as in Test cricket, it is a faster-paced game which has been developed to help attract more spectators to grounds and to boost TV viewing figures.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Via ILoveQatar.net

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In addition to international tournaments, a number of countries have national T20 leagues.

Pakistan previously had the Haier T20 league, involving 18 franchised member clubs.

It will be replaced with the Super League, which will be created by city-based franchises and is expected to include teams from Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and Karachi.

It is likely Pakistan hopes it can eventually build a league to rival the Indian Premier League, the world’s most watched T20 league with an estimated brand value of $7.2 billion.

Explaining how the new Pakistan league will work, Sethi said:

“We are starting with 5 teams in order to build the value of our franchises and we will expand the number of teams in the coming editions.”

International players

While the signing of the players has yet to be confirmed, cricketers from across the world are expected to feature in the tournament lineup, alongside those from Pakistan.

Top foreign players from all Test-playing nations except India have expressed interest in taking part in the PSL, with initial consent shown from more than 40 international players, Sethi added.

Four West Indians and two players each from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa are among the names the PCB would like to lure. Around 25 are expected to sign up to the league, 15 of whom will be “world class players”  Gulf Times reports Sethi as saying.

Talks are already underway with potential sponsors and franchise owners and broadcasters have shown “great interest” in the tournament, the PCB official added.

The formal launch of the PSL is expected to take place in Lahore late next month, and rights for broadcast, sponsorship and franchise ownership will be sold over the coming three months.

Qatar Cricket Association has welcomed the deal. “We are yet to finalize the details about the agreement to host the tournament and we hope this will be done soon,” QCA official Gul Khan told Gulf Times.

For illustrative purposes only

Olympic Committee

For illustrative purposes only

With Qatar home to hundreds of thousands of people from cricket-loving nations such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India, the tournament is expected to draw decent crowds from home in addition to fans traveling from elsewhere in the region to watch the matches.

However, unlike other T20 tournaments which are played around a number of venues and cities, Qatar only has one stadium and all the matches will be played there.

The Asian Town ground, which was opened in 2013 and has a capacity of around 13,000, last summer hosted two smaller T20 tournaments for Qatar-based clubs.

Previously, Asian Cricket Council official Bandula Warnapura reportedly described the stadium as “one of the best I have seen in this region” and said it was a contender to hold international matches.

Will you go to the matches? Thoughts?