DUBAI is still building recreational cricket grounds, despite the appalling recession in the Gulf emirate. The first all-turf ground at Al Dhaid Sports Village was officially inaugurated during the Afghanistan versus Saudi Arabia match of the ACC Twenty20 Cup by the father of cricket in the United Arab Emirates, Abdulrahman Bukhatir.
Al Dhaid, with seven grounds in total, was first started in November 2006 and its artificial pitches have been operational for two years. The grass pitch has taken six months to complete, and apart from a slightly uneven outfield, it is apparently in perfect playing condition.
The four-acre site, 40 miles outside the Dubai metropolis, has been a personal project for Emirates Cricket Board administrator, Mazhar Khan. "There was and is a constant need for cricket pitches considering the level of activity in the UAE," said Khan. The ground at Al Dhaid will also host the MCC and a Bangladesh Port Cricket League next year.
Bukhatir, the television tycoon behind Dubai Sports City said: "Even though sports infrastructure projects are not profit-making centres, the purpose of a multi-sport project like this at Al Dhaid is to give youngsters a chance to play, get noticed and get ahead. It takes people, organisations and institutions for support and this is what we are hoping for the future. And we hope it benefits the society in Dubai and the whole world."
"The business plan has not been worked out for this, we are still in the process of forming a same. Al Dhaid is just starting, but like the youngsters who will play here, it is full of promise. There are enough grounds here to have major tournaments at any point of time," he added.