UAE could be serious contender for hosting World Cup in future
Ravi Shastri feels the Emirates Cricket Board could be a serious contender for staging the World Cup 10 to 15 years down the line. He said that it’s a matter of time, the facilities here have grown tremendously over the years with Sharjah and Abu Dhabi boasting stadiums of international standards and very shortly Dubai will have its own state-of-the art infrastructure at the Dubai Sports City.
The International Cricket Council has moved its headquarters to Dubai, the talent is immense and so is the enthusiasm about the game. What else you need. I am sure they can host one the best World Cup tournaments ever played. He was attending the annual Shyam Bhatia UAE award presentation ceremony at the Dubai Intercontinental hotel on Wednesday night.
Shastri, however, firmly believes that cricket authorities here need to put more money back into the system if they aim to tap and brush up the talent from the grossroots level. No doubt Sharjah has the distinction of staging maximum number of international matches (198), but still the UAE cricket board is one of the poorest in the world. I can’t understand why.
I have been a regular to this part of the world since making my first appearance in a Sharjah tournament in 1981 and have seen how the game has transformed over the years. It’s simply unbelievable. A career in cricket gives you a lifestyle many would envy. The game has the ability to appeal, it makes you discilpined, and above all, it’s a great leveller. One day you score a 100 and the next day you are out on zero. You are brought down to earth in a matter seconds.
The exposure is just fantastic. you have got to enter the heavy-duty territory, experience it and earn it. Whether you are playing or broadcasting — as I am doing these days — the foucs is the key. The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you have lost. Shastri told the gathering which included many young cricketers. Shastri lauded the efforts of Shyam Bhatia for instituting awards for the leading cricketers on the domestic cricket. I have known him for about 25 years and all I can say he an individual who is consistently consistent. All those who try and give something back to the game deserve a word of prase. Shyam is one of them, but cricket needs more such generous people,” he said.
Shastri featured in 80 Test matches and 105 one-day internationals during an illustrious career spanning more than a decade, but said two particular matches — both played at Sharjah — were something he would always remember. We shot out Pakistan for just 86 while defending a modest 125 in 1981 and then that famous six from Javed Miandad off Chetan Sharma which took the match away from us. The agrro and intensity in both the matches were out of the world, something which I have never seen or experienced in my career, both as a player and commentator.