All nine teams participating in the Indoor Cricket World Cup Dubai 2017 gathered on Saturday at the Insportz Club for the opening ceremony.
The National Anthem of all nine countries: the UAE, Australia, England, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, India, New Zealand and Sri Lanka were played to mark the occasion, while a local UAE troupe performed the traditional Ayala stick dance.
Emirates Cricket Board member Zayed Abbas welcomed all the athletes and officials to Dubai and was especially proud of the UAE representation at the event.
President of the World Indoor Cricket Federation Greg Donnelley formally declared the games open. Donnelly, who has been associated with the indoor games for over 25 years, said “The World Indoor Cricket federation is pleased to be hosting the Indoor Cricket World Cup for the first time ever in the Middle East.
“Cricket is growing at a fast pace in this region, and we hope the World Cup will play a significant role in growing the sport in the region. While Indoor Cricket has a strong base in countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, it is heartening to see countries like Malaysia and Singapore here with us, it is a sign that the future of the sport is secure.”
Please find below the schedule of matches on September 16, 2017 at Insportz Club Dubai.
Having won every edition since its inception, defending Indoor Cricket World Cup champions Australia are wary of the pressure placed on them once again and expect this week’s competition to be the most “fiercely” contested tournament for a long time.
Hosts UAE, England, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Singapore will all be bidding to do something that no other nation has done before and dethrone Australia as world champions in the men’s, women’s, men’s U-21 and women’s U-21 categories.
The men’s side have triumphed on each occasion since 1995, while their female counterparts have dominated since 1998. Their U-21 sides also followed suit, winning every title since 2004.
The 10th edition of the week-long competition gets underway at Dubai’s InSportz Club today and Australia men’s skipper Lyle Teske is bracing for a difficult seven days.
“I think this will be one of the most fiercely World Cups for a long time,” he said, whose side open their campaign against Malaysia today. “All the oppositions are all very strong and we just have to focus on what we have to do. If we do that, then I think we can do very well.
“If we have one edge, then it’s something that we have done it before. But when it comes to games, pressure is a funny thing.”
For Jude Coleman, she has skippered the Australian female’s team since 1995 and has seen the format grow. “We find that every year it’s growing and we have set the standard and know they are trying to catch us,” said the six-time World Cup winner.
“We have a very good structure at home and we are expecting an even tougher World Cup. There’s definitely on the pressure for a team who has never lost the World Cup final but we have prepared
Regina Lilli’s New Zealand side lost to Australia in the women’s final but believes a squad mixed with youth and experienced, can go all the way this time.
“The girls have worked hard to get here,” she said, who face South Africa today.
“We have nothing to lose here and give it our best shot. Our team got a good mix of young players and there’s a lot of youngsters coming through and the future is looking bright for the women’s game.”
For the UAE, the men’s side open against six-time runners-up New Zealand, who they beat in a warm-up on Monday, while the women’s side play England and Australia.
More than a decade after seeing his dream of representing the UAE senior team dashed, Umar Shah is grateful to be given another chance at this week’s Indoor Cricket World Cup.
Shah, 31, played for the outdoor national team at the Under-19 Asia Cup qualifiers in Pakistan way back in 2003 and soon set his sights on being part of the senior team one day.
However, those hopes were over just 12 months later when he injured his knee while fielding during a domestic game in Dubai.
That saw him ruled out for almost two years but having underwent rehabilitation, he got back into the game in 2006 – playing indoor cricket with Danube Tigers as well as the outdoor version with Fly Emirates.
There was no recall to the national outdoor team since then but an opportunity came knocking when the UAE were awarded the rights to host the Indoor Cricket World Cup at Dubai’s InSportz Club.
He beat more than 50 hopefuls to be selected in the 12-man squad and Shah wants to make the most of his opportunity, having admitted he never thought he would play for the UAE again after his knee injury.
“It really has been an emotional journey for me,” said Shah. “To have suffered that knee injury was heartbreaking and it was very disappointing especially as I didn’t play the game for a long time.
“It was a tough time for me and my family to be honest. I could only watch cricket and would’ve loved to have played but I just couldn’t because of the injury.”
He added: “I had a feeling my chance of playing for the UAE was gone but I’m very grateful that InSportz Club and the Emriates Cricket Board has given me an opportunity to play for the UAE again.”
While he still plays the outdoor game occasionally, he feels the indoor game has helped him enhance his all-round game.
“This is something that I play regularly especially as you can play after work with your friends,” he said.
“It’s fast-paced action which is good and I’m really happy to be part of the first UAE side to be playing in the Indoor Cricket World Cup. I’m really happy to wear the UAE colours again and hope we can do well.”