Sachin Tendulkar wants Cricket All-Stars cast in Dubai

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New projects: Sachin.

For the passionate cricket fans in the UAE, who still swear by Sachin Tendulkar’s Desert Storm in Sharjah that brought a rampant Australia to their knees in 1998, there is strong hope of a reprise.

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Even though the Indian national team’s visits to the UAE post-2000 have been rare, the now-retired Tendulkar hinted he could be seen in action here as early as next year.

Speaking to Sport360, Tendulkar said his latest venture along with Shane Warne, Cricket All-Stars, could see them bring the band of 28 retired superstars of the game to the UAE.

“We don’t mind coming here to Dubai and the UAE. This is where the headquarters of ICC is. For us, it is about creating the festive atmosphere and hopefully, get some new fans to the game.

“We would like people to talk about these games, even long after we have had the matches,” said Tendulkar, who retired two years ago after smashing 100 international tons in a storied career of 24 years.

“To be honest, right now we are only focusing on the upcoming series of five matches in the US. We have a few offers for the next year, but we will look at it after we are done for this year’s events.

“Of course, we’d like to go to places where we are invited to. We are open to ideas and invitations and we will definitely look into it. It will be very nice if we come to the UAE next year because we do want to travel around the globe.

“Sharjah matches always bring back fond memories, honestly. It was special to come here and play. But it’s never too late. I can come back again, and who knows… very soon perhaps!”

The UAE has already played host to marquee Twenty20 events like the Indian Premier League last year with the Pakistan Super League and Masters Cricket League lined up in February next year.

Tendulkar blasted back-to-back centuries (143 and 134) inside three days against Australia in April 1998 to help India win the Coca-Cola Cup.

Those knocks are still fresh in the memories of cricket fans across the globe, and he wishes to recreate those moments with the All Stars games, with the inaugural series to be played in the US next month.

“We want fans to relive their memories. The players we are taking to the USA are all superstars. I don’t think any true cricket fan is going to be disappointed to watch their heroes like Brian Lara, Alan Donald, Jonty Rhodes, Kumar Sangakkara, Wasim Akram… they are all legendary names in the game,” added Tendulkar, who holds the record for scoring most runs in both Tests (15,921) and ODIs (18,426).

“It’s really exciting. The journey started last year on July 5 when we played the Bicentenary Celebration match at Lord’s. After the game, there was a get-together in the Long Room. I was discussing the match with the players and all of them were very excited to get back to playing the game.

“I realised the passion for cricket was very much alive in all the players despite having retired. We thought why not use this to promote cricket in various parts of the world and globalise the game. I spoke to Shane and he said he was thinking on the same lines. That’s when we decided to do this together.

“The whole idea is to go to various parts of the world. We have started with America because I have several friends there. They have great passion for cricket, but they cannot go to a stadium, watch live cricket and get that excitement and get engaged to the sport. Just like them, there are so many Asians, Caribbeans and British expats in the US.”

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Emirates Cricket board eager to start under-16 inter-Emirate tournament

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The success of the under-19 tournament has spurred the ECB to start an under-16 event.

With the aim of identifying future UAE players from a younger age, a top Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) official says there are plans to launch an Under-16 Inter-Emirate tournament next year.

The event could be played as early as February although no exact dates have been confirmed.

It will follow on from the successful ECB National U-19 tournament, held in April, which saw the best 15 boys from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah, represent the UAE in the U-19 ACC Premier League tournament in Malaysia in August.

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That event earned rave reviews from players, coaches and parents and Andrew Russell, national development manager at the ECB, is keen to introduce a similar event for the younger boys. “We are trying to put a good structure in place for the development of cricket in the UAE and there are plans to launch an ECB National U-16
Inter-Emirate tournament early next year,” said the South African.

With no U-16 tournaments planned for the UAE as of now, Russell insists it’s important to start grooming youngsters from an early age if the ECB want to produce talented cricketers in the future.

“This will be the first set point for us in terms of identifying players for the future,” he said.

“We will not select a team if there is no tournament but obviously it gives us the opportunity of identifying players at a young age so we can start grooming them for the other age groups and potentially the senior team.”

Cricket continues to develop in the UAE with the introduction of the NSL.

He added: “We needed some kind of pathway and at the moment, we really didn’t have the pathway of identifying talent at a younger age.

“This is the start of something and we want to develop them. It’s important that we spend as much time as possible with them, so they can improve them but also try to retain them at the same time.”

The ECB is faced with one problem that youths cannot stay on their parents’ sponsorship beyond 18 unless they study or work in the country. But Russell insists the ECB are working on solving this problem.

“We are working with a number of universities in the UAE for scholarships so the youngsters can study and play for the ECB during that time,” he said.

“It will be hard but once they reach 18, we want to give them options, and one is getting a visa of their own or getting a reduced rate on their education at universities.”

With the aim of identifying future UAE players from a younger age, a top Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) official says there are plans to launch an Under-16 Inter-Emirate tournament next year.

Fahad Tariq makes an impact as Desert Kings rule in Dubai
The champions: Desert Kings Waterproofing players with the trophies.

Fahad Tariq showed his potential with the ball, taking two wickets as  Desert King Waterproofing (DKW) lifted the Al Wahda Indian Independence Day Cup.

The game was postponed to last weekend, following the extreme humid conditions in August, but it was worth the wait for DKW who were dominant from the very first ball at Dubai’s Fairground Oval.

Batting first, Global Lions were all out for 32 in their allotted five overs as their batsmen had no answer to Tariq’s impressive bowling. He finished with figures of 2-7 as Shafqat Ali topscored with 11.

DKW made light work of their run chase as Ayoub Ahmed (18no) and Salman Babar (13no) saw them home in the second over to seal a nine-wicket victory.

Tariq Butt, who has been organsing the competition for the last 27 years, was happy to see players embrace the opportunity.  “It was a fitting end to a remarkable tournament,” he said. “We saw some great individual displays and although it was a one-sided final, I’m pleased players have supported this tournament and am sure next year’s will be another success.”

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Cricket legends Tendulkar & Akram to headline DXB talk show

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Cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Akram will headline an inaugural talk show event in Dubai on October 9.

The India and Pakistan greats are set to take centre stage once again at the launch of 'Cricket and Beyond – Join the Conversation', run by global sports, event and talent management company, United Sports Associates.

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Tendulkar, who scored a world record 100 international centuries during a glittering 24-year career, will re-live his most special moments alongside Akram – the famous fast bowler who claimed 916 Test and One-Day International wickets.

“‘Cricket and Beyond’ will feature conversations around cricket, magic moments and the life experiences of our sporting heroes," Raj Ramakrishnan, United Sports Associates' Managing Director said.

"The show will feature state-of- the-art analytical technology presented in an interactive and entertaining fashion providing its physical and online audience with a once in a lifetime event.”

"Join the Conversation" with @wasimakramlive and me on Oct 9. Register at http://t.co/r7YQwu7DNw & watch the live webcast. @Cricandbeyond

— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) September 30, 2015

He added: “Dubai has been chosen as the venue for the launch event for its increasing importance in the sporting landscape, its luxurious environment and its recent history in hosting some epic cricketing battles. We welcome you to ‘join the conversation’. ”

The on-stage conversation and dinner, which will take place at Rixos The Palm Dubai, is to be moderated by cricket commentator and journalist Harsha Bhogle.

This global series of events will see future shows in New York, Melbourne and London, as well as more star appearances from Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Brian Lara and a host of other celebrities.

As part of the event's Dubai launch, Tendulkar and Akram will meet the public at the Arabian Center mall on October 9 at 2 pm and two lucky winners will be selected and each will receive an invitation to attend the prestigious event that evening.

Visit 'Cricket and Beyond' for more information about the event in Dubai.

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