Sharjah Cricket Council to Host Bangladesh Twenty20 League (Port City Cricket League 2010)

Adapted from (- Jai Prasad V Rai )

Twenty20 cricket revolutionised the game attracting huge spectator interest. Then came the Indian Premier League that swept the entire world off its feet. Now, UAE will be treated with an action packed eight-day cricketainment that promises to grip the spectators next month with the Bangladesh Twenty20 league 
going global.
The Sharjah Cricket Council will play host to the second edition of the Bashundhara Port-City Cricket League (PCL) which will be held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium from March 26 to April 2. The Chittagong Divisional Sports Association, based in the Bangladesh’s second biggest city, attracted huge sponsorship support after launching the event last year.

As the grounds in Bangladesh will not be available at the time as they are undergoing renovation ahead of their eight 2011 World Cup matches, they decided to move the event overseas and chose Sharjah as the venue. “The grounds are all occupied and getting ready for the 2011 World Cup. Hence Bangladesh Cricket Board and Chittagong Cricket Association decided to move out and try the same league at Sharjah,” said Sharjah Cricket Council General Secretary Mazhar Khan.

“Since there is a lot of Bangladeshi community here, the organisers feel that there will be a lot of crowd support for the event. We are closely working with the Chittagong Cricket Association to make it a big success,” he added.

A total of 15 matches will be played with two games every day and three on the final day, that includes the two semifinals and the final. There will be a lot of entertainment factor before the start and during every match. “They plan to have some entertainment going along through the event. They are likely to flow in a few artistes from Bangladesh to perform here,” Khan said. “There will be two matches per day under flood lights with the first match starting around 1630 or 1700 local time.”

Each team will consist of two to three Bangladesh national players and two international players followed by the top domestic players. “There is a possibility that Abdul Razzaq and a few Pakistani players will be participating,” Khan said.

The eight participating teams are Abahani Ltd, Brothers Union Chittagong, Dada Warriors, Dhaka Sports Tigers, Ispahani Sporting Club, Mohamedan Sporting Club, Pirates of Chittagong and Top Sports

The league has a huge fan following in Bangladesh and the tournament would be telecast live on ATN Bangla for the local viewers back home.

With such a huge responsibility on their back, the SCC want to provide the best and the Sharjah stadium is being braced up for the mega event. “We are trying to improve our facilities at the Sharjah Stadium so it’s an interesting eight-day event,” said Khan. “If they succeed and it’s financially viable to them they might continue in the future. They certainly are not coming in for just one time, but their intention is to take the league abroad and give the Bangladesh community something to enjoy.”

Khan felt that such tournaments would help the officials here understand the format and implement in the future to benefit cricket in the UAE. “Maybe we can also try to learn from these things and try to set up our own league in UAE. We can have about four to six franchises for a Twenty20 event.”

He added that such tournaments would make this game popular and boost the interest in UAE. “We have a few good grounds available in the UAE to hold these events. It definitely will flourish for many years to come. There are also talks about bringing other events to UAE and market it in the Gulf. There are lot of things happening.”

“Hopefully we should be having some exciting cricket in the days to come. That will help our domestic cricket too. The whole intention is to give our boys an opportunity to represent other teams and play for them, so this will be good for our cricketers,” said Khan, a veteran cricket administrator in UAE.

With the Sharjah Stadium making a bid to return to the international stage after hosting its 200th one-day match last week, Khan expressed optimism that it could be an attractive venue for the newest version of the game.

“By far we are the leaders in ODI in regard to hosting the highest number of matches now hopefully we will try to make a record in T20s as well as a venue. I hope that this will be the beginning of many more such tournaments. We are looking forward to such challenges and provide the best facilities to our visitors,” he said.


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