The hugely successful star-studded cricket tournament featuring the cricketing legends also showcased Bollywood hotshots – that was broadcast LIVEon Sony Six and Sony Six HD channels – will strengthen UAE’s sports tourism industry

The recently concluded Friendship Cup UAE, which was a runaway success, will return to the Sharjah Cricket Stadium next year with a bigger fixture and a larger format, backed by Her Highness Sheikha Moaza Obaid Suhail Maktoum, Chief Patron of the Friendship Cup UAE.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Faisal bin Khalid Al Qassimi, the first Friendship Cup UAE that was sanctioned by Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), was a huge success. This will help the US$1.08 billion sports tourism sector of the UAE.

The Friendship Cup UAE brings the cricketing legends of yesteryears who helped popularise the game of cricket with their star performance by creating history over the last four decades as well as Bollywood stars – to give UAE cricket lovers an amazing entertainment experience.

The first edition of the Friendship Cup UAE was a runaway success. Cricket lovers watched legendary cricketers such as former Indian Skipper Mohammad Azharuddin, Bollywood star Suniel Shetty, former Pakistani cricket sensation Imran Nazir and Sri Lankan star cricketer Ajantha Mendis lead the four teams, aptly named Indian Legends, Bollywood Kings, Pakistan Legends and World XI.

Sheikha Moaza Al Maktoum sponsored 5,000 tickets for cricket lovers to watch the three-day star-studded Friendship Cup UAE that took place from March 5-7, 2022.Organised by Arba Sports Services, the Friendship Cup UAE, is supported by Dubai Police. The tournament was telecast live on Sony Six Television channel.

The organising team led by Mr Aslam Gurukkal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arba Sports Services, Amin Pathan, Chairman of Arba Sports Services, Noufal Qudran, Director Operations, Habib Koya, COO of Arba Sports, Muneer Bin Mohiyadeen, Director Event and Media and Asutosh Pattanayak Chairman and President WSS London and Spokesperson for French Embassy, was also present at the ceremony.

“We couldn’t have successfully organised the Friendship Cup UAE without the active patronage and support of HH Sheikha Moaza Al Maktoum and Dubai Police, who have extended all-out help to make this event a huge success,” Aslam Gurukkal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arba Sports Services, organiser of the Friendship Cup UAE, says.

“Their support and patronage have been crucial in putting the event together. It is due to their help and guidance, we are looking forward to organizing the event next year and if everything works out well for us, the Friendship Cup will become an important part of the global cricket schedule and strengthen the UAE’s sports tourism industry.”

The sports sector contributes Dh4 billion ($1.08bn) a year to the economy of Dubai, which hostsa number of national and international events and attracts visitors from around the world, according to the emirate’s media office.Currently, there are more than 20,000 people employed in Dubai’s sports sector.

According to Deloitte, sports, which have been part of the fabric of Dubai for more than 40 years, lead to $670 million of economic impact with an economic footprint of more than $1.7 billion a year. 

Globally, sports tourism is worth an estimated $600 billion, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

“Friendship Cup UAE will bring global cricketing superstars as well as the top heroes of the Indian film industry – who have a large fan following even amongst non-Indian expatriates as well as the GCC nationals,” Aslam Gurukkal says.

The finals of the Friendship Cup UAE saw Pakistan Legends beat World XI by 14 runs to lift the first Friendship Cup UAE.Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Faisal bin Khalid Al Qassimi, the first UAE Friendship Cup that was sanctioned by Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), was a huge success.

Pakistan Legends piled up 133 for five in their stipulated 10 overs, powered by Salman Butt’s 45 off 20 balls and Mohammad Sami’s 36 off 10 balls. In response, World XI started off well, despite Asghar Afghan’s early exit. Phil Mustard with 50 off 21 balls and Tillakratne Dilshan with 34 off 16 balls looked dangerous after putting up a 78-run partnership and looked like they were in a hurry. A few quick wickets in the following oversdue to good bowling by Mohammad Irfan took the game out of World XI’s hands.

With this, the three-day star-studded Friendship Cup UAE 2022came to an end. However, this is more likely to be the end of a new beginning for Friendship Cup, that could become an annual fixture in the global cricketing schedule.

Cricket lovers across the world got towatch the cricketing legends – who created world records and historic milestones in cricket –playing in seven matches fromMarch 5-7, 2022. In the three-day UAE Friendship Cup, a total of 1,530 runs were scored in just 7 matches, with an average of 218 runs per match, or 1.8 runs per ball – one of the highest run-per-ball ratio in cricket.

The UAE Friendship Cupthat brought both cricket and Bollywood fans together as top Bollywood stars went head-to-head with cricket legends at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, the matches were broadcast LIVE on SONY SIX & SONY SIX HD channels.

Amin Pathan, Chairman of Arba Sports Services, said, “This brilliant new chapter in the cricketing world saw cricketing legends play professional cricket long after their retirement. The UAE Friendship Cup has ushered a new era in the global cricket world where cricketing legends and retired professional cricketers come back to entertain cricket lovers.”

The Friendship Cup is born in Sharjah Cricket Ground, the home of cricket in the Middle East. The UAE is a country of innovation where sports tourism is also thriving. We are happy to bring a new innovation in cricket – the Friendship Cup UAE – that is going to boost sports tourism in this country.

Hudaifa Ibrahim, Head of Organisation Committee of UAE Friendship Cup,said, “The Friendship Cup UAEwill popularise the game of cricket among the Emiratis and Arabs – especially those who watch Bollywood movies. It was good to see some of the popular Bollywood stars play cricket at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium – that will bring more crowd to this home of cricket.”

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