IPL in UAE will lift spirits, says Indian cricket coach Shastri - GulfToday

IPL in UAE will lift spirits, says Indian cricket coach Shastri


Mahendra Singh Dhoni (right) walks to board a bus before a team practice at the MA Chidambaram Cricket Stadium. AFP

Mohammad Abdullah, Satff Reporter

Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri welcomed the UAE’s decision to host the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the time of pandemic on Tuesday.

Shastri was one of the distinguished panellists on a webinar forum, which also featured Noura Al Kaabi, Minister for Culture and Youth, UAE, and noted film director Shekhar Kapur. The forum was chaired by Navdeep Singh Suri, Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Centre for New Economic Diplomacy and a former Indian Ambassador to the UAE.

The forum titled, Arabian Sea Dialogues, was organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF) to discuss the deep-rooted ties of India with the Gulf countries, and UAE in particular.

“IPL will bring back the action and lift the spirits of the people. It will help people come out of the pandemic, which has hampered the whole world for a long time,” said Shastri.

“The Indian government has done a wonderful job by deciding to take the IPL to the UAE and the way UAE government has responded is also commendable.

“I remember when the IPL was held in the UAE in 2014, they did not leave any stone unturned to guarantee a smooth staging of the event and the response of the public was brilliant too,” he added.

The Indian government decided to shift the cash-rich cricketing event to the UAE in the wake of the rising coronavirus cases in the country of one billion plus.

Shastri said in these distressing times, when the people have been forced to stay inside their houses because of the coronavirus with no entertainment around, IPL will provide a welcome distraction for 51 days. The tournament will be held in the UAE from Sept.19 to Nov.10, 2020.

“This is so depressing. The world has not witnessed anything like this since the Second World War. With some cricketing action day in and day out, it will be a big relief and will lift the spirits of the people, which is much needed in such times,” explained the Indian coach.

“I think it is going to be a party time and I am delighted that it will be hosted by the UAE once again. They had put up a great show last time in 2014. They know what to expect and I think IPL is going to be a huge success,” concluded Shastri.

IPL fanchises will start arriving in the UAE from Aug.20. A Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings will take a shot at the title for the record fourth time. Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket recently but will continue to play in the IPL.

The first leg of the IPL was held in the UAE in 2014 in the wake of general elections in India as the then home minister Sushilkumar Shinde refused to ensure the security to the players.

A hosts of other topics were also highlighted during the discussion which included media, sports, entertainment, the onset of Artificial Intelligence (AI), financial and emerging markets, trade and investment, renewables and energy efficiency and the future of retail.

Al Kaabi highlighted the strong bond between India and GCC countries, manly the UAE.

“India shares a very special bonding and relationship with the GCC countries. We believe in co-existence and tolerance,” said Al Kaabi.

“Without sports the thrill of the life was missing. I am not an expert but hope we will have a safe and sound IPL and all the safety measures will be taken to ensure a smooth event,” she added.

Meanwhile, the IPL on Tuesday named Indian fantasy gaming company Dream11 as its lead sponsor, replacing China’s Vivo, which was dumped following a deadly border clash between the countries in June.

IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said that the four-month deal for sponsoring the glitzy Twenty20 cricket tournament was worth almost $30 million.

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