Sharjah: Tickets for the one-off match between Afghanistan and Australia here will go on sale on August 15, with the minimum price likely to be Dh50, according to sources at the Emirates Cricket Board.
The One Day International (ODI), to be played on August 25, has already evoked huge interest among the UAE’s expats.
Ever since Australia confirmed for the game, which will be a curtain-raiser for their series against Pakistan in the UAE in August-September, it has evoked extremely positive responses from the game’s officials.
“We have already seen Pakistan play Afghanistan in Sharjah this year in a high-quality match and we must commend Australia for creating this opportunity. It has always been willing to contribute to development by playing against AM [associate member] nations, as they recently showed when they played against Ireland,” Alac Isaac, the new President of the International Cricket Council (ICC) said.
The match, to be held under lights at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, will be the 205th to be hosted by the Sharjah Cricket Club at the venue, which has already entered the Guinness Book of World Records for staging the highest number of ODI games anywhere in the world.
Afghanistan’s home ground
The stadium is the current home ground for the Afghanistan national team, who have improved steadily in the shorter form of the game and have also qualified for the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.
“Afghanistan has a national team that is definitely on the rise and we can put our hand out. I think it’s the responsibility of every cricket-loving country to develop the game and to reach out to a country in need,” Waleed Bukhatir, vice chairman of the Sharjah Cricket Club, said.
“We will continue to support cricket in Afghanistan and hope their matches against top teams in the world will go a long way in honing the competitive edge of a team which has unified the nation in unprecedented fashion.
“We are grateful to Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, chairman of ECB [Emirates Cricket Board], for all his initiatives in supporting cricket. Today, the Sharjah Cricket Stadium is a household name and we expect to host more such international games in the near future.”
Support for associate members
The ICC Development Programme and Cricket Australia, he said, deserved to be applauded for strongly supporting emerging associate member countries in developing their skills. “Everyone in world cricket is really impressed with how cricket has flourished in Afghanistan despite its pressing national problems,” James Sutherland, chief executive of Cricket Australia, said.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive officer Dr Hamid Shinwari said: “As one of the new cricketing nations, we are grateful for the opportunity to play against one of cricket’s first and greatest nations.”