Dubai: What began just as a passion for the game has now become a serious affair. The Sindhi community, mostly comprising of businessmen, has a strong presence in the UAE and have always supported cricket mainly being sponsors.
But an initiative taken by the Sindhi Cricket Committee (SCC) to have a league of their own has evoked tremendous response from the community and the success was there for everyone to see in the inaugural edition.
“Sindhis are known for their social life. There is a lot of passion for this game among the Sindhi community and most of them were involved indirectly in the game,” Shiva Pagarani, one of the SCC members.
“We were playing many friendly matches earlier and there used to be a huge turnout for those matches. Then we came up with this idea of having a tournament for the community,” he added.
The first edition of the Sindhi Cricket Club which took shape under the auspicious of Dubai Cricket Council (DCC) made a humble beginning last year consisting of just three teams.
None would have expected the kind of response the inaugural tournament got with a huge crowd turning up for most of the matches especially for the final.
“We were overwhelmed by the response. It had to be seen to be believed and this further motivated us to turn this event into something serious,” Pagarani said.
“There was additional entertainment surrounding the final including face painting, set up a bouncing castle to keep the kids busy as their parents enjoyed the final,” he added.
So it did not come as a surprise when this year’s edition constituted of seven teams, a whooping four new teams. Similar to the Indian Premier League style, the teams were bought by top businessmen in the community and then the players were auctioned depending on their seeding.
The tournament will be held over a period of five months starting from September 2012 to April 2013 on every Sunday and Wednesday. It will be played on a 25-over format and the teams play each other twice before the best four go into semi-finals.
“We had just decided on six teams for this year, but the demand was so much that we had to include one more. We would be interested to have more teams in the future but time will be a big constraint.”
Honorary secretary of DCC, Mohammad Lokhandwala said: “It is an exceptional interest the Sindhi has shown. We have so many communities here and they have showed the lead and very quickly have organised the event. In just one year they have grown from three to seven.
“Most importantly, they are ready to invest in the game they love and make sure it’s top class tournament,” he added.