If Christmas wasn’t enough to put the ‘normal’ Dubai workday out of kilter in most offices, the India-Pakistan T20, a guaranteed high-octane cricket match, has resulted in skeleton staff manning offices in the emirate today.
Cricket fever has gripped Indian and Pakistani nationals in the UAE as the two teams are set to battle it out at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy stadium from 5.30pm UAE time onwards.
Fans in Dubai may be charged up for the match – the first on Indian soil in five years – about to begin in a few hours, but managers in the city are not a happy lot today.
To begin with, a number of employees took off today as it is Christmas. To add to the managers’ woes, many employees left office early to watch the cricket match.
Even though the two countries will be at loggerheads only in the evening, die-hard fans do not want to miss even a single ball, and don’t wish to get stuck in traffic when the two rivals come face to face on the field.
“The traffic is much better as schools are off but I plan to leave the office early as my friends will come over and we want to watch it together,” said an Indian who works in a public relations agency in Dubai.
“Some had taken prior permission and I understand it’s Christmas, but work needs to go on. On top of that, we now have the Indo-Pak cricket match. Some people simply called in sick, adding pressure on those who are working today,” said a manager at a leading Dubai hotel who wished not to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
Those who worked are not very pleased about pitching in for their colleagues. “There’s no choice. People can celebrate Christmas in the evening and cricket match is not reason enough to skip work. I had to do mine and somebody else’s work today,” complained a photographer, who had to attend three events this morning.
Neighbours India and Pakistan have resumed cricketing ties after a gap of five years by playing two T20s and three one-day internationals (ODIs) in five cities in India over the next two weeks.
Pakistan did play the semi-final match of the ICC World Cup at Mohali in March 2011, but that was because India was a co-host – along with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
India is expected to play to its potential in front of more than 30,000 frenzied fans, especially after the thrashing it got in the Test matches against England.
On the other hand, Pakistan has reportedly geared up to give a tough time to the Indian team.
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