Kings XI Punjab stars Yuvraj Singh and Brett Lee showed they were fit and raring to go ahead of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) as they tested a new cricket pitch at The Sevens venue off Dubai-Al Ain Road.
Australian fast bowler Lee delivered the first ball which India's Yuvraj smashed towards the pavilion. Kings XI Punjab players Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Abdulla were also present.
Once completed, six pitches will be available for use at Emirates' dedicated sporting facility, which is expected to be a hub for the thousands of cricket lovers in Dubai who have not had a major meeting point since seven pitches in Al Jadaf made way for construction projects in 2006.
It will officially open on Friday when the Emirates team play their annual match against the UK charity side Lord Taverner's XI.
Yuvraj, last year's captain of Kings XI Punjab, the IPL team which Emirates sponsors, said: "I know how popular the game is here so to bat the first ball on a wicket that will be at the centre of Dubai cricket for years to come is very special. Hopefully, I will start playing in the next three days and get fit for the first game (IPL)."
Yuvraj has been sidelined with an injury for five weeks and said it was tough to come back and perform straightaway without match practice. "But I'm aware of the expectations."
Lee said he was relishing his first opportunity to play cricket since announcing his retirement from Tests.
"It was obviously a big decision but the right decision. It didn't just happen overnight. I feel I have more time to chase other dreams and aspirations," said Lee.
"It was tough. Test cricket's been big part of my life for several years. I really enjoyed it. Now I'm just looking forward to the IPL."
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