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The UAE will host a major ICC event for the very first time, with the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup UAE 2014 (ICC U19 CWC) being staged from February 14 to March 1.
The seven venues to be used for the tournament in the UAE are the Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; Abu Dhabi Oval 1; Abu Dhabi Oval 2; Sharjah Cricket Stadium; Dubai International Stadium; ICC Academy Oval 1, Dubai and the ICC Academy Oval 2, Dubai.
Australia hosted the inaugural edition of the ICC U19 CWC in 1988. The tournament was subsequently staged in South Africa in 1998, Sri Lanka in 2000, New Zealand in 2002, Bangladesh in 2004, Sri Lanka in 2006, Malaysia in 2008, New Zealand in 2010 and Australia in 2012.
Discussing what it means to the UAE to host the 10th edition of the ICC U19 CWC, David East, the Chief Executive of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), said: “It is a great honour for us to have been asked to stage this major event for the ICC.
“It is a very significant milestone in the development of the UAE’s profile in international cricket, and will showcase the country as an ideal destination for global events,” he said.
While the ICC U19 CWC is the first major global ICC tournament to be staged by the UAE, it has hosted several ICC-event matches in the past 12 months alone.
These include those of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2013, which was staged from 15-30 November, and the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2011-13 between Afghanistan and Ireland from December 10-13.
Apart from these, the country has also hosted the Asian Cricket Council U19 Asia Cup earlier this month.
It is also considered Pakistan’s second home. And, in recent times, Sharjah has come into the spotlight for becoming Afghanistan’s adopted home and ‘hosting’ its matches there.
Outlining why the UAE is a great choice for global cricket events, East said: “We are very fortunate to have three world class stadia in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, with all being very experienced at delivering regular international cricket.
“In addition we are very well positioned geographically with excellent transport, hotels and cultural activities, making travel to the country a simple and pleasurable experience for players and supporters alike.
“The weather in February should be perfect for the tournament, and with the UAE being one of the safest places in the world to visit, it makes for an ideal destination for international events such as this,” he added.
Seven venues will be used for the ICC U19 CWC UAE 2014.
Discussing their merits, East said: “In Abu Dhabi we have the iconic Zayed Cricket stadium together with two nursery ovals and a newly constructed pavilion to service them both.
“In Dubai, the stadium is a state of the art international venue with two further ovals at the ICC cricket academy - both floodlit, providing further options for hosting events.
“The Sharjah stadium boasts the world record for hosting the most one day international matches, and has excellent playing and practice facilities in its central city-location”, he added.
The Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi has staged five Test matches, 24 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and nine Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). The venue opened in 2004.
The Abu Dhabi Oval 1 hosted 13 matches of the ICC World T20 Qualifier 2013.
The Abu Dhabi Oval 2 was the venue for seven ICC World T20 Qualifier 2013 matches.
The Sharjah Cricket Stadium has hosted six Tests, 215 ODIs and nine T20Is since 1984. The venue holds the world record for the most ODIs staged above the Sydney Cricket Ground with 143.
The Sharjah Cricket Stadium, which didn’t host any international matches between April 2003 and February 2010, has re-emerged as one of the biggest cricket destinations in the last four years.
Youngsters playing there during the ICC U19 CWC 2014 can look forward to soaking in the experience and adding to the ground’s proud history - Inzamam-ul-Haq scored a record 2,464 runs in ODI cricket at the ground, while Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis both took more than 100 wickets there.
The Dubai International Stadium, which staged its first international match in 2009, has hosted six Tests, 12 ODIs and 29 T20Is.
It is lit by a special system of floodlights named the 'Ring of Fire' - the lights are fixed around the circumference of the round roof of the stadium, thereby minimising the shadows of objects in the ground and ensuring fielders don’t lose sight of the ball when taking high catches.
The ICC Academy 1 ground has hosted two ODIs and eight T20Is since 2012.
The ICC Academy 2 ground has been the staging ground for 26 T20 matches since 2012.
Explaining why playing in the UAE will be thoroughly enjoyable for those taking part in the ICC U19 CWC 2014, East said: “The playing and practice facilities are first class, and the quality of hotel accommodation in the UAE is internationally acclaimed.
“The retail, restaurant, cultural and leisure options available will keep everyone satisfied in their time away from the tournament as well, and this mix makes the UAE an ideal place to host global events,” he added.
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