Abu Dhabi [UAE], July 5 (ANI): The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has in recent times become the cricket hub with more and more matches being scheduled in the region and this has put a lot of pressure on three grounds -- Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. As a result, Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADC) has been expanded its operations and has thrown open Tolerance Oval, a floodlit, broadcast-ready stadium, with five playing surfaces.
The stadium is yet to receive ICC accreditation, but the authorities expect everything to be in place soon. The UAE would be hosting the remaining matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and then it would also host the T20 World Cup between October 17 and November 14.
"If you speak to the best groundsmen in the world, they wouldn't want more than five international matches on each of their surfaces. Our main stadium is now broadcast-ready for seven strips, and the Tolerance Oval is broadcast-ready as well with five strips. So we have 12 broadcast-ready strips, that's 60 games," Matt Boucher, ADC chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo.
"Tolerance Oval is another international venue in the Emirates. It's not a 20-25,000 capacity ground. We have modelled it on the English county grounds and the Hagley Oval [in Christchurch]; we have grass banks around the perimeter, so 12,000 people at the most," he added.
Further talking about the expansion, Boucher said: "I can't speak on behalf of the ICC, but from our perspective, we wanted to increase our infrastructure. Our business was very different two years ago. We were hosting a lot of junior sport, junior football, and junior rugby, in our outer ovals. We made a dedicated decision at the beginning of this year that we wanted all our cricket facilities to return to cricket and be fully focussed on cricket. So we have overhauled everything, and it should be ready by the end of August."
"It's not with an event in mind, but for Abu Dhabi to offer a higher class of playing surfaces and dedicated cricket surfaces for the domestic community here and the international community too," he added.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday had confirmed that the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 will be staged in the UAE and Oman due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in India.
The BCCI will remain the hosts of the event, which will now be held in Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground, from October 17 to November 14.
The first round of the tournament, comprising the eight qualifying teams, will now be split between Oman and UAE. Four of these teams will then progress to the Super 12s round where they'll join the eight automatic qualifiers. (ANI)