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    UAE thrilled to be hosts of IPL, says Shaikh Nahyan

    The IPL here has reunited them with their native India, says Shaikh Nahyan

    The Indian Premier League has taken the UAE desert by storm. The Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) chief for the IPL Sunil Gavaskar said that he was “blown away.”

    And Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Culture, Youth and Community Development, and the Chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) said that the UAE were thrilled to be hosts and said that India were a “very good friend of the UAE.” Shaikh Nahyan has been a keen follower of the IPL, criss-crossing across the three venues — Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, to watch most of the games.

    Shaikh Nahyan arrived at the Shaikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium to watch the final game in Abu Dhabi between the Rajasthan Royals and the Kolkata Knight Riders.

    “The IPL matches have communicated the joy and the enthusiasm of the UAE. We have been thrilled with the exciting matches and we will be carefully watching our favourite teams when they continue playing in India. I’m confident that our international guests have felt comfortable in our community. The UAE has a sizeable population from every cricket-playing country in the world. They have been able to support their players,” Shaikh Nahyan said during the innings break.

    He reiterated the UAE’s friendship with India. “Almost 17 and a half percent of the world, which is 10 million Indians, work and live in our country. They have contributed immensely to the development of the UAE. And they have retained their affection for cricket. The IPL here has reunited them with their native India, a very good friend of the UAE,” Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, said to a massive applause from the crowd present at the Stadium.

    “We are grateful to the support of our leaders. The superb IPL teams have heightened the excitement for cricket in the UAE. Our country is anticipating a good showing from the UAE in the World Cup in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand,” Shaikh Nahyan added. He also quoted the greatest cricketer of all-time — Sir Donald Bradman.

    “I would like to quote Sir Donald Bradman, ‘May cricket continue to flourish and spread its wings. The world can only be richer for it.’ The wings of cricket have spread across the UAE. (Sunil) Gavaskar and the BCCI, the IPL franchises have given us eight international teams of sensational cricketers and enchanted us for 15 days. On our cricket pitches, we have seen vivid evidence of the skilled competitors performing as a global citizen. The rules of the game have guided behaviour. The spirit of the game has elevated behaviour. Competitors have shaken hands and left the field educated in their abilities. Players and fans alike have seen a way to a better world. I offer special greetings to all of you who have been associated with these matches. I applaud your commitment, perseverance and you love of the game.”

    (Khaleej Times)

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