Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium

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Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium

The Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium is in the emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. It was originally constructed in the early 1980s and has been much improved over the years. In 2010, at the behest of local cricketing patron Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, the Sharjah Cricket Stadium became the home ground for the Afghanistan cricket team for One Day International and First-Class matches.

Test matches
One of the few Test Cricket Grounds at which a Test match has been played not involving a home country participant (and the only one in a non Test playing country) Sharjah was the venue for four Test matches in 2002. Because of security and safety concerns in Pakistan (following the September 11th attacks and its aftermath) the ground was chosen as a neutral venue to host two Test matches between Pakistan and the West Indies in February and two Test matches between Pakistan and Australia in October.

One Day Internationals
Between 1984 and 2010 the Sharjah ground was the venue for 200 One Day International's held as part of commercially sponsored one day tournaments involving three or four international teams. Sharjah was a popular venue attracting good crowds mostly from the South Asian population of the United Arab Emirates. The tournaments were organised by "The Cricketers Benefit Fund Series (CBFS)" which had been established in 1981 by Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, and whose main aim was to honour cricketers of the past and present generations from India and Pakistan, with benefit purses in recognition of their services to the game of cricket. The stadium initially started with a few limited seats and very modest facilities but by 2002 had a 27,000 capacity and floodlights. Since 2003 the increasingly crowded cricket calendar has precluded the holding of any major international matches at Sharjah although the stadium has been the venue for certain other matches, for example in the 2004 ICC Intercontinental Cup. A significant reason on why the use of Sharjah as an international cricketing venue has declined is due to the surfacing of match fixing allegations. This led to the Indian government banning the national cricket team from playing at Sharjah. Since then, the new 20,000 seat Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi has become the preferred venue for cricket in the UAE.

Controversies

Match fixing
Sharjah was at the centre of Sir Paul Condon’s investigations into corruption in cricket. Although the report did not conclusively single out the venue much controversy raged. BBC Cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said in 2001 : “Sharjah has been pinpointed as being the centre of this activity and, again, this is entirely plausible. I would swear under oath that two of the dozen or so matches I have witnessed on that desert ground over the years were fixed”. On the other hand Sharjah tournament organiser, and former Pakistan cricketer, Asif Iqbal denied this strongly :”To my mind, all the matches in Sharjah were fair and honest cricketing encounters”.

End names Pavilion End Sharjah Club End International information First Test January 31 2002: Pakistan v West Indies Last Test October 19 2002: Pakistan v Australia First ODI April 6 1984: Pakistan v Sri Lanka Last ODI February 18 2010: Afghanistan v Canada As of 23 August 2010 Source: Cricinfo: Sharjah Stadium Profile