Football-loving Qatar gets a well-equipped cricket ground

A new stadium is being constructed in Qatar to boost the game AFP

Doha (Qatar): Jul 12, 2011

A well-equipped cricket ground capable of hosting level 4 and 5 tournaments as per Asian Cricket Council (ACC) norms has been built in Mesaieed, 45 kilometres from the capital, to boost the game in Qatar where football reigns supreme.

The cricket facility complete with a lush green outfield, players’ dressing rooms and spectators stands is part of a QR 22Million multi-purpose sports complex in Mesaieed Industrial City (MIC), (The Peninsula) daily reported today.

The top standard facility at MIC is about to change the way the game has been traditionally played here. It’s a quantum leap from the hard sand and stone grounds on which cricket has been played in Qatar for the past 40 years or so.

Today the game can be played in a sports stadium, on grass instead of sandy and uneven terrain.

The story of the new facility began four years ago when word about a new multi-purpose sports stadium spread among the residents of Mesaieed Industrial City (MIC).

The request was put forth before the authorities, and what followed constitutes the building blocks of cricket history in Qatar.

MIC Cricket Organising Committee Manager Maliq Omer Al Dafna said, “The scope of cricket is increasing with every passing day in Qatar. With the help of business fraternity and the right kind of investment, this sport can actually see its boom here.”

Almost every industry based in MIC has a cricket team of its own. With 23 major industries in which more than 6,000 expatriate professionals work, the organisers were hard pressed to seriously consider the construction of a large-scale cricket facility.

MIC Cricket Organising Committee President Ziyad Ghazi Al Zabet, said “We only wanted to serve the Mesaieed community. Along with sports such as football, basketball and handball, we decided to work on the cricket ground because we have an overwhelming majority of players and fans of this game in our community.”