Butt — the Man who has Seen it All at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium

ABU DHABI — As the Sharjah Cricket Stadium hosts its 200th game, there is one man who has seen it all. Sixty-one-year-old Tariq Butt has been part of history in the sense that he has seen the birth of cricket in the UAE and has seen it grow.

Follow us on Google News-khaleejtimes

By James Jose

Published: Fri 19 Feb 2010, 12:25 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:31 AM

Tariq Butt is a senior umpire and more importantly has been the dressing room in-charge and fourth umpire at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

He was thrilled that the Stadium would be hosting its 200th game.

Afghanistan take on Canada in an ODI on Thursday. “I feel proud and priviledged to have witnessed all the games including four Test matches here,” Butt told the Khaleej Times. Butt has played first class cricket in Pakistan.

Pakistan played Australia in two Tests in 2000 and two Tests against the West Indies in 2002.

“It is a world record that the Sharjah Cricket Stadium has hosted 200 games. I got an opportunity to meet so many cricketers as well as umpires like Dickie Bird, David Shepherd, Simon Taufel and Aleem Dar,” Butt, who hails from Lahore Pakistan, said.

Butt felt it would have been great had it been an India vs Pakistan game. “It is a great moment but it would have been sweeter if it was an India vs Pakistan game or an India vs Sri Lanka game or a Pakistan vs Sri Lanka match. That would have been wonderful,” said Butt, who is an Health Inspector with the Dubai Health Authority of the Government of Dubai. Among some of the anecdotes which Butt spoke about was India’s Sachin Tendulkar’s fondness for paratha omelette sandwiches. “Tendulkar would always ask for paratha omelette sandwiches,” said Butt.

Butt recalled the hundred by Tendulkar against Australia which was stopped in between due to a sand storm. “Another moment was the match between India and Australia where Tendulkar scored a big hundred. During the changing of the ball, Allan Border joked if there was an anti-Tendulkar spray,” said Butt.

“During that same series, Shane Warne wanted to meet Tendulkar. It is a rarity that players go to other teams’ dressing room during games.

Tendulkar was in the dressing room. I went to Tendulkar and told him that someone wanted to meet him. And then I told him it was Warne. Tendulkar came out and met Warne and Warne asked him for an autograph on his T-shirt. That was great to see that a great spinner like Warne was asking for an autograph from Tendulkar,” Butt said.

Butt has been witness to games even before ICC staged events. He saw the game between Intikhab Alam XI vs Sunil Gavaskar XI in March 1981.

It was only in 1984-85 that official games were staged in Sharjah. Butt has some souvenirs given by cricketers. He has a India team tie which was given to him by Sandeep Patil.

More news from