Tolerance Oval, Abu Dhabi's new cricket ground ahead of T20 World Cup Filed on July 1, 2021

The Oval was built seven years ago and has undergone an extensive renovation in the last four months. (Supplied photo)

Matt Boucher, CEO, Abu Dhabi Cricket. (Supplied photo)

The Tolerance Oval reflects the virtue of tolerance which is inherent in the UAE's culture

Having already cemented its place among the world’s greatest sporting destinations with its state-of-the art stadiums, the UAE has raised the bar again.

Just three-and-a-half months before the start of the T20 World Cup in the UAE, a brand new international standard cricket ground is ready to play host to global stars.

The ground, named Tolerance Oval to ‘reflect the virtue of tolerance which is inherent in the UAE’s culture’, will be available for the International Cricket Council (ICC) if the game’s governing body wishes to use it for the T20 World Cup (October 17-November 14).

With 12,000 capacity, the Tolerance Oval will be a wonderful addition to the UAE’s top-notch cricket grounds, with the Zayed Cricket Stadium (Abu Dhabi), the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and the Sharjah Cricket Stadium having already hosted international cricket as well as the premier franchise tournaments like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) over the years.

Matt Boucher, CEO, Abu Dhabi Cricket, said the Tolerance Oval, which sits next to the Zayed Cricket Stadium, the ground would be ready by September, a month before the start of the T20 World Cup.

“The new ground will be ready for international play from September 2021. We haven’t undergone renovation with a particular event in mind, but it’s definitely ready as a fourth UAE venue for any multi-format tournament from September 2021 onwards. We’re extremely grateful to be a venue for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and are excited at the season ahead,” Boucher told Khaleej Times on Thursday.

The Oval was built seven years ago and has undergone an extensive renovation in the last four months.

“Work began at the start of May this year, as part of a long-term strategic vision from Abu Dhabi Sports Council. We’ve used the oval for community multi-sport and junior activities over the past 24 months, which has been wonderful and exactly what our business and our community partners required at that time,” Boucher said.

The facility was also used by teams for training sessions during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE.

“We even hosted seven Asian Football Confederation teams on it for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup training requirements. But we really wanted to focus our cricketing masterplan on providing world-class - cricket-dedicated - cricket facilities for domestic playability and international training and playing purposes,” Boucher said.

“This results in three dedicated full-size cricket ovals and up to 25 international grass nets for domestic rotation and for our international guests.”

The Tolerance Oval will be armed with high-class floodlight facility by August and it already has the 7.5-metre tall camera gantries required for televised international matches.

“Also, the extensive perimeter grass banks around the playing area deliver a spectator capacity of 12,000, directly adjacent to the boundary LED advertising screen perimeter. It will be a tight viewing arena so fans can get right up and close,” Boucher said.

Having hosted 20 PSL matches recently at the Zayed Cricket Stadium where the quality of pitches allowed fans to enjoy many high-scoring thrillers, Abu Dhabi Cricket is confident of providing the sport with another wonderful ground.

“We are ready for an incredibly exciting Covid-secure season ahead. We can’t wait,” Boucher said.


Rituraj Borkakoty

A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers.

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