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IPL 2020: When Sheikh Nahyan bowled a Googly about his favourite team

Anis Sajan/Dubai
Filed on September 28, 2020
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, interacts with BCCI Secretary Jay Shah. (IPL)

My Favourite team is the IPL and I wish all of the teams the best and may cricket be the winner, Sheikh Nahyan said

All of us who love and feel passionately about sports have our favourites. When the football World Cup knocks at our door, there is a sense of euphoria and for that one month, we spiritually become a Brazilian or an Argentinian because these two South American giants, thanks to the moments of pure magic from Pele and Maradona, have become the two most loved national football teams for all the neutrals in the world.

During seasons, sporting merchandise literally invades our lives. We put on our favourite team's jerseys and sip tea from mugs embosomed with team logos.

Similarly, there is a sense of euphoria in the UAE because this country with rich sporting tradition is now hosting the Indian Premier League, the greatest T20 cricket tournament in the world. An event that was facing cancellation due to the disturbing rise in Covid-19 cases in India has been given a shot in the arm by the UAE's help and support to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

So, it was natural for me to ask him about his favourite IPL team when I had the honour of meeting Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, who played a key role in bringing the IPL to the UAE shores.

Sheikh Nahyan had invited me to share his happiness over the UAE hosting the IPL, and I was simply overwhelmed seeing the passion this great leader has for cricket and sports in general. It's safe to say that without the help from the UAE, the most popular cricket tournament in the world would not have seen the light of the day this year.

It's not surprising then that this visionary leader, who has been tirelessly promoting the UAE as a world-class sporting destination, gave a beautiful answer - in fact, a Googly that got me clean bowled.

"My Favourite team is the IPL and I wish all of the teams the best and may cricket be the winner," Sheikh Nahyan said as we spoke on the teams and the importance of having such a prestigious tournament in the UAE.

"We are privileged and honoured to host the IPL in UAE. IPL has happened in UAE not because of me, but due to the excellent relationship between India and UAE, and more importantly the trust and respect between both the countries. The foundation of which was laid by the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and carried on by our rulers, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, who have ensured that the infrastructure in the UAE is best of the class and we are equipped well to combat the pandemic situation. All the safety protocols are being followed stringently to ensure the players' safety," Shaikh Nahyan said.

He also said that this iconic event taking place in the UAE will also help in boosting tourism in the country.

When asked if he sees the World Cup coming to the UAE, Sheikh Nahyan said: "I sincerely hope so. It will be our pleasure to host the World Cup in the UAE as we have great facilities to host the tournament."

Anis Sajan is the Managing Director of Danube Group


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