Exclusive: IPL 2020 could inspire Emirati women to play cricket
The Rajasthan Royals Academy, Barthakur said, would be keen to sponsor top six junior women's cricketers in the UAE
With their fairytale win in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League, the Rajasthan Royals played their part in making IPL the biggest cricketing brand in the world.
Now 12 years after those stunning scenes in Mumbai following the Shane Warne-led team's unforgettable win over the Chennai Super Kings in the 2008 final, the Royals are hoping to inspire Emirati women to play cricket.
Not that the women in the UAE have shied away from the game.
The country's women's team have already graced many an international stage.
But with the IPL 13 and the Women's T20 Challenge happening in these shores, the Royals, according to their chairman, Ranjit Barthakur, would be happy to provide all the support needed to take the women's game in the UAE to the next level.
"We have visited the Dubai Sports Council and met Mr Saeed Hareb, Secretary General. We have offered them our support," Barthakur told Khaleej Times.
The Rajasthan Royals Academy, Barthakur said, would be keen to sponsor top six junior women's cricketers in the UAE.
Ranjit Barthakur, chairman of Rajasthan Royals. - KT photo
"We want Dubai to be the centre of excellence for children's cricket and women's cricket. We have offered from the Royal Academy at the Rajasthan Royals to sponsor every year six female players below the age of 18 to train in India as we want to do our bit to help women's cricket in the UAE," Barthakur said.
"One of the best things the BCCI have done is to bring the women's T20 Challenge this year to the UAE. That would be a great help in creating enthusiasm."
Barthakur feels the participation of Emiratis would boost the women's sport in the UAE.
"It is very important to understand, that the Emirati people must also play cricket. The UAE is such a diverse country with so many nationalities living here. They do provide here everybody with equal opportunity. So if we can promote Emirati cricketers, it will go a long way in promoting cricket here. I think they have a fantastic establishment."
The 66-year-old Barthakur then saluted the UAE's leaders for their vision.
"We have been inspired by the vision and ambition of this country and its great leaders.
Also, don't forget the role played by Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, the man who brought cricket to the UAE all those years ago with the iconic Sharjah tournaments," Barthakur said.
And the Dubai Sports Council, Barthakur says, are 'the right people to nurture women's cricket'.
"The nurturing of women's cricket is critical and there can be nobody better than the Dubai Sports Council to encourage women's cricket. I do hope it does spread to the rest of the emirates to get Emirati people involved in it because there is a certain finesse when women play cricket, it's so beautiful to watch. So, we from the Royal Academy, would be really glad to help women's cricket in the UAE."
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