Asia Cup 2022: UAE businessman gives away 270 match tickets to blue-collar workers

Staff of Danube Group spent countless hours online, waiting to purchase passes for employees — including for the highly-anticipated India-Pakistan clash


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Thu 25 Aug 2022, 3:20 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Aug 2022, 10:58 PM

A Dubai-based businessman has gifted free Asia Cup cricket match tickets to 270 blue-collar workers working in his organisation.

Anis Sajan, the vice chairman of Danube Group and well-known lover of the sport, said out of the 270 tickets distributed to the workers, 120 would be for the highly anticipated India-Pakistan match set to take place on Sunday, August 28.

Scores of cricket fans have been patiently waiting to get their hands on match tickets as they were sold out hours after they went on sale on Monday, August 15. However, despite the high demand, the tough-to-get tickets were distributed to workers along with free t-shirts, said Danube Group. Transportation to and from the stadium and food packages have been organised for the workers.

Tickets for Asia Cup were not readily available, said Sajan, who is fondly known as Mr Cricket. "The staff at Danube Group spent countless hours online waiting to get their hands on the tickets for the workers. It was a matter of right timing and luck. Though I was travelling when they were trying to procure the tickets, I was overseeing the matters constantly as it was a real challenge for the staff to buy them online," he said.

Sajan said giant screens had been installed across seven Danube Group warehouses in the Emirates for live viewing for workers who could not get their hands on a ticket. "Workers are a backbone of our business. Though the tickets are tough to find, most expatriates here can afford them. However, the same cannot be said for blue-collared workers," he added.

Highly anticipated India-Pakistan match

Cricket matches between India and Pakistan have become increasingly rare, even on neutral grounds, said Sajan. "Even when it does happen, only a select few can see the entire game live at the stadium. For the blue-collar workers who slog through the day to make ends meet, seeing such a game live is a distant dream," he added.

The India–Pakistan cricket rivalry is one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world. The growth of large expatriate populations from both countries around the globe led to neutral venues, including the UAE and Canada, hosting bilateral and multilateral One Day International (ODI) series involving the two teams. The teams have met during International Cricket Council (ICC) competitions.

Though hundreds of Danube Group staff would be watching the India-Pakistan match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Sajan chose to watch the game at his home with some close friends and family members. "I've been fortunate enough to watch cricket games in stadiums worldwide, including India, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Now, it is time for me to enjoy the game with my friends and family," he explained.

In addition to the India-Pakistan match, the cricket enthusiast will distribute tickets for other important Super four games. "Asia Cup organisers sold the tickets in a package of three. If we needed one match ticket, we had to buy them for three games," he added.

Regarding his plans for watching the India-Pakistan game, Sajan stated that he was more than happy to watch it at home, where he has arranged a screening with a group of his friends who are a mix of Indians and Pakistanis.

"UAE is probably the only country where the value of tolerance allows people of all nationalities to come together to celebrate such momentous occasions," he explained.

"When Pakistan won against India in the T20 match last year, I celebrated with my Pakistani friends. I cannot imagine celebrating like that in India or the same way in Pakistan. The rivalry in cricket is very intense," he stated.

Sajan added, "As much as I enjoy Bollywood films, I also enjoy watching Pakistani dramas, and vice versa for my Pakistani friends. Our office also has a diverse mix of nationalities, particularly Indians and Pakistanis, who all work and enjoy together." Sajan has planned a mini carnival in his house for friends who haven't been able to procure them. "We will have a live cooking counter, face painting, flags of both countries, and much more," he added.

Last year, Sajan gifted free tickets to 100 blue-collar workers for the most awaited ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan. "For me, this is more than just a CSR activity. It speaks volumes about my love for the game," he stated.


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