Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will undergo major upgrades before its first Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 match takes place.
IPL teams Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore will face each other on 24 September in the second half of the IPL season, after it was initially postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Games from the first half of the league were held in India earlier this year, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to move the remaining games to the UAE to be played across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. It is still not known if fans will be present at the IPL games.
A statement read: “The newly re-laid wicket block now accommodate six pitches in the centre, including four broadcasting and two practice pitches.
“They are currently building a new practice facility with four turf wickets and four astro-turf wickets to accommodate multiple teams during practice sessions. These will be ready in time for the IPL.”
Other upgrades to the stadium include a new gym, an indoor swimming pool, steam and sauna area, as well as 11 new VIP suites and a grand dining area.
Khalaf Bukhatir, managing director of Bukhatir Group and chief executive of Sharjah Cricket stadium said: “Sharjah’s atmosphere or as we like to call it the ‘Sharjah magic’ is what differentiates the stadium from any other cricketing venue in the UAE.
“This was no more evident than at last year’s edition when we played host to some of the most exciting moments of the IPL.”
Bukhatir added: “We still don’t know if we are welcoming cricket fans into the stadiums this IPL, but we are certainly ready and looking forward to hosting some world-class cricket in a world-class, safe and secure environment.”
Sharjah will hold 10 Indian Premier League matches before it is set to hold games for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which is taking place across the UAE and Oman.