More than six years after it hosted Indian Premier League (IPL) clashes, a revamped Sharjah Cricket Stadium is ready to greet players for the 2020 edition in UAE.
The iconic venue has played host to more ODI clashes (240) than any other venue in the world, and is all set to put its best foot forward for the T20 extravaganza, which gets under way on September 19.
Major enhancement work has been undertaken to beautify the stadium, with new canopies constructed to add a splash of colour. The Royal Suite and the VIP Hospitality boxes are some of the facilities to have undergone a major facelift.
While there is still no word on whether spectators will be allowed in the IPL, the latest renovations will certainly make for an enhanced viewing experience in the historic stadium.
With the tournament being played in the background COVID-19 pandemic, special sanitary measures have been implemented around the stadium to maintain the bio-secure bubble.
These include the player’s pavilion, practice facilities and the commentators box. The spruced-up facilities are already being put to use for training by a couple of franchises including the Rajasthan Royals.
Various renovations have taken place at the venue over the last few years, including a state-of-the-art gym and larger changing rooms.
“We are taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of everyone from players support staff to franchise owners and it’s our key aim is to keep that bubble intact right through the tournament,” said Waleed Bhuktir, Vice Chairman of the Sharjah Cricket Ground.
“No effort will be spared and we are going about it in a systematic and scientific way.”
The historic stadium has seen international cricket action for more than three decades now, with the first ODI played as far back as 1984.
Safety norms are being given the utmost priority in the lead up to the tournament which is expected to finish on November 10.
Sharjah is one of three venues set to host the eight-team competition, along with Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
It is all hands on deck in the Emirates to conduct the cash-laden franchise competition safely in a bio-secure bubble. Stringent measures have been put in place to ensure a seamless experience for both players and officials.
The UAE emerged as the front-runner to play host after the BCCI was forced to move the tournament abroad.
Sharjah was also among the selected venues when the initial matches of IPL 2014 were held in the UAE.
The fixtures for the IPL 2020 are yet to be revealed, although an announcement is expected soon in this regard.
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