Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium
ODI at Sharjah in 1998 (Australia v India)
|Location||Sharjah, United Arab Emirates|
Sharjah Club End
|First Test||31 January 2002: Pakistan v West Indies|
|Last Test||3–7 November 2011: Pakistan v Sri Lanka|
|First ODI||6 April 1984: Pakistan v Sri Lanka|
|Last ODI||11 November 2013: Pakistan v South Africa|
|As of 13 November 2013
Source: Cricinfo: Sharjah Stadium Profile
The Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium (Arabic:لشارقة جمعية ملعب الكريكيت) is in the emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. It was originally constructed in the early 1980s and has been much improved over the years. In 2010, at the behest of local cricketing patron Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, the Sharjah Cricket Stadium became the home ground for the Afghanistan cricket team for One Day International and First-Class matches.
One of the few Test Cricket Grounds at which a Test match has been played not involving a home country participant (and the only one in a non-Test playing country) Sharjah was the venue for four Test matches in 2002. Because of security and safety concerns in Pakistan and its aftermath) the ground was chosen as a neutral venue to host two Test matches between Pakistan and the West Indies in February and two Test matches between Pakistan and Australia in October.
The fifth Test match held at the ground took place in November 2011, as the third Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The other games in the series were played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi and Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
One Day Internationals
Between 1984 and 2003 the Sharjah ground was the venue for 206 One Day Internationals held as part of commercially sponsored one day tournaments involving three or four international teams. Sharjah was a popular venue attracting good crowds mostly from the South Asian population of the United Arab Emirates. The tournaments were organised by "The Cricketers Benefit Fund Series (CBFS)" which had been established in 1981 by Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, and whose main aim was to honour cricketers of the past and present generations from India and Pakistan, with benefit purses in recognition of their services to the game of cricket. The stadium initially started with a few limited seats and very modest facilities but by 2002 had a 27,000 capacity and floodlights.
Since 2003 the increasingly crowded cricket calendar has precluded the holding of any major international matches at Sharjah although the stadium has been the venue for certain other matches, for example in the 2004 ICC Intercontinental Cup. It has also been used by the Afghanistan national team since 2010. A significant reason for the decline of Sharjah as an international cricketing venue is match fixing allegations. This led to the Indian government banning the national cricket team from playing at Sharjah. Since then, the new 20,000 seat Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi has become the preferred venue for cricket in the UAE. The Guinness Book of Records acknowledged the achievement of Sharjah cricket stadium for hosting the most number of one-day matches during the Pakistan and Sri Lanka encounter on Sunday 20 November 2011.
Sharjah was at the centre of Sir Paul Condon’s investigations into corruption in cricket. Although the report did not conclusively single out the venue much controversy raged. BBC Cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said in 2001 : “Sharjah has been pinpointed as being the centre of this activity [match fixing] and, again, this is entirely plausible. I would swear under oath that two of the dozen or so matches I have witnessed on that desert ground over the years were fixed”. On the other hand Sharjah tournament organiser, and former Pakistan cricketer, Asif Iqbal denied this strongly:”To my mind, all the matches in Sharjah were fair and honest cricketing encounters”.
- Cricinfo: Sharjah Stadium Profile, Retrieved 23 August 2010.
- Cricinfo: Sharjah named Afghanistan's new home ground, Retrieved 23 August 2010.
- "Fixtures, Schedule | Global". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- "Sharjah cricket stadium enters Guinness Book of World Records.". Cricket Country. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- BBC Sport: J.Agnew Report, Retrieved 23 August 2010
- Rediff: Asif Iqbal Interview, Retrieved 23 August 2010