As the worlds finest went down to bowl the first over of the Cricket World Cup tournament 4,500 miles away in England, an equally competitive tournament of the street players was making its headway in Dubai.
The game might somewhat look similar, with two sets of wickets, two batsman and ball being preset, although the ball is a tennis ball that’s covered in plastic tape; however, street cricket is a world away from the glitz and glamour of the international cricket tournament.
At the first Gillette Ramadan street cricket tournament, rivalry is fierce with 32 of the UAE’s finest teams vying for a share of $15,000 worth of prizes.
For Sri Lankan all rounder Mohammad Nafeel, 28, street cricket is the highlight of his week. Like his friends, Mohammad spends Friday mornings by playing against the rival teams of street players on the dirty wastelands and desert areas on the brink of Dubai.
Over 350 amateur players from Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan have came down on two newly built pitches next to Global Village, an abandoned car park which has been re-imagined for the four-day tournament. The tournament structure is in the form of a knockout format, with the first round of games taking place on Thursday night.
Each match is going to be one hour long, and with each team batting just six overs each. The winning team of each game heads to the next round, with the losing team going back home.