Timeframe: Ian Botham at the crease in Sharjah

England stopped off in Sharjah in 1983 on their way back Australia where they'd lost the Ashes

Ian Botham batting for an England XI during a match against a Pakistan XI at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah, 4th March 1983. The wicketkeeper for Pakistan is Wasim Bari. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Judging from this photograph, it's hard to believe the ground these two cricket legends are playing on was a crater in the ground three years earlier.

It’s March, 1983, at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium and England are playing Pakistan. Batting for England is Ian Botham, while the wicketkeeper is Pakistan’s Wasim Bari.

England had stopped off in the UAE on their return from Australia where they’d lost the Ashes series. The grounds were only built in 1980 with the support of the Ruler and some enthusiastic expatriates. It started hosting international cricket games in 1981.

Another legendary cricket player and Botham’s compatriot, Geoffrey Boycott, will be appearing at The Club in Abu Dhabi on January 10. Members and their guests can expect to hear Boycott’s tales from the crease and commentator’s box.

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