UAE at 50: Fifty images that have defined cricket in the country over half a century

The sport has blossomed in the desert and the emirate is now a premier cricket destination

It is a momentous occasion for the UAE with the nation celebrating its milestone Golden Jubilee. 'The Year of the 50th', which officially started on April 6 and will last until March 31 next year, will commemorate the incredible journey the UAE, its citizens and residents have made over the last 50 years.

The journey of cricket in the UAE has also seen a similar rise. For decades, the game was played in Sharjah - catering to the expat South Asian population. The UAE became a regular fixture in the international calendar, with the canopies of the Sharjah Stadium becoming the lasting image of cricket in the country.

Then, we moved into the 21st century. And so did UAE cricket. First came the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Then the Dubai International Stadium's 'Ring of Fire' a few years later.

By 2009, the UAE had three international standard cricket venues. And that played a big role in attracting top tier cricket to the country. It started with Pakistan shifting base to the UAE for close to a decade following the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team.

Then the Indian Premier League also came calling - first in 2014 due to elections in India and then in 2020 and again in 2021 due to the pandemic.

And today, the UAE has become the first non-Test playing nation to host a T20 World Cup.

A lot of cricket has happened in these 50 years. There are too many records, incredible moments of excellence, heartbreaks and controversies to enlist. However, there are a few that have stood out.

In the picture gallery above, we have put together 50 memorable images of cricket in the UAE that have come to define the sport in the region.

Here's to another 50 years of growth and prosperity.

Updated: November 6th 2021, 9:19 AM