Rod Marsh, the director of cricket at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, is excited by the opening of the new Dubai Sports City stadium.
Rod Marsh, the director of cricket at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, is excited by the opening of the new Dubai Sports City stadium.

Marsh bowled over

DUBAI // Rod Marsh saw everything worth seeing on his travels around the world as an all-conquering Australian but the wily old wicket-keeper confesses to being blown away by the brilliance of the new stadium he is about to start working in at Dubai Sports City (DSC).

Marsh, 61, is director of cricket at the enormous new complex, and is convinced his job is going to be made easier by what he expects to be an upsurge of interest in the game in the UAE following the official opening of of the new arena on Wednesday. "For the first time in several years I got goose bumps," said Marsh about experiencing the "wall of fire" that the ultra-modern floodlights create at the ground.

"I have not been a great watcher of cricket since I retired but I can't wait to watch the first competitive match in Dubai." That will be when the Australians, who have followed Marsh to the Middle East, take on 'hosts' Pakistan in the first of a series of five one-day internationals next week. "It is ironic that I am here in my coaching role and Australia will be first users of the stadium along with Pakistan," said Marsh.

"When other nations see what it is like here, I hope they will want to play too. It would be brilliant if one day Australia and England could meet head on in Dubai. "I don't now how it could work but perhaps the ICC [the International Cricket Council] could have a Champions Trophy or even a World Cup here one day." Marsh called it "a dream come true" to witness the gradual development of the new stadium to the point where it is now ready for use.

"When I came here in 2005 this site was a camel farm," he reflected. "The first thing we saw to rise from the soil was the stadium. To think that is is going to have international exposure on April 22 gives you a warm feeling that the dream is starting to come true. And this is only the first part of that dream. "If I was still an international player I would be dying to play in that stadium. It is one of the most exciting grounds I have ever set foot in. The boundaries are short enough to take on but long enough to hole out."

Marsh is particularly impressed with the DSC floodlights which circle the playing arena. "The lighting out there doesn't cast any shadows," he said. "I went all round the ground and got people to hit balls to all corners and got a good view of each shot. "If anybody drops a catch in the outfield there it won't be the fault of the lights, it will be the fault of the catcher. You don't lose the ball in these lights."

Marsh was non-commital about the outcome of the five match series - the first two at DSC and the ensuing three at Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium - because of his country's recent failure against South Africa and the fact that Pakistan will have an influence on the playing conditions as the 'home' team. Marsh remarked: "The pitch for the practice matches had some grass. "I think the Pakistanis, as the home team, will request that the grass is removed and that's fine. I just hope they don't take all the grass off it and leave nothing in it for the bowlers.

"Whatever the conditions, I'm sure that it will be a fantastic series. I just wish I was playing in it."

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Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8



The bio

Academics: Phd in strategic management in University of Wales

Number one caps: His best-seller caps are in shades of grey, blue, black and yellow

Reading: Is immersed in books on colours to understand more about the usage of different shades

Sport: Started playing polo two years ago. Helps him relax, plus he enjoys the speed and focus

Cars: Loves exotic cars and currently drives a Bentley Bentayga

Holiday: Favourite travel destinations are London and St Tropez


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
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Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

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Torque: 300Nm at 1,900rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

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