UAE can lead in staging IPL-style Gulf Cup, says former India bowler

The ACC development officer believes the Emirates are best suited to organise a tournament with participation of atleast four local players.

The UAE can boast of impressive infrastructure for events such as the proposed Gulf Cup.
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Venkatesh Prasad, the former India fast bowler and now the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) development officer for the Gulf states, has floated the idea of staging an Indian Premier League-style Gulf Cup and has urged the UAE to take the initiative of staging the inaugural event.

Prasad believes the Emirates are best suited to play host since they already have the infrastructure and the experience of staging International Cricket Council and ACC competitions, with the aim of attracting players holding GCC passports.

"The idea is to get more local participation in cricket and I am sure a Gulf Cup with four local players in each team would create a lot of interest among both the nationals and the expatriates," Prasad said. "This competition shouldn't be restricted to the first team only but play at the age group as well, at the Under 16 and Under 19 level."

"I have discussed this with the officials involved in the sport whenever I visit the Gulf states and it is finally up to them to take it forward," he said.

"Here we are talking about six countries and if we can get them all, the tournament can be completed in one week, provided we have three grounds.

"The teams can play in a round-robin league, so every team would get to play five matches. And I would like to see the UAE take the lead and stage the inaugural tournament and from there onwards take it on a rotation basis."

Prasad's long-term ambition is for cricket to enter the Arab Games, a biennial championship in the Middle East with multiple sporting disciplines.

Sharjah Cricket Stadium played host to the first GCC Cup last year in which only nationals were eligible.

The second staging of the competition is expected to take place at the same venue, probably next month.