Sharjah: The Sharjah Cricket Stadium played host to the inaugural Asia Cup in 1984 and it is ready to welcome the tournament once again when it hosts four key matches starting August 30.
The iconic venue announced major refurbishments last year, including an all-new VIP hospitality experience comprising 11 VIP suites and a state-of-the-art Royal suite.
As a founding member of the Asian Cricket Council, Abdul Rahman Bukhatir was instrumental in the initial success of this tournament and believes this was the first major step in the future ascendency of Asian teams in the cricketing hierarchy, not to mention Sharjah's reputation as a world-class cricketing venue and its inclusion in the Guinness World Records for hosting the maximum One-Day International matches at a single venue (245).
After a gap of 11 years, the fifth Asia Cup was also hosted for the second time in Sharjah in 1995. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh took part in that edition with India winning its third straight and fourth overall Asia Cup.
But Bukhatir and Sharjah have done so much more for Asian cricket than just play host.
In 2010, he offered the stadium to the Afghanistan Cricket Board who at the time didn't have the required turf facilities. Thanks to this access to world-class facilities, they were able to hone their skills and become a full member of ACC and ICC.
Over the years, Afghanistan has hosted Pakistan and Australia in bilateral games in Sharjah being their home venue, and it is a matter of great pride that they will be playing Bangladesh on August 30 in Sharjah.
"Come August 27, the 15th Asia Cup will take place in Sharjah and Dubai. It has been a very fruitful 40 years and I am delighted we are hosts again. The initiative begun in 1984 has paid off and I see it as one of my most satisfying achievements," said Bukhatir, the father of UAE cricket and founder of Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
"Life has really come full circle and we are so excited to be hosting the Asia Cup once again in 2022. Our stadium is globally renowned for breaking records, having the best fans and the most exciting finishes and I imagine this tournament will be no different. The stadium upgrades are complete and so is our team, so see you soon in Sharjah for another epic tournament," added Khalaf Bukhatir, CEO of Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The Asia Cup 2022 tournament will get underway in the UAE, hosted by Sri Lanka, from August 27.
Defending champions India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will be joined by a qualifier. The tournament will be played in a double round-robin and knockout format.
India and Pakistan will be joined by the winner of the qualifying tournament in Group A, while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are slotted in Group B.
A total of 13 matches will take place during the tournament with the final scheduled in Dubai on September 11.
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