Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Series Moves to Abu Dhabi

With the series tied at 1-1, the stage is set for the Abu Dhabi leg of the Chapal Cup series between Pakistan and Australia.

Both the teams left Dubai on Friday night after their 2nd ODI and got to Abu Dhabi late at night.

They have been practicing at the Abu Dhabi Cricket Academy for the last 2 days and are set to clash in the 3rd ODI tomorrow at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket stadium.

After my 2 week stint at Dubai Sports City, I am also back in Abu Dhabi and will be witnessing the next 3 ODIs from the crowd as just a fan rather than as a part of the event management team.

The Dubai Sports City experience was awesome.

The media centre was buzzing with Pakistani and Australian journalists and a few Indian ones as well that worked for local dailies in the UAE.

The photographers area was crowded and right next to the Australian dressing room, so witnessing Tim Nielsen on the laptop, and the players mingling was intriguing.

The press conferences showed me how journalists put words in cricketers' mouths and how they keep pestering on the same thing again and again.

The post-match presentations were the best.

Standing right next to the players and hearing random stuff, like Shahid Afridi wondering why so many people were a part of the presentation party, was amazing.

Though being in the thick of things was a lot of fun, it was also hectic.

And since I was only hired by Dubai Sports City and not the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council, I am looking forward to being just a fan within the crowd at the cricket ground tomorrow.

I am supposed to report back to Dubai Sports City in time for the 20-20 on 7th May, however I have a big urge to witness the first ever 20-20 international in the UAE from the stands rather than from among the officials.

But we'll see about that when the time comes.

Coming back to Abu Dhabi, the news is that the pitch here is way more batsmen friendly than the one in Dubai.

If that is true, we may expect some high scoring games as that is what the fans are looking forward to.

With the series tied, the next 3 games are crucial for both sides, with tomorrow's being even moreso.

Shahid Afridi has had a great start to the series, while Andrew Symonds struck form in the previous ODI.

I feel tomorrow's result would depend a lot on which of these two plays the more instrumental role.

I'd be surprised if Shoaib Akhtar plays his 3rd consecutive ODI, but word is that he is raring to go and eager to pick a wicket up.

Pakistan is expected to go in with the same side, while Australia may bring in Stuart Clark or Ben Hilfenhaus instead of Ben Laughlin.

By the way, I heard an Australian journalist pronounce his name as "Lock-Lin". I always thought it was "Laugh-Lin". You know - laugh?

Also watch out for Ahmed Shehzad, the 17 year old Pakistan opener. He was unfortunate to be run out by Salman Butt in his debut game, but if he gets going tomorrow I can assure you that it will be a treat.

The Pakistan middle order comprising Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, and Misbah is due some runs and there's no better place than Abu Dhabi to get them as all 3 have very good records at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Make your pitch on this post...

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4 Pitched:

  1. Amy said...

    Yeah, it's "Lock-lin" but it would be funnier if it were "laugh".

    btw, do you still get to be in occasional contact with the players? Like, say, Shoaib? Getting a few words in, that sort of thing.

  2. Som said...

    You are having a whale of time, grudge you Q:)

  3. Q said...

    Yeah I do Amy.. I was at the practice session yesterday, where I chatted to a few. And the hotel they're staying at is right opposite my place in AD.. the last time they were here for the WI series in Oct-Nov, I chatted to a few at the lobby :-)

    But this time round they recognize me from the press conferences and Dubai net sessions.

  4. Q said...

    Its been awesome Som!

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