SHARJAH: Don’t let the name fool you, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is a truly global brand and phenomenon.
Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision to host the league in the UAE due to security concerns in Pakistan means a plethora of cricket fans in the country have been consigned to watching the game only on their TV sets.
But — taking place in the melting pots of Dubai and Sharjah — the league has developed a fan base that defies borders and conventions.
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Indian and Bengali cricket fans can be seen supporting their favourite franchises in the stadiums of Sharjah and Dubai, watching on just as passionately as the Pakistanis alongside them.
24-year-old Prakash Chilwant, waiting in the winding line to buy a PSL match ticket in Sharjah, talks of his passion for the sport. “I am here to support cricket as a sport. I am a big fan of cricket and just cannot miss any of the action anywhere.”
Chiwant, who moved from Dubai a year ago, says he was missing the feeling of watching a live game. “I don’t know much about Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United, but I hope the match will be of the highest quality.”
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Chilwant’s compatriot Priay Sehdev, also a Sharjah resident, feels Indians are attracted to cricket regardless of where it is being played.
“In the PSL you get to see some of the biggest names in world cricket, so I and my friends will watch all the matches taking place in Sharjah,” she said.
While Indian players are not part of the PSL, Bangladeshi players are; piquing the interest of the giant cricket-mad nation.
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“I read in the news that [Bangladesh all-rounder] Mahmudullah was named in the Quetta side in place of Brad Hodge so I came here to support him,” said 28-year-old Sumon Parvez. “It is great that the PSL is taking place here in the UAE and we have players from the Bangladesh side featuring in the teams. I will watch as many matches as I can since so far all the games have been very interesting.”
Cricket, as always, continues to bridge gaps and unite all those who love the sport.