Manama : A meet and greet session organised at InterContinental Regency gave fans an opportunity to meet cricketers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and West Indies yesterday.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the Bahrain Cricket Festival 2017 that is all set to take place today at the Bahrain National Stadium under the Patronage of Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Representative of His Majesty the King for Charity Works and Youth Affairs, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, President of Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC).
The Cricket festival is an initiative by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Bahrain Cricket Academy (BCA) to promote cricket and boost the sports tourism in the country.
“All of us are here to promote cricket as a sport in the country and for now it is not about the teams we represent but about Bahrain. Through this, we are trying to promote the local players and boost cricket as a sport in the country,” Irfan Pathan who is heading the Irfan Eagles team told DT News.
“We want to promote the local players through this festival. We don’t have a proper academy or proper grounds now hence we are trying to raise awareness about this sport and show the people how beneficial this sport can be in promoting the country,” Arif Sadiq, one of the organisers of the festival said.
Our next idea is to establish cricket grounds in the near future and host an international cricket league and develop the sports sector in the Kingdom,” said Mr Khalid Al Haj, Assistant Undersecretary for Sports & Facilities, Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs.
The event will have cricket legends which include Misbah Ul Haq, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Imran Nazir, Sohail Tanveer, Rana Naveed, Irfan Pathan, Mohammed Ashraful, Mohammed Sharif, S. Sreenath, R.P Singh among other IPL players.
Former Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and Marlon Samuels of the West Indies are the other stars expected to take part in the festival match to be played today.
The event will feature entertainment programmes like march band, free-fall parachute display, fun zone activity, street magic and much more.
There will also be a ladies softball match, 6A-Side match (a match between the local players) and a T20 match with international cricket players.
Bahrain Cricket Academy has announced the short-listing of players for the International T-20 to be played with the International Super Stars at the National Stadium - Isa Town to inaugurate the first ever Bahrain Cricket Festival 2017.
The players short-listed are: Mohammed Sameer (Bahrain), Wasif Iqbal (Pakistan), Junaid Niazi (Bahrain), Imran Javed (Pakistan). Imran Anwar (India), Umer Toor (Pakistan), Abdul Jabbar (Pakistan), Nishant Bhat (India), Imesh Soza (Sri Lanka), Babar Ul Ali (Bangladesh), Anasim Khan (Pakistan) . Fiaz Ahmed (Pakistan), Ali Nasir (Pakistan), Yasser Nazir (Pakistan), Mohd Faisal (Pakistan), Mohd Rafey (Bahraini), Mohd Usman with the Manager Zulfiqar Ali, Asst. Manager Shahzad Akhtar,Coach: Azeem Ul Haq, and the Physiotherapist being Qasim Zia.