The arena was filled with the excited chanting of thousands of fans who showed up at the Bahrain National Stadium last Friday to catch their favourite cricket legends in action.
A resounding success, the stadium was heavily occupied for The Bahrain Cricket Festival 2017 which saw former international cricket stars from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the West Indies coming forth to bring a match that was as entertaining as it was uplifting. Showcasing the skills and talent of young local players from the Bahrain Cricket Academy as well, who joined the veterans in the exciting T20 match, the festival has finally brought cricket to Bahrain.
The day-long event, which consisted of a range of entertaining activities including fireworks, skydive landing, marching band, carnival games, jumping castles, stage performances, street magic and tennis ball cricket for kids and more, was held under the patronage of Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Representative of His Majesty for Charity Works and Youth Affairs, chairman of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and president of Bahrain Olympic Committee, and in conjunction with Ministry of Youth and Sports and Bahrain Cricket Academy.
Aref Sadeq, one of the organizers of the festival, spoke of its success and how it has become a stepping stone towards bringing this highly popular game of sport to Bahrain. “The Bahrain Cricket Festival was no less than the Olympics that restarted after a very long time in 1896 in Athens, Greece with the same spirit of combining our Bahrain Culture with the culture of all the countries of the world through the medium sports and especially cricket. We hope that our performance and promotion will unite all nations throughout the world and show different countries that human side of nations that they may not be familiar with,” he said.
With Misbah Falcons winning the championship, enthusiastic spectators hope to catch more of such fascinating matches in the future. “It was thrilling and adrenaline charged through both the innings. The excitement and energy was great and I hope to see more of such friendly matches in the future,” Ali Salman who came with his family, shared with the Weekender.
United in sports
The players shared their views on this excellent initiative and how it will help to build bridges of better understanding.
“Cricket has always been a game of creating harmony and unity. It brings players of different backgrounds together to play with one universal goal. It is great to see such initiatives being taken in a country that is home to people from many different backgrounds.”- Misbah Ul Haq
“I am very excited to have come to Bahrain and see the energy of the people here and how they are eager to see more of this sport take centre stage on this island.”- Irfan Pathan
“The festival promotes sports and cricket is one of the most popular sports out there. I am honoured to be a part of this initiative and hope to see more of such friendly matches in the future.”- Marlon Samuels