By Mudassir Raja
Cricket is not a sport but a passion for South Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. As large number of expatriates in Qatar comes from these countries, young boys and men can be seen playing cricket at every available open place in and around Doha.
The numerous leagues and tournaments taking place in Qatar shows a higher degree of competitiveness with both hard cricket ball and tennis ball. ‘Hyderabadis in Qatar (HIQ) Champions Trophy’ recently concluded with Chennai Cricketers team bagging the championship trophy.
The Chennai Cricketers team won the final match with seven wickets against MedGulf Cricket Club, played at Ras Abu Fontas Grounds.
As many as 18 teams took part in the tournament that lasted for two months.
In the final match, Medgulf Cricket Club put a small target of 91/9 in 15 overs which was easily chased by Chennai Cricketers in 11 overs with 95/3. Basker Balasingam, also adjudged as man of the match, knocked 39 runs on 13 balls, hitting five sixes and one four.
The tournament, organised by HIQ and sponsored by Dana World Contracting Company. The matches were organised with high competitiveness, sportsmanship and enthusiasm.
The winners and the runner-up teams received the wining trophy, medals and cash prizes from Syed Rafiullah Hussaini, Chairman of HIQ, a community group of Indian expatriates; and Srinivas Gadde, Managing Director of Dana World Contracting Company.
Talking to Community, Noushad Hussain, Captain of the winning team, said, “All teams really enjoyed playing with each other. It was a well organised tournament. The organisers had arranged online update of the results of all the matches. There was a live streaming of semi-finals and the final match as well. The organisers also had a mobile app to support the tournament.”
Speaking about the performance of his team, Noushad said, “Overall it was a smooth sailing for us. We won all our league matches before making it to the top. We faced no real challenge in the entire tournament except in the semi-final. The secret of our success is that we have very good all-rounders. In the short format of the sport, all-rounders are more important that the specialist ballers and batsmen.”
About the increasing interest of South Asian expatriates in cricket, he noted, “The majority of expatriate workers are from South Asian countries where cricket is an all-time favourite sport. You can see them playing the sport in Qatar and at every other open space on the weekends. A majority of talented players are blue-collar workers. They find both leisure and exercise in playing cricket. There is a lot of potential. If more and more grounds are made available for promotion of cricket, one day Qatar can form its own cricket team.”
Rafiullah said, “It is our social responsibility and our objective to have such kind of sports events. There has been an inclusive distribution of awards to the members of the winning team and the runner-ups. The organising committee also dedicated special awards for the most valuable players on the field.”
He added, “I congratulate all the participating teams for taking part in the league. I also congratulate Friends Cricket Club and United Asians Cricket Club for making it up to the semi-finals. This tournament is one of its own kinds in Qatar. We have introduced technical items in the league. There was live streaming, online scoreboard, and the app to keep the cricket lovers updated about the matches. In the next tournaments, we plan to introduce techniques that are newer and more beneficial. We would like to take cricket to a whole new level in Qatar. I also thank Srinivas Gadde and his company for sponsoring the tournament.”
Srinivas Gadde said, “I really appreciate the organisers for putting up such a successful tournament. It was not an easy task. It shows that the organisers have the required sportsmanship spirit and managerial skills. Sparing some time for cricket from their busy schedules is truly commendable.”
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