A magnificent new cricket facility which will cater to the "common man", especially residents of northern Emirates, has sprung up on the outskirts of Ajman.
The Ajmal Oval cricket ground which was officially inaugurated by members of the Pakistan cricket team on November 25, is designed to improve cricket at grass roots level.
"It's another feather in cap as far as UAE cricket is concerned. This new ground will help develop better cricketers. Right now such developments really help us because cities are getting too clogged. We need to have such facilities for future growth of cricket in this country. It's a wonderful achievement by people who are behind it," said Mazhar Khan, a veteran UAE cricket administrator.
The ground, which is affiliated to the Ajman Cricket Council, was inaugurated by Majed Othman Al Nuaimi Head of Survey Department, Ajman Municipality, along with Pakistan cricket coach Waqar Younis, Pakistan manager Moin Khan, Pakistan captain Misbah Ul Haq along with Younis Khan, Mushtaq Ahmed, Emirate Cricket Board officials and other UAE council heads.
It is a dream come true for five cricket-mad entrepreneurs who banded together to make it a reality after conceiving the idea of making a ground which is situated seven kilometres off Mohammed Bin Zayed Road.
Khalil Ghulamnabi, Aamir Sarfraz, Salman Ahmad, Rashid Ghulamnabi and Shujaddin Chaudhry are all the Executive board members of the Ajman Oval that boasts of four turf wickets that easily match the international standards.
They have been laid using the renowned Nandipur clay from Pakistan and are prepared by Pakistan Cricket Board trained and recommended curators. The stunning lush green outfield is filled with specially laid Bermuda-grass while the pavilion is designed giving it the Arabian touch.
"Always had a passion that cricket should start at grassroot level. We always had it in heart that someday people will promote it from grassroot level. There was nothing for common man. This is a venue for a common man to come play his cricket," said Ahmad, a long-time Dubai residents who has memories of playing cricket on cement and mud grass wickets.
"Always had a dream I should come up with a facility which would have better playing conditions in northern Emirates. We are all cricketing friends and I came up with this idea. We started building in February end and time now to make it roll," said Sarfraz.
"We are looking to cater more for carnivals, festivals then with professional cricketers. We want professional cricket to be played supporting the amateurs, schools, academies so they can play cricket in better conditions in Ajman because northern Emirates is not rich in ground conditions. This is going to be leeway to come up and play turf cricket," he added.
Spacious dressing rooms and dug outs provide the players sufficient space to settle down comfortably while the scorers’ room stands out due to its unique designing. Furthermore, the large side screens, the high-powered floodlights and the digital scoring board give the ground a perfect international touch.
Among the other distinctive facilities, a mosque has been constructed inside the oval while several mounts with barbecue area give spectators an ideal place to relax and enjoy a game of cricket.
To further beautify the ground, lot of palm and neem trees have been planted other than the attractive gardening laid in patches at every corner of the ground.
The oval will also have an in-house cricket academy and has three practice wickets that will be expanded to six in the near future.
A coffee and sports shops will also be added to ensure everything is available under one roof. Ample parking space has also been accommodated just outside the ground.
“We have taken lot of effort to ensure the New Ajman Oval Cricket Ground meets the highest standards. The wickets are prepared in consultation with professional curators and we are confident it will produce some great results in the future. We have the automatic and zero level pitch grass cutting machines used for international matches,” said Development Officer Moin Mohammed, who is also the Director of Cricon, which is marketing and the consultant partner of this ground.
“The New Ajman Oval Cricket Ground has been designed keeping everything related to cricket in mind. A lot of hardwork has gone to ensure we have one of the best grounds in the region. We are hopeful cricketers will enjoy playing in our facility and hope to see a lot of action here,” said Rashid Ghulamnabi, Executive Board Member.
“The floodlights, scoreboards, pavilion all are designed according to international standards. We also have guaranteed the players get their space with spacious dressing rooms. We hope they enjoy using our facilities,” Rahim Shad, also the Chief Executive Officer of the Oval.