The Sharjah cricket stadium, which will host 10 IPL matches before the T20 World Cup, has announced major upgrades in the run-up to the lucrative league, which will be played from September 19 in the United Arab Emirates.
The first half of the IPL 2021 was played in India earlier this year, before it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BCCI then decided to shift the remaining matches to the UAE and they will be played at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
"The newly re-laid wicket block will now accommodate six pitches in the centre, including four broadcasting and two practice pitches. They are currently building a new practice facility with four turf wickets and four astro-turf wickets to accommodate multiple teams during practice sessions. These will be ready in time for the IPL," a media release issued here stated on Saturday.
Among other facilities, a new state-of-the-art 'fit capital gymnasium', the indoor swimming pool, steam, and sauna area have also been upgraded. Moreover, there are 11 new VIP suites, a new VIP grand dining area and improved hospitality facilities at the top tier of the pavilion end.
"Sharjah's atmosphere or as we like to call it the 'Sharjah magic' is what differentiates the stadium from any other cricketing venue in the UAE," said Khalaf Bukhatir, Managing Director of Bukhatir Group and CEO of Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
"This was no more evident than at last year's edition when we played host to some of the most exciting moments of the IPL," Bukhatir added.
"We still don't know if we are welcoming cricket fans into the stadium this IPL, but we are certainly ready and looking forward to hosting some world-class cricket in a world-class, safe and secure environment," he said.
The first game here will be played between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 24. The stadium will also host Qualifier 2 on October 11 and the Eliminator on October 13.