Kuwait Cricket (KC), the sole official cricket controlling body of Kuwait managing the cricket affairs locally and internationally and operating under the auspices of Kuwait Olympic Committee, relaunched their Sulaibiya’s turf cricket ground, following a dramatic and beautiful facelift, with lush green outfield. This was followed by the inauguration of the OSN Cricket Cup.
The event was attended by cricket loving luminaries, particularly the Ambassador of Great Britain, H.E. Mr. Frank Baker as the chief guest together with the Ambassadors of Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Malta, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Dy. Chief of Mission of India to Kuwait. H.E. Mr. Syed Abrar Hussain of Pakistan could not attend as he was preparing to leave Kuwait but sent his best wishes along with Mr. Arif Butt, President Pakistan Business council, Mr. Hafiz Mohammed Shabbier, Member Overseas Pakistanis Advisory Council –OPAC (by Govt of Pakistan), Anjum Masood, Principal International School of Pakistan and Mrs. Zareena Ghulam Principle, Pakistan School and College, Salmiya.
Mr. Jeff de Lange, Chairman KC Council welcomed the guests. Mr. Haider Farman, the Gen. Secretary of the KC Board appraised the audience about the major activities of KC and the role played by KC in promoting cricket amongst Kuwaitis and expatriates alike. He thanked the KC President, Sheikh Dhari Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah for always motivating and encouraging the Board and the Council at all levels. Mr. Farman further said that it was a great achievement for Kuwait Cricket, which was established in 1996, to have been given status of Full Member by ACC and Associate Member by ICC in 2005. Since then Kuwait has organised 12 international tournaments successfully so far. He added that KC would soon have another turf cricket ground of their own at Sabahiya, amidst cheers from the cricketers. Mr. Asad Baig, Director General of KC briefed the guests about the major changes made to the Sulaibiya grounds, which included laying of the turf pitch, carpet grassing of the field and surrounding area, landscaping, boring of a dedicated water well, construction of water storage tank, pumping station with fully automated irrigation system etc. Added to this for the comfort of the players and the spectators are player’s dugouts and seating arrangements.
Mr. Iqbal Vanoo, the Director of Senior Domestic Cricket conducted then invited the guests to the cricket pitch for the official inauguration of the ground. Ambassador Mr. Frank Baker firmly struck the ball bowled by Ambassador Maj. Gen. Mohd. Ashab Uddin of Bangladesh, amidst applause from the spectators. All the ambassadors took turns in bowling or batting applauded by the spectators for their sportsmanship. Following this, Ambassador Mr. Frank Baker, in his inauguration speech recounted the number of KC events that he has attended and enjoyed being there. He said that he was delighted to see the progress made by Kuwait under Kuwait Cricket and wished KC all success in future growth of the game in Kuwait.
The OSN Cricket Cup-2014 was then inaugurated with the traditional cake cutting by Ambassador Mr. Frank Baker & Mr. Mahdi Al-Juma, GM of OSN, who were joined by all other ambassadors and VIP guests.
This occasion was made memorable by felicitating Mr. Iqbal Sikander, ACC’s Development Officer who had been assigned to Kuwait from 2002 till date. Iqbal is a well known international cricketer, who had the honour of being a member of the world cup winning Pakistan team under Imran Khan in 1992. Mr. Jeff de Lange gave a brief introduction to Mr. Iqbal Sikander and thanked him for his dedicated services and support to Kuwait Cricket. Mr. Haider Farman then presented him a memento in appreciation of his long association and services to Kuwait Cricket.
Mr. Haider Farman presented mementoes to commemorate this multi-event occasion, to H.E. Mr. Frank Baker, British Ambassador to Kuwait, H.E. Dr. Assadullah Hanif Balkhi, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Kuwait, H.E. Mr. Robert Tyson, Australian Ambassador to Kuwait, H.E. Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ashab Uddin, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Kuwait, H.E. Mr. Patrick Cole, Ambassador of Malta to Kuwait, H.E. Mr. Madhuban Paudel, Ambassador of Nepal to Kuwait, H.E. Mr. Delarey Van Tonder, Ambassador of South Africa to Kuwait, H.E. Mr. C.A.H.M. Wijayratne, Ambassador of Sri Lanka To Kuwait, Mr. Subhashis Goldar, Deputy Chief Of Mission-Embassy of India. Mr. Hafiz Shabbir collected the memento on behalf of Pakistan. Haider also presented a memento to Mr. Mahdi Al-Juma, General Manager of OSN as Kuwait Cricket’s formal thanks for sponsoring the tournament.
To complete the celebration, the KCS League and Under-16 Schoolboys tournament final presentations were also held. H.E. Ambassador Frank Baker and Mr. Haider Farman gave the winners’ cup to captain of Future Stars, Irfan, and Runners Up cup to captain of Petrofac, Nadeem Malik. Mr. Emad Jassam gave Player of the Final award to Faizan and Player of the Tournament award to Irfan of Future Stars. Major General Syed Mubarak gave winner trophy to Future Stars captain, Mohd. Waseef and M/S. Malabar Gold and Diamonds, the sponsor gave runners up cup to International School of Pakistan captain, Farooq Shehzad.
To conclude the ceremony, Mr. Jeff De Lange gave the vote of thanks, thanking the ambassadors, the VIP guests, the sponsors, OSN GM, Local Media, KTV 2 and KTV Sports, Radio Kuwait, Arab Times, Kuwait Times, Al-Hafiz-Media Partners, VOOC, Indians in Kuwait, Kuwait Up2date, Hala Pakistan, Foto Nine, Nawa-e-Waqt, Radio Kuwait, Paigham Risala, Hasan Photographer, The Times Magazine, Board & Council Members especially Tahir Khan, Amanullah Palekar, Riaz Choudhry, Murali Kutticode, Mehboob Khan, Iqbal Rajporker, Naeem Jan, Arjuna Amaratunga, and all the volunteers Mahmoud Ayub, Sheikh Aejaz ,D.G. Karunathilaka, Shoeb Syed, Jerald Pinto, Umesh Roy, who worked day and night to make the event successful. He Very specially thanked Kuwait Olympic Committee, Asian Cricket Council and International Cricket Council for their patronage and support to Kuwait Cricket. Lunch was served to all after the Friday prayer break.