Not content with three turfed-grounds when all but one of their neighbouring Gulf states have none, Kuwait are about to unveil their fourth in time for the start of the new cricket season in October in Sulaibiya.
"It has been a great effort by many people but the demand is there for cricket in Kuwait and we are very keen that we satisfy all of them," declares Kuwait Cricket Association’s Asad Baig.
|Sulaibiya in 2005, The ACC Chief Executive (far left) and ICC Global Development Manager Matthew Kennedy (far right) flank the KCA’s Asad Baig (second from left)|
Work began at Sulaibiya at the start of the year. Since then, members of the Kuwait Cricket Association (KCA), have done much of the work themselves for the ground prior to handing over work to external contractors. “We aim to have a ground of international-size meeting all international standards eventually. Our first intention is to benefit the local cricketers and then provide an opportunity for other countries to play here as well as hosting ACC and ICC-tournaments,” says Mr. Baig, “Sulaibiya is a project fully-managed by the KCA (Kuwait Cricket Association) and that gives us many more options.”
|Sulaibiya in June 2008||Sod’s floor, Asad Baig|
A fifth ground, with the radical format of a turf wicket surrounded by artificial turf is also being planned in the plush environs of Salmiya. “A purpose designed cricket stadium, which will include some fixed seating in addition to a quality pavilion,” says KCA’s Jeff de Lange, will be sited in a new public park. For multi-purpose use and to reduce the need for water, the outfield will be artificial. There have been, and currently are, many instances of the opposite being true – artificial wicket, grass outfield - but Salmiya could be the world's first ground of its kind.
“It’s an interesting idea and one that could be a very useful asset to Kuwait in terms of utility and maintenance. The main factor to consider would be the abrasiveness of the artificial outfield as diving and sliding could be hazardous due to the surface friction,” says ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura.
|Sulaibiya, July 2008|
Kuwait has four, maybe five and there are even plans for ground number six in the pipeline. “The support and passion for cricket in Kuwait is immense. We are lucky to have the support of the ruling family and major sponsors here, once these grounds are completed Kuwait can be ambitious in other areas,” says Mr. Baig.
|Sulaibiya, September 2008|
Country Profile: Kuwait
Filed September 4, 2008